Hockey organizations unveil 'Declaration of Principles'

The NHL and NHL Players' Association have unveiled a "Declaration of Principles" to guide hockey culture across the sport.

Declaration calls hockey 'a powerful platform' for character building

Hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine, currently the NHL's vice president of hockey development, was a key force behind the "Declaration of Principles." (Nick LoVerde, File/The Associated Press)

The NHL and NHL Players' Association have unveiled a "Declaration of Principles" to guide hockey culture across various levels of the sport.

"We believe every leader of the sport has the responsibility to inspire stakeholders in an effort to deliver a positive family hockey experience," the declaration reads. "The game of hockey is a powerful platform for participants to build character, foster positive values and develop important life skills."

The principles were unveiled at a news conference Wednesday that included representatives from 17 other organizations, including Hockey Canada and the International Ice Hockey Federation. They're the result of two-plus years of discussions about the state of the game and ways to make changes.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says the declaration of principles allows the hockey world to speak with one voice and hopes all players "can enjoy rewarding experiences and share a common commitment to respect, inclusiveness and sportsmanship."

Hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine, now the league's vice president of hockey development, was a driver behind the process.

The principles include:

  1. Hockey should be an enjoyable family experience; all stakeholders — organizations, players, parents, siblings, coaches, referees, volunteers and rink operators — play a role in this effort.

  2. Hockey's greatest value is the role it plays in the development of character and life skills.

  3. All hockey organizations — regardless of size or level of competition — bring value to players and families in their ability to deliver a positive family experience.

  4. Physical activity is important for a healthy body, mind and spirit.

  5. There are significant benefits of youth participation in multiple sports.

  6. Hockey programs should be age-appropriate for all players, accounting for each individual's physical, emotional and cognitive development.

  7. There is great value in all forms of hockey, both on and off the ice.

  8. All hockey programs should provide a safe, positive and inclusive environment for players and families regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation and socio-economic status. Simply put, hockey is for everyone.


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