Maltreatment signage making a difference in Alberta rinks

RED DEER – As part of the second annual Maltreatment Awareness Day (11.4 Day), Hockey Alberta is continuing an initiative that began last season.

Starting last year on November 4 (11.4 Day), Hockey Alberta partnered with 17 AAA and AA programs around the province to circulate ‘These Don’t Belong’ banners.

“Our goal is to nurture a positive hockey culture throughout Alberta,” said Darcy Smith, Manager, Hockey Alberta Foundation, and one of the people who spearheaded the signage project. “We need to eliminate maltreatment in our game in order to achieve this.”

The banners highlight that hockey is a game for everyone and racism, discrimination, sexual mistreatment or harassment, as well as emotional, physical and verbal abuse will not be tolerated. The campaign expanded to sending 1,172 Maltreatment Awareness posters to every hockey facility in Alberta. The final step was completed when each Hockey Alberta Provincial Championship host, as well as 16 other associations, was provided with banners to display at their tournaments.

The initiative was started to create awareness around Section 11 (Maltreatment), and more specifically Rule 11.4 (Discrimination) of Hockey Canada’s rule book, while directly connecting Hockey Alberta’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee to the campaign. This was done to show the steps Hockey Alberta is taking as an organization to educate on maltreatment in the game, where it exists and how to identify and report it.

The campaign has had positive feedback thus far on the messaging and impact these banners have had to create awareness.

“This is a great campaign. We welcome it here and will help out wherever we can,” said a member of Fort Saskatchewan Minor Hockey Association.

Due to the positive reviews, Hockey Alberta is continuing the campaign to remind everyone that this type of negative behaviour doesn’t belong in the game of hockey and that everyone belongs in the sport.

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