A significant portion of some USA Hockey participation involves overnight travel for youth teams to games and tournaments. Minor Participants are most vulnerable to abuse or misconduct during travel, particularly overnight stays. This includes a greater risk of misconduct between or among minor Participants. During travel, players may be away from their families and support networks, and the setting – unfamiliar locker rooms, automobiles, and hotel rooms – is less structured and less familiar. A travel policy provides guidelines so that care is taken to minimize one-on-one interactions between minors and adults while traveling. Further, the policy directs how minor Participants will be supervised between and during travel to and from practice and competitions. Adherence to travel policies helps to reduce the opportunities for misconduct. The travel policy should address“Local Travel” which is generally transportation and travel to and from local practices, games and events, and “Organization/Team Travel,” which generally includes travel away from the home area and may include overnight stays in a hotel for games or tournaments. Different policies should apply to these two types of travel.
Each USA Hockey Member Program must have a team travel policy applicable to youth teams that is published and provided to all players, parents, coaches and other adults that are travelling with the team. It is strongly recommended that a signature by each adult (including parents) acknowledging receipt of and agreeing to the travel policy be obtained by the Member Program/team. A sample local and overnight travel policy form for a Member Program may be found at www.usahockey.com/safesport.
Elements of all travel policies must include:
The Member Program, team and their administrators should avoid sponsoring, coordinating, or arranging for local travel, and the parents of a minor player should be responsible for making all local travel arrangements.
Coaches who are not also acting as a legal guardian, shall not ride in a vehicle alone with an unrelated minor Participant, absent emergency circumstances, and must have at least two minor Participants or another adult present at all times. All other Applicable Adults who are not also acting as a legal guardian, shall not ride in a vehicle alone with an unrelated minor Participant, absent emergency circumstances, and must have at least two minor Participants or another adult present at all times. An unrelated minor Participant may ride in a vehicle with an Applicable Adult (other than a coach) who is not a parent/legal guardian ONLY if agreed to in writing by the minor Participant’s parent/legal guardian in advance of each local travel.
The restrictions on Applicable Adults riding in a car with minors shall not apply to players on the same team riding in a car together, unless the situation involves an adult age player and a minor 14 years of age or younger.
Where an Applicable Adult is involved in an unrelated minor Participant’s local travel, efforts should be made to ensure that the adult personnel are not alone with the unrelated player, by, for example, picking up or dropping off the players in groups.
Applicable Adults who are also a player’s parent or guardian may provide shared transportation for anyplayer(s) if they pick up their own player first and drop off their own player last.
It is recognized that in some limited instances an emergency will make it unavoidable for an employee, coach or volunteer to drive alone with an unrelated minor player. However, efforts should be made to minimize these occurrences and to mitigate any circumstances that could lead to allegations of abuse or misconduct. Except under emergency circumstances, an Applicable Adult shall obtain written consent from a minor’s parent/legal guardian prior to driving alone with an unrelated Minor Participant.
Coaches shall not travel alone with an unrelated minor Participant. Except in rare circumstances where there are no other reasonable travel options available, Applicable Adults other than coaches shall not travel alone with an unrelated minor Participant, and in all such circumstances the Applicable Adult shallobtain the written permission of the minor Participant’s parents in advance of such travel.
Regardless of gender, Coaches shall not share a hotel room or other sleeping arrangement with a minor Participant unless the Coach is the parent, guardian or sibling of, or is otherwise related to the minor Participant. Regardless of gender, all other Applicable Adults shall not share a hotel room or other sleeping arrangement with a minor Participant unless the Applicable Adult is the parent, guardian or sibling of or is otherwise related to the minor Participant, or if the minor Participant’s parent(s) provides writtenconsent to such an arrangement in advance. However, it shall be permissible if the parent or guardian of the minor Participant is also sharing the same hotel room (e.g., two adults, one or both of whom is a coach, and their children, share a hotel room).
It is strongly recommended that organizations and teams incorporate a written and signed parent consent for any minor Participant that will travel without his or her parents.
Because of the greater distances, coaches, staff, volunteers, and chaperones will often travel with the players. No Participant will engage in team travel without the proper safety requirements in place and onrecord, including valid drivers’ licenses, automobile liability insurance as required by applicable state law, vehicle in safe working order and compliance with all state laws. All chaperones shall complete applicable SafeSport Training and shall have been screened in compliance with the USA Hockey Screening Policy and all drivers arranged by the team shall have been screened and the screen shall include a check of appropriate Department of Motor Vehicle records.
The Member Program or team shall provide adequate supervision through coaches and other adult chaperones (for example, a recommended number would include at least one coach or adult chaperone for every five to eight players). If a team is composed of both male and female players, then it is recommended that chaperones are arranged of the same gender.
Minor Participants should share rooms with other Participants of the same gender, with the appropriate number of players assigned per room depending on accommodations.
Regular monitoring and curfew checks should be made of each room by at least two properly screened adults. All Applicable Adults, including coaches, staff, volunteers and chaperones, travelling with a team shall be familiar with the SafeSport Program Handbook to monitor compliance with all SafeSport Policies.
The team personnel shall ask hotels to block adult pay per view channels.
Meetings shall be conducted consistent with USA Hockey’s One-on-One Interactions Policy (i.e., any such meeting shall be observable and interruptible). Individual meetings between a player and coach may not occur in hotel sleeping rooms.
All players shall be permitted to make regular check in phone calls to parents. Team personnel shall allow for any unscheduled check in phone calls initiated by either the player or parents.
Family members who wish to stay in the team hotel shall be permitted and encouraged to do so.
The team shall make every effort to accommodate reasonable parental requests when a child is away from home without a parent.
Specific travel itineraries will be distributed to parents when they are available and will include a detailed itinerary as well as contact information for all team personnel and chaperones.
If disciplinary action against a player is required while the player is traveling without his/her parents,reasonable attempts to notify the player’s parents will be made before any action is taken.
No coach or chaperone shall at any time be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while performing their coaching and/or chaperoning duties.
In all cases involving travel, parents have the right to transport their minor player and have the minor player stay in their hotel room.
Upon proof of a violation of USA Hockey’s policies regarding travel, the offending Member Program, team or person will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.