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Thursday, June 20, 2019
Dear USA Hockey volunteer or administrator,
You recently received a summary of several significant changes to the USA Hockey SafeSport Program. This note includes additional specific information pertinent to volunteers and employees in USA Hockey programs that have regular contact with or authority over minor participants, including information related to SafeSport Training requirements for all such volunteers, mandatory reporting, and the Minor Athlete Abuse Protection Policies.
Although this letter is addressed to volunteers and administrators, the applicability of these policies apply to all national level staff and volunteers of USA Hockey, all Affiliate and District level staff or volunteers, and at each USA Hockey sanctioned program, all administrators, program owners, board members, employees, skills coaches, managers, trainers, locker room monitors, travel chaperones, billets, and each person within the program or that the program authorizes to have regular contact with or authority over minor participants. Although these representatives may not have regular contact with minor Participants, these representatives must be fully versed in USA Hockey’s SafeSport Program and possess the information necessary to more effectively monitor their organization, minimize the opportunities for child physical and sexual abuse and other types of misconduct, and respond to concerns.
Thank you for your dedication to USA Hockey programs and efforts to keep our participants safe and our programs free from misconduct or abuse.
SafeSport Training for Volunteers
All adults with regular contact with or authority over minor participants must complete SafeSport Training prior to the volunteer’s having regular access to minors, or if the volunteer does not have regular access the training must be completed within 45 days of beginning such role. Beginning this season, the training requirement must now be completed every year (however, anyone who completed training in the most recent season (2018-19) will retain valid training status for 2019-20, and will complete training annually beginning in 2020-21).
The training is provided by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, and each volunteer/administrator must first complete the “Core Center for SafeSport Training,” which is completed online and takes approximately 90 – 120 minutes to complete. In subsequent seasons, the volunteer/administrator will need to complete the Center for safe sports “Refresher Course,” which is also online and takes 30 minutes or less to complete.
Any Member Program may require and enforce policies that its volunteers and employees that do not have regular contact with or authority over minors have registered with USA Hockey and completed the SafeSport Training Program. Any volunteer or employee required or desiring to take the SafeSport Training shall register with USA Hockey as volunteers in the Manager/Volunteer Member category (at no charge) and may complete the training through a link on the SafeSport webpage or registration confirmation email.
As an adult member of USA Hockey or person with authority over minor participants (as with persons in similar roles in all youth sports organizations), you are considered a mandatory reporter of child abuse, including sexual abuse. Accordingly, in the event of any actual or suspected sexual misconduct or child abuse, you must report such information to the U.S. Center for SafeSport and, when appropriate, to applicable law enforcement.
Minor Athlete Abuse Protection Policies
The Minor Athlete Abuse Protection Policies (“MAAPP Policies”) were mandated by federal law to be put into effect by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, and are included in the USA Hockey SafeSport Program Handbook with specific information for hockey programs. The MAAPP Policies are prevention policies to prohibit and/or avoid situations where risks of misconduct can occur, including:
• One-on-One Interactions. This policy prohibits one-on-one interactions between adult members of USA Hockey or those authorized by a USA Hockey program to have regular contact with or authority over minors, unless they occur at an observable and interruptible distance by another adult. There are exceptions for emergency circumstances. The policy specifically addresses situations where these types of interactions might occur, including in meetings with a player, in individual training sessions and in settings outside the hockey program.
• Locker Rooms. USA Hockey’s existing Locker Room Policy was updated. Proper supervision of locker rooms is one of the most important means of preventing misconduct between hockey players and eliminating opportunities for abuse of minor participants.
• Athletic Training Modalities. This policy ensures that any type of athletic training, including massages, rubdowns, taping, etc., occurs in an open and interruptible location.
• Social Media and Electronic Communications. This policy has been updated. All electronic communication from an adult member of USA Hockey to a minor participant must be professional in nature. Absent emergency circumstances, if an adult member needs to communicate directly with a minor via electronic communications (including social media), the minor’s parent must be copied.
• Travel. Travel is a high risk time for misconduct to occur. USA Hockey’s travel policy has been updated for both “local travel” (transportation and travel to and from local practices, games and events) and “organization/team travel” (travel away from the home area and may include overnight stays in a hotel for games or tournaments). Except in the case of emergency, coaches may not ride in a vehicle alone, travel alone with or share a hotel or sleeping arrangement with an unrelated minor participant. Other adults (not including coaches) that have regular contact with minor participants or that are authorized to have regular contact with or authority over minor participants, may not ride in a vehicle alone, travel alone with or share a hotel or sleeping arrangement with an unrelated minor participant, except in the case of emergency or with the prior written permission of the minor participant’s parent/legal guardian.
A revised copy of the USA Hockey SafeSport Program Handbook can be found at the USA Hockey website at www.usahockey.com/safesportprogram. Please refer to the SafeSport Handbook for details of these and other policies affecting USA Hockey programs. You can also reach out to your Affiliate SafeSport Coordinator or to USA Hockey if you have questions or need assistance.
Thank you again for all of your efforts in support of the safety of participants in USA Hockey programs.