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    Hockey Education Program: Fair Play Implementation Issues and a Feasible Solution

    Published: 2014

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    The Minnesota Hockey Education Program (HEP) has three components: skill development, coaching excellence, and Fair Play. The purpose of this paper, however, is to discuss Fair Play, its implementation, success, challenges, and propose a feasible solution. The data collected on Fair Play points earned and decreases in specific penalties suggests positive outcomes attributable to Fair Play, an evidence based program that emphasizes sportsmanship. Closer inspection reveals uneven implementation manifested by: (i) a failure to mandate that invitational tournaments be governed by Fair Play, (ii) not publicizing the influence Fair Play has on determining positioning for end of the season standings, and (iii) the inability to continually promote Fair Play to the continuous turnover of players, parents, and coaches. Annual attrition of a generation of hockey players, parents, and coaches involved when Fair Play was launched contributes to the current lack of awareness about the program. This situation was occurring at the same time we became aware that the prevalence of injuries, such as concussion, had escalated. The less than optimal status of the Fair Play program is not attributed to a lack of effort, but to the fact that volunteer organizations may lack the necessary infrastructure to disseminate information adequately and continuously. A potential solution to the Fair Play knowledge gap is a volunteer safety parent for each team. This parent would be responsible for safety information dissemination (CDC, HUDD, and Fair Play manuals), tracking Fair Play points, ensuring they are posted on the websites, and politely reminding coaches to introduce or review the appropriate on-ice skills training for safety zones, giving and receiving checks, and Head’s Up Don’t Duck (HUDD).


    youth hockey, fair play points, penalties, rules

    Author Information:

    Smith, Aynsley M.
    Research Director and Sport Psychology Consultant, Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, Rochester, MN

    Twardowski, Casey
    Research Assistant (MC-SMC), Research Co-coordinator (MC-SMC), Rochester, MN

    Gaz, Daniel V
    Research Assistant (MC-SMC), Research Co-coordinator (MC-SMC), Rochester, MN

    Margenau, Dave
    President, Minnesota Hockey, Rochester, MN

    Stuart, Michael J
    Co-Director, Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine and USA Hockey Safety and Protective Equipment Committee, Rochester, MN

    Committee/Subcommittee: F08.51

    DOI: 10.1520/STP155220120185