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SafeSport Targets Hazing

By Scott Gray, SafeSport Coordinator, 01/21/13, 8:45AM CST


Hazing isn't just the extreme cases you hear on the news. Any form of initiation that causes physical or emotional distress may be considered hazing.

The USA Hockey SafeSport Program’s goal is to make its programs as safe an environment as possible for all its participants by defining, categorizing, and educating administrators, board members, coaches, managers, and locker room monitors as to what constitutes abusive behavior and how to identify signs of potential abuse to stop it before it occurs.

It is important to begin with an understanding of what elements constitute prohibited abuses which include sexual, physical, emotional, as well as bullying, threats, harassment and hazing. I will publish a series of articles aimed at defining these forms of abuse to make clear what specific types of behavior are prohibited. This article will address hazing.

Hazing includes any conduct which is intimidating, humiliating, offensive, or physically harmful. Hazing conduct is typically an activity that serves as a condition for joining a group or being socially accepted by a group’s members.

Examples include requiring or forcing the consumption of alcohol or drugs; tying, taping, or physically restraining a participant; sexual simulations or sexual acts of any nature; sleep deprivation or the withholding of water or food; requirements to wear inappropriate clothing or displays of public nudity which are illegal or meant to draw ridicule; beating, paddling, or other forms of physical assault; “Locker Boxing” (aka fighting with helmet and gloves).

Hazing activities are considered as such regardless of the person’s willingness to cooperate or participate.

While other team members are often the perpetrators of hazing toward their teammates, it is a violation of this Policy if a coach or other responsible adult knows or should have known of the hazing but takes no action to intervene on behalf of the targeted participant(s).

Hazing does not include group or team activities that are meant to establish normative team behaviors, or promote team cohesion, so long as such activities do not have reasonable potential to cause emotional or physical distress to any participant.

Violators of this policy will be subject to discipline including but not limited to suspension, permanent suspension, and/or referral to law enforcement.

Any and all hazing incidents should be immediately reported to your association’s SafeSport Coordinator, and or myself at Such reports will be thoroughly investigated by Minnesota Hockey.

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