Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador is requiring parents of children entering the minor hockey system to take a one-hour online course on respect and how to behave at the hockey rink.
Jack Lee, the president of Hockey NL, said he hopes this program will help curb verbal abuse from the stands when minor hockey players are on the ice.
"We're not going to stop it 100 per cent," said Lee, "but we think by doing this, it's a step in the right direction to make sure that people understand what the game is all about — fun."
A long-time concern
Officials have said minor hockey has a continuing problem with parents yelling at referees, opponents and sometimes their own children.
Lee added that verbal abuse takes its toll on hockey officials, who he said have cited bad behaviour from parents as their main reason for getting out of the game.
Donnie Power, a hockey dad and minor hockey executive, said he's seen all sorts of bad behaviour, including parents screaming at referees and coaches.
"The quicker we can get parents educated on how to behave in a hockey rink, the happier we'll all be," said Power.
Lee said the course will be mandatory for all parents next season, no matter how long they've been involved in the game. "We want to be more positive about what happens at the rink," said Lee. "You know this is a game. It's only a game."