A Calgary hockey organization is offering parents an online course in off-ice respect.
Hockey Calgary, which oversees 15,000 young players in minor hockey, hopes the hour-long course, available on its website, will help parents recognize their own bad habits.
"We want to ensure the experience is safe, we want to ensure the experience is fun and most importantly that is respectful," said president Perry Cavanagh.
A small percentage of parents ruin the game for everyone else, but all parents must be able to recognize inappropriate behaviour in order to stop it, said Cavanagh.
"Empowering the positive people will give them the tools to be able to address through peer pressure, their team member, their colleague, their fellow parent on the team."
The course is voluntary right now but may become mandatory in the future, he said.
Online courses have been proven to work in areas such as bullying so they can also work in the hockey arena, said Wayne McNeil, a co-founder of Respect in Sport, which developed the online course.
"We're not going to change behaviour overnight, but if you start embedding these programs in organizations, the behaviours and social change will occur," he said.
Perry Berezan, a former NHL player who is now a parent coach, said he has seen inappropriate parent behaviour destroy children's enthusiasm for the game.
"If you are being told after every practice or game, every time you are with your parent: 'He's stupid. That guy's dumb. This is crazy. Why are they doing that?' Well how can that be a good experience for a kid?"