Emotional Misconduct

It is the policy of USA Hockey that there shall be no Emotional Misconduct of any Participant involved in any of its Member Programs by any other Participant.

Emotional Misconduct is any conduct by a Participant that occurs within a context that is reasonably related to hockey and includes (a) Verbal Acts, (b) Physical Acts (c) Acts that Deny Attention or Support, (d) Criminal Conduct and/or (e) Stalking. Emotional Misconduct is determined by the objective behaviors, not whether harm is intended or results from the behavior.

a. Verbal Acts. Repeatedly and excessively verbally assaulting or attacking someone personally in a manner that serves no productive training or motivational purpose.

b. Physical Acts. Repeated and/or severe physically aggressive behaviors by a Participant, including but not limited to, throwing sport equipment, water bottles or chairs at or in the presence of others, punching walls, windows or other objects.

c. Acts that Deny Attention or Support. Ignoring or isolating a person for extended periods of time, including routinely or arbitrarily excluding a Participant from practice.

d. Criminal Conduct. Emotional Misconduct includes any act or conduct described as emotional abuse or misconduct under federal or state law (e.g. child abuse, child neglect).

e. Stalking. Stalking occurs (as further defined in the USCSS Code) when a person engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person, and knows or should know, that the course of conduct would cause a reasonable person to (i) fear for their safety, (ii) fear for the safety of a third person, or (iii) experience substantial emotional distress. Stalking may also include cyber-stalking.

f. Exclusion. Emotional Misconduct does not include professionally accepted and age-appropriate coaching methods of skill enhancement, physical conditioning, team building, appropriate discipline or improved athletic performance. Emotional Misconduct also does not include conduct reasonably accepted as part of the sport of ice hockey and/or conduct reasonably accepted as part of Participant’s participation.

While a single Verbal Act or Physical Act may be inappropriate and justify a review and/or disciplinary or other action by USA Hockey or any of its Member Programs, such single incidents would typically not constitute Emotional Misconduct.

Emotional Misconduct also does not include conduct between opponents or officials that occurs during or in connection with a game that is covered by the USA Hockey Playing Rules. Such conduct should be addressed under the Playing Rules.

Any conduct defined as Emotional Misconduct in the USCSS Code that is not expressly included in the definition of Emotional Misconduct above, is prohibited and shall be a violation of this Policy. A Participant who engages in Emotional Misconduct that occurs within a context that is reasonably related to hockey is subject to appropriate disciplinary action including but not limited to suspension, permanent suspension, and/or referral to law enforcement authorities.

Note: Bullying, harassment, and hazing often involve some form of emotional misconduct.