Sudbury·Poll

Mandatory course for hockey parents hopes to curb misconduct from the stands

Hockey parents in Ontario will now have to enrol in an online course before their kids hit the ice.

'Respect in Sport' course aims to remind parents of proper behaviour while watching kids' games

Parents sometimes take their kids' hockey games seriously, and a new mandatory course hopes to ease misconduct from the stands. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Hockey parents in Ontario will now have to enrol in an online course before their kids hit the ice.

The Respect in Sport program hopes to instill basic standards for conduct — bullying, abuse and discrimination are some of the topics the course addresses — and hold parents accountable for their behaviour in the stands.

While it may have some parents scratching their heads, Jason Marchand, the director of Northern Ontario Hockey Association, says the course is used by other sports organizations, such as Ontario Soccer.

"The idea of this program is to provide the tools and the information to parents so that they can hopefully address any situations amongst themselves before it gets out of hand, so that the bystander isn't the bystander, they're actively involved in resolving the potential problem," Marchand said.

The course costs $12 and lasts about an hour. It covers topics such as using guilt on your child, making "the bigs," losing perspective, achieving balance and avoiding burnout. Each section is supplemented with vignettes illustrating bad behaviour.

This is the first hockey season the course has been mandatory in Ontario.

"I've gotten very few, if any, complaints on it," Marchand said. 

"We did when it was first announced, but as people are going through the course, we haven't heard anything."

With files from Jamie Strashin, Martha Dillman. Edited/packaged by Casey Stranges

now