In youth hockey and beyond, sportsmanship matters. It matters how young players conduct themselves and how they treat others. In fact, sportsmanship is so very important that it really needs to be taught at the Mite/Squirt levels, but just learning it during practice and at games isn’t enough.
All the adults in a child’s life, including and especially coaches and parents, need to model good sportsmanship at all times around their children in order for good sportsmanship values to truly sink in and become second nature to kids.
Furthermore, coaches need to really explain carefully what good sportsmanship means and have consequences in place for when those standards aren’t met. The American Hockey Coaches Association models this concept beautifully by having a strict and strictly enforced “College Hockey Player’s Code of Conduct,” which all players must abide by.
Though your rules might look a little different since you’re dealing with youngsters and not college athletes, reading through some of the code of conduct items might be a good starting point for creating your own code. Just make sure you enforce it and encourage parents to follow it too; otherwise, it’s not going to do its job of fostering good sportsmanship. Without further ado, here are the rules that can be adapted as you see fit:
l Playing hockey should be looked at and treated as a privilege, not a right.
l Players must represent their institution, the game, and themselves well at all times.
l Hockey players must adhere to the spirit and letter of NCAA rules, the institution, the conference, and the community both on and off the ice.
l Hockey players must respect and not question game officials at any time.
l Hockey players must never purposefully jeopardize the safety of anyone else.
l Hockey players must know and abide by all the rules required of them.
l Hockey players must put their academic responsibilities first.
l Hockey players must report any injuries or medical conditions immediately.
So, what do you think of these rules? Which ones will you use for your own team? Have any to add? Start planning now!