By Jack Weinberg, AHAI Director
A graduated penalty for coaches receiving penalties for “abuse of officials” has been passed by the AHAI Board of Directors. The first instance would receive the one game suspension prescribed by USA Hockey. The second occurrence in one season would require a three game suspension. A third violation in one season would require an indefinite suspension pending a hearing before the AHAI Suspension and Review Committee.
The youth hockey coach is our most visible role model in the game of ice hockey. Players and parents intently watch their every move. In recent years the behavior of some of our coaches and subsequently our players and their parents has contributed in making the job of officiating untenable. The result is the game becomes uncontrollable and unsafe. Our best coaches do not exhibit this type of behavior because they have learned from experience that the result is an undisciplined free-for-all. The relationship between coaches and the referee corps devolves into an adversarial one.
All of us in hockey are charged with the same mission, to make the game fair and above all safe. No human being is perfect, honest mistakes are made but to personally attack each other only serves to make our game unenjoyable and unsafe. Everyone in a position of authority is a teacher. The increased consequences called for in this new rule is for the most part an attempt to teach the lesson of tolerance and self-control. Coaches that can express themselves in an intelligent and civilized manner will find that they can expect the same respectful behavior of everyone else in our game. That is true of the players and fans as well.
Please support this initiative and approach each other in a positive and civil manner and keep this great game the amazing experience we all work so hard to create for our most important legacy, the kids.