Hockey Calgary says dressing room coverage modifications carry challenges, ambiguity

One of many modifications is a “minimal apparel” rule, requiring athletes to put on a base layer of clothes when a couple of participant is current.

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Hockey golf equipment and households are grappling with a brand new nationwide coverage that governs gamers’ behaviour in dressing rooms — modifications supposed to respect privateness and enhance inclusion, however which Hockey Calgary officers argue weren’t communicated upfront.

The brand new Hockey Canada coverage, posted Sept. 12 and now in impact in rinks throughout the nation, outlines a sequence of rule modifications concerning how gamers ought to act of their group’s dressing room earlier than and after video games or practices.

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The coverage’s goal is to make dressing rooms extra inclusive for athletes, no matter their gender, sexual orientation, faith or different particular person wants.

“Hockey Canada firmly believes all individuals (athletes, officers, coaches, group workers, and so forth.) have a proper to entry protected, inclusive, and equitable dressing areas,” the coverage states.

New ‘minimal apparel’ rule

One of many modifications is a “minimal apparel” rule, which requires athletes to put on a base layer of clothes (similar to shorts and a compression T-shirt) when a couple of individual is current within the dressing room.

Gamers arriving on the rink with out this base layer are instructed to alter in a personal house, similar to a rest room or bathroom stall, earlier than becoming a member of their colleagues within the group’s dressing room.

The coverage additionally outlines suggestions for athlete showering, a “rule of two,” and a prohibition on digital recordings in dressing rooms.

New showering tips advocate athletes use non-public stalls when out there. If such stalls are usually not out there, the coverage states athletes showering in a communal space ought to have on swimwear.

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The rule of two requires not less than two skilled and screened adults to be within the dressing room (or instantly exterior the dressing room with the door propped open) to make sure it is freed from any discrimination, harassment or bullying.

Coverage not communicated upfront: Hockey Calgary

Although the coverage was posted on-line practically a month in the past, the manager director of Hockey Calgary claims the rule modifications weren’t communicated to his group till Oct. 5.

“We by no means had official communication come down from our governing our bodies on to us till Thursday night,” mentioned Kevin Kobelka, govt director of Hockey Calgary.

“Principally, we weren’t made conscious of it.”

When it comes to compliance, Kobelka mentioned Hockey Calgary just isn’t making an attempt to implement the coverage but, including compliance on among the new guidelines might be tough at some Calgary rinks.

The minimal apparel rule additionally presents some ambiguity, Kobelka added.

“As a company, we’re simply wanting by way of it and taking the weekend to attempt to perceive all of the ramifications of what we have to do to implement the coverage,” he mentioned Saturday.

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“The brand new factor is about base layering. We wish some clarification on what base layer means. Is it higher physique? Decrease physique? Outline base layer to us.”

“This could have been executed again in August”

Hockey mother and father are additionally making an attempt to wrap their heads round Hockey Canada’s new necessities. At a U13 AA match on the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex in Tsuu T’ina Nation this weekend, the modifications had been a frequent subject of dialog amongst watching mother and father.

Edmonton hockey dad and coach T.J. Smith, whose son was competing within the match, mentioned he largely helps the brand new coverage.

Nevertheless, he feels the modifications ought to have been communicated to minor hockey associations upfront of the season getting underway.

“This could have been executed again in August so groups simply beginning up may have higher ready for the coverage,” he mentioned. “I feel lots of people are scrambling on learn how to observe the coverage. There are some gray areas for some individuals.”

Smith mentioned as a former hockey participant and now coach, he agreed the coverage’s intentions are optimistic, including he hopes the modifications can scale back hazing.

“It in all probability nonetheless occurs, not simply in hockey however different sports activities as nicely,” he mentioned.

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Coverage promotes extra inclusion: LGBTQ advocate

Whereas some have expressed confusion or frustration with the coverage, the You Can Play Venture — a company that advocates for the protected participation in sport for LGBTQ+ athletes, coaches and followers — mentioned it strongly helps the modifications.

The Toronto-based group’s chief working officer, Kurt Weaver, argued the brand new guidelines have been “a very long time coming” towards making youth hockey a extra welcoming atmosphere for gamers of all genders, sexual orientations and religions.

“I feel there’s lots of explanation why children might not really feel welcome in sport,” he mentioned. “A number of instances, it finally ends up being language or behaviour. A number of instances, locker room might be an uncomfortable place. It typically is the supply of one of the best instances you could have on a group, and typically it’s the supply of the most important problem you could have in a sport.

“…that is a kind of insurance policies that make lots of sense to make individuals extra comfy and extra welcome there.”

In line with Hockey Canada, the coverage might be reviewed in 2026.

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