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Minor Hockey Program Philosophy

Minor Hockey Program Philosophy

      The St. Laurent Minor Hockey Program is a House League program. Its purpose is to provide the opportunity for players to receive instruction and learn about hockey, develop individual and team skills, compete in an organised season of games with other teams within District B. As a House League, every player who registers with the Association has the right to participate with equal opportunity in practices, games and tournaments, regardless of skill level. This differs from the Competitive Leagues, where the emphasis is on the player demonstrating the skill and ability to play at the level of the team and the amount of individual participation varying according to the coaches requirements.

      However, House League is organised hockey. Although the emphasis of House League is on development and participation, the element of competition is intrinsic to the game of hockey. The primary difference being that winning is not the primary focus of House League.

      The St. Laurent Minor Hockey Program depends on the efforts of an executive committee, coaching and team staffs, players, parents and guardians. It is extremely important to understand that, with the exception of the players, all of the executive and team supervisory positions are filled by volunteers. These people give their time and experience freely to the Association for the benefit of all the members.

      This article is intended to define the philosophy of the St. Laurent Minor Hockey Program and provide guidance to coaches, team staff, parents/guardians, and players on their roles within the Program. The St. Laurent Minor Hockey Program is administered by volunteers, each of which has a role to play to ensure that the players receive the optimum benefit of the Program. The SLMHA Executive is responsible to the membership for administering the Minor Hockey Program, providing the conditions for running the Program, risk management, supervising team staffs, discipline, finance and representing the membership at the District (B) and Division (ODMHA) levels. The Executive is also responsible for ensuring that the coaching and team staffs are properly trained and qualified. The Executive derives its authority from the St. Laurent Minor Hockey Association Constitution.

      The President and Vice-President of the SLMHA are in charge of the St. Laurent Minor Hockey Program. They are responsible for appointing team staff for each of the division levels within the Program. The coach is the chief supervisor for each team and is responsible to the St. Laurent Minor Hockey Program for team organisation, administration, training, risk management, and conduct. The coach is also responsible in appointing the team staff and ensuring that all members of the staff are properly qualified. As a minimum, the team staffs normally include an assistant coach, a trainer and a manager. The coach and trainer require specific training to certify their qualifications. In the event that a player is involved in an accident on the ice and cannot participate any further in the game or practice, the trainer will normally accompany the player off the ice. Consequently, to avoid the possibility of leaving the team without qualified supervision, the coach should not normally fill the trainer's position.

      The following are provided as guidelines for the coach and staff of St. Laurent Minor Hockey Program teams:

      Coaches are responsible for:

      - ensuring that their conduct is above reproach
      - ensuring that, while under his/her supervision, each individual player's rights are respected - incidents involving any type of harassment are reported to the St. Laurent Minor Hockey Association as soon as possible
      - ensuring that they and their staff have the proper qualifications
      - the conduct and execution of team practices
      - instruction to individual players on skills development and team play
      - supervision of the team and players during practices, games and tournaments
      - development of team play during games
      - communicating and co-operating with coaches at adjacent levels to provide assistance as required
      - communicating with convenors to notify them of suspensions, game results and resolve scheduling conflicts
      - reporting and referring disciplinary matters to St. Laurent Minor Hockey Association
      - providing leadership to team staff
      - communicating with parents/guardians to keep them informed
      - ensuring that players and team staff pay the proper respect to officials
      - ensuring that hockey rules and regulations are explained to players in teaching them about the game
      - especially when they are subject to penalties involving specific regulations
      - maintaining effective communication with the players to ensure that:
      - each player understands what is expected of them
      - each player can develop their knowledge of hockey, team and individual skills
      - each player supports the activities of the team
      - ensuring he/she is aware of pertinent information on players (specific emphasis on special needs or conditions)

      As a note:
      A Coach's disciplinary powers are restricted to limiting individual playing privileges. Should a coach encounter problems with a player which cannot be resolved with the player, the parent or guardian should be advised of the situation as soon as practical to determine possible courses of action to resolve the problem. All such disciplinary problems and actions taken by the Coach must be reported to the St. Laurent Minor Hockey Association as soon as possible. In addition, parents/guardians and players have the right to appeal a Coach's disciplinary action to the St. Laurent Minor Hockey Association.

      Managers normally:

      - handle team finances
      - ensuring that the team is aware of the schedule for practices, games and tournaments
      - submit tournament applications
      - make necessary travel arrangements
      - negotiate with other teams for exhibition games
      - handle general team administrative matters
      - record and maintain team and individual player information

      Trainers normally:

      - ensure team equipment is up to standard and in good condition
      - advise players on personal equipment standard and requirements
      - handling of team equipment (sweaters, pucks, etc)
      - arrange for dressing rooms and security
      - first aid assistance to players as required during practices or games
      - advise the Coach on aspects of risk management

      Parents/guardians and players also have an obligation to understand the philosophy of the Minor Hockey Program and their roles as members of the SLMHA. As a Community Program, parents/guardians and players are expected to conduct themselves as responsible representatives of the SLMHA, respect the rules and regulations of hockey, respect game officials and respect the positions of their coaches and team staff, as well as those of other Associations. Should a parent/guardian or player have a problem with any aspect of their activities within the Association, they should first communicate their concerns to the appropriate individual on their team staff. If the coach is unable to resolve the issue it should be referred to the appropriate member of the SLMHA Executive. In the event that the parent/guardian or player feels that the coach cannot be impartial, or is in a conflict of interest, then they should contact the St. Laurent Minor Hockey Association.

      Parents and guardians are responsible for ensuring that their child participates in as much of the Minor Hockey Program as possible. Hockey is a team sport which requires teamwork and co-operation, as much as it requires individual player skills. Regardless of personal skill level, each player is expected to participate in team practices to ensure that the team skills can be exercised and taught. It is unfair to expect a team to meld or play as a team if individuals do not practice or participate as members of the team.