Is it just me or is there more talk than ever about how badly my fellow hockey dads and moms are behaving? I, like most who have been to a minor hockey game or two, have witnessed hockey parent lunacy first-hand. And yup, I’ve seen a couple ejected from the building. With full disclosure I will readily admit I’ve yelled at a ref or two in the last 12 years, but I’d like to think I know where to draw a line where actual abuse is concerned. You would think by now these people would realize they’ve become walking/talking stereotypes, but the stories of excessive coach, ref and kid abuse of the verbal and sometimes physical variety just keep popping up year after year. Now it appears some jurisdictions have had enough and are seriously standing up and taking notice.
Hockey parents in Newfoundland and Labrador have just been told they need to take a course on respect on the heels of the same parental edict recently being issued in Edmonton. The number of comments around each article is testament to how contentious an issue this is. There are plenty of people who resent having to be punished for the actions of a few others.
Do you think this will curb bad rink behaviour? I get it conceptually, but not sure if it will really deter the primary offenders who will likely continue to be the boorish asses (yup, I said it) they’ve always been at hockey or otherwise. I’ve seen the same parents at minor soccer and junior football games. A more effective solution may be for Hockey Canada to sign on someone like PetSmart as a corporate sponsor get a bulk discount on muzzles. Or maybe more zero tolerance based permanent suspensions are required. I suppose, if nothing else, the associations who have taken their preemptive actions are putting a bigger spotlight on what is obviously a festering issue among arena dwellers; whether the courses serve to fix the the problem or not. Heightened awareness is generally never a bad thing.
Coincidentally, a friend just posted this great video giving a kid’s perspective on parents (not quite sure how I’d never seen it before. Now you would think something like this would have a lasting effect, but the video was made just over four years ago, there’s been plenty more written on the topic as noted and not much has changed.
Seems a couple of the items from my recent post with tips for new hockey parents was even more timely than I thought. Maybe if enough new parents are educated and reminded, yet again, that it’s just a game, it will start to sink in so the incidents we hear about each season are fewer and far between.
Chime in if you have any other ideas on how to cure Rink Rage.