Island hockey players, coaches and managers will have to watch what they say on the ice and online, now that Hockey PEI has brought in a new social media policy.
The new plan was adopted after the association dealt with a few negative posts on social media. It applies to all its members including players, coaches and managers.
“Some kids could take it really seriously and some kids could take it as the usual game,” said Lucas Muttart, 13.
The policy also includes posting anything private about a team, like strategies or player injuries
“If there are cases where it's a bullying incident, maybe it's comments related to gender or sexual orientation or something to that affect. Those are things we just don't want to have involved in our game. We've got enough things to deal with, you know, on the ice,” said Ron Newson, executive director of Hockey PEI.
Trevor Lank, president of the North River Minor Hockey Association, said his league has had problems in the past.
“We have had stuff in the past on our association website and on Facebook that we had to ask teams to take down after it was posted, not that it was really inappropriate, but just things that didn't need to be out there in the public domain,” he said.
The policy also includes posting pictures that promote negative influences or criminal behaviour, like drug use.
“The younger players always look up to the guys in the association and we want them to be good role models. We want them to help build players off the ice, just as much on the ice,” said coach Chace Elliott.
Hockey PEI said it realizes it can't police what parents or other spectators may say on social media.
“You know we're not going to punish a nine-year-old kid because mom or dad said something inappropriate or done something inappropriate. We don't hope that it'd ever come to that stage. This is an educational tool for our members,” said Newson.
Anyone found to have violated the policy could face anything from a warning to a suspension.