Overview of Safe Sport Program

The safety of its Participants is of paramount importance to USA Hockey. This includes both on-ice and off-ice safety; the Safe Sport Program (and the Handbook linked below) address primarily off-ice safety in USA Hockey’s programs.

USA Hockey has long had systems in place to protect its Participants from physical abuse, sexual abuse and other types of abuse and misconduct that can be harmful to youth hockey players and other Participants. These include without limitation Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Hazing, Screening, and Locker Room Supervision Policies, in addition to Codes of Conduct applicable to administrators, coaches, officials, parents, players and spectators. The Safe Sport Handbook, which was first adopted in 2012, brings together USA Hockey’s various policies to protect its Participants from all types of misconduct and abuse.

The U.S. Center for Safe Sport (the “USCSS”) opened in March 2017, and USA Hockey and its members first came under the jurisdiction of the USCSS on April 1, 2017 at the commencement of USA Hockey’s 2017-18 playing season. The USCSS is an independent nonprofit committed to ending all forms of abuse in sport, including bullying, harassment, hazing, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual misconduct and abuse. On February 14, 2018, the United States government enacted the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017 (the “Safe Sport Authorization Act”). Pursuant to the Safe Sport Authorization Act, the USCSS has adopted Minor Athlete Abuse Prevention Policies, dated January 23, 2019 (the “MAAPP”), which include policies that the SafeSport Authorization Act requires be adopted by all national governing bodies(“NGBs”) recognized by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (the “USOPC”). The USCSS has also adopted theSafe Sport Code for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement (the “USCSS Code”), which includes information, policies and procedures that must be complied with by the USOPC, all NGBs recognized by the USOPC, and all programs recognized by a national governing body.

As the national governing body for ice hockey in the United States, USA Hockey has adopted the linked Safe Sport Program Handbook (below) to comply with the requirements of the Safe Sport Authorization Act, the USOPC and the USCSS, including adoption of provisions from the MAAPP and the USCSS Code. This Safe Sport Handbook also includes such other policies, procedures and requirements that USA Hockey considers important to its mission to provide a safe environment within USA Hockey programs. To the extent necessary to comply with the requirements of the Safe Sport Authorization Act, the USOPC and the USCSS, USA Hockey’s Safe Sport Handbook shall be interpreted to comply with such requirements, and shall be deemed to incorporate by reference any requirements not expressly included in this Safe Sport Handbook. To the extent of any conflict between the USA Hockey Safe Sport Handbook and either the MAAPP or USCSS Code, the MAAPP or USCSS Code shall govern.

Each USA Hockey Affiliate, and each USA Hockey Member Program, as a condition of sanctioning by USA Hockey or any Affiliate, must agree to and must comply with the Safe Sport Program Policies herein and all requirements of this Safe Sport Program Handbook.

USA Hockey’s Safe Sport Handbook includes the various Policies that apply to all USA Hockey Member Programs. It further includes the available resources and required Training of USA Hockey and its Member Programs’employees, volunteers, administrators, coaches, parents and players on recognizing and reducing circumstancesfor potential abuse to occur; information on USA Hockey’s Screening and Background Check Policy; the availability and procedures for any person to Report suspected abuse or misconduct (including protections from any retaliation or repercussions for such reporting); the procedures and means by which USA Hockey, its Affiliates and Member Programs should Respond to allegations of abuse and misconduct; and how USA Hockey, its Affiliates and Member Programs will Monitor and Supervise this program to help ensure its effectiveness.

Conduct that is prohibited or regulated by the USA Hockey Playing Rules (e.g., rough play, punching an opponent,“intent to injure” incidents, yelling at a referee or opponent, etc.), and complaints related to officiating, are not intended to be covered by the Safe Sport Program policies and is instead to be addressed and/or penalized under the Playing Rules.

The Safe Sport Program addresses the conduct of Participants, but is not intended to address the conduct of persons who are not Participants. Complaints about the conduct of non-Participants (e.g., conflicts, disputes or arguments between parents and/or other adults) should be directed to the program or team to which they are affiliated.

As described more fully herein, each USA Hockey Affiliate shall have an Affiliate Safe Sport Coordinator whose duties will include monitoring the training of Member Program administrators and others within the Affiliate, serving as the Affiliate’s initial contact for persons reporting suspected abuse, misconduct or other violations, investigating or overseeing the investigation of reports of allegations of violations of Safe Sport policies, recommending and (if authorized by the Affiliate) issuing disciplinary measures, compiling information on disciplinary issues within the Affiliate and reporting such information to USA Hockey on a regular basis.

As the national governing body for ice hockey in the United States, USA Hockey has delegated the jurisdiction and authority to the USCSS to (1) investigate all reports or allegations (a) that a Participant has engaged in conduct defined in the USCSS Code to be within the USCSS’ exclusive jurisdiction, including without limitation allegations or reports of sexual abuse or misconduct and of any allegations of violations of USA Hockey’s Safe Sport Policies that are reasonably related to and accompany a report of allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct (as referenced in Section 1 under Sexual Misconduct Policy), and (b) over other violations defined in the USCSS Code to be within the USCSS’ discretionary jurisdiction and where the USCSS exercises such jurisdiction, (2) issue any interim suspension or measures pending conclusion of the investigation, (3) make recommendations of sanctions or disciplinary action as a result of such investigation, and (4) adjudicate such matters.

Through the USA Hockey Safe Sport Program, USA Hockey is committed to creating the safest possible environment for participation in hockey.

Questions about the USA Hockey Safe Sport Program, or reports concerning possible violations of the Safe Sport Program Policies, may be directed to USA Hockey’s Safe Sport Compliance Team by emailing SafeSport@usahockey.org, or calling 800-888-4656.

USA Hockey Safe Sport Handbook and Program Resources