USA Hockey has announced several important updates to the USA Hockey SafeSport Program. The updates to USA Hockey’s SafeSport Program arise from federal law, which created the authority and requirement for the Center for SafeSport to enact policies to protect minors from abuse in sport.
As the national governing body designated by the United States Olympic Committee for the sport of ice hockey, USA Hockey, including all of its participants, is subject to the jurisdiction of the Center for SafeSport. The Center for SafeSport is an independent non-profit organization committed to ending all forms of abuse in sport, through the development of training, oversight practices, policies and procedures and the establishment of mechanisms to report, investigate and resolve allegations of misconduct.
The policies adopted by the Center for SafeSport are known as the Minor Athlete Abuse Protection Policies (“MAAPP Policies”), and are required to be adopted by the national governing body of each sport. USA Hockey has incorporated the MAAPP Policies, as well as changes by the Center to its SafeSport Code, into the USA Hockey SafeSport Program Handbook, a copy of which you can find here.
Below is a summary of the changes for the upcoming season.
The rules and provisions from the SafeSport Code and USA Hockey SafeSport Program apply to persons within USA Hockey defined as “Participants.” Participants include any person who is seeking to be, currently is, or was at the time of an alleged violation:
- Registered with USA Hockey as a Registered Participant Member (players and coaches), Referee, or in the Manager/ Volunteer category;
- An employee of USA Hockey, a USA Hockey Affiliate or Member Program; and
- Authorized, elected or appointed by USA Hockey, a USA Hockey Affiliate or Member Program to a position of authority over minor athletes or to have regular contact with minor athletes (even if not registered with USA Hockey).
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 free training is provided by the 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 SafeSport’s “Refresher Course,” which is also online and takes 30 minutes or less to complete.
Training for Players Seventeen (17) and Over in Age Classifications that Allow Minor Age Players
To ensure all adult-age players on the same team with minor athletes comply with federal law, (i) all players 17 years of age or older on or before December 31 of that playing season, and (ii) who play on a team in a classification that allows minor-age players, must complete SafeSport Training before being added to such team and prior to participation (on-ice or off-ice).
In Minnesota, this requirement will primarily affect Junior Gold, Junior Hockey and Disabled Hockey teams but applies to all programs that allow both minor-age and adult-age players, including teams with Special Group Affiliate agreements and to officials who are turning 17 before December 31.
Players and officials that complete the training prior to turning 18 will be required to provide parental consent.
All adult member of USA Hockey or person with authority over minor participants (as with persons in similar roles in all youth sports organizations) 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, a report of such information must be submitted to the U.S. Center for SafeSport and, when appropriate, to applicable law enforcement.
Information on how to make a report to the Center for SafeSport and/or USA Hockey can be found at www.usahockey.com/makingareport.
Minor Athlete Abuse Protection Policies
The MAAPP Policies were mandated by federal law to be put into effect by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, and are now included in the USA Hockey SafeSport Program Handbook with specific information for hockey programs.
If you have questions or need assistance, contact your Association SafeSport Coordinator, Minnesota Hockey SafeSport Coordinator or to USA Hockey.
Thank you for all of your time and dedication to the safety of all participants in Minnesota Hockey and USA Hockey programs!