In support of USA Hockey’s and the USOC’s efforts to create the safest environment possible for our players, Massachusetts Hockey has announced a new background screening procedure that will begin with the start of the 2019-2020 season.
As an affiliate member of USA Hockey, Massachusetts Hockey has always required local programs to conduct a CORI screen as part of their responsibilities. That has met the legal obligation of the state and has been an accepted practice with USA Hockey. Given the current climate and recent legal situations (see the Ropes and Gray Report regarding USA Gymnastics), it has become clear that we can and need to do more to ensure that our members are protected.
Massachusetts Hockey will be conducting a national-level background screen in addition to a CORI screen for any coach, volunteer or administrator who has “regular access to youth”, as defined by the Massachusetts state legislature. We are working with NCSI, one of the leading screening companies in the United States and the screening vendor used by both the USOC and USA Hockey. Significant research was done in an effort to determine how best to protect our youth players and also fund this initiative.
In the end, the Massachusetts Hockey Board of Directors voted to increase membership dues by $2.50 per member. This is the first dues increase for Massachusetts Hockey members in 8 years. In addition to their USA Hockey membership fees, members of Massachusetts Hockey will now pay $10.50 (ages 6-18) and $2.50 (ages 19 and up).
Upon registering with USA Hockey, Massachusetts Hockey members will be directed to register for their background screening. No coach or team manager will be allowed to be added to a roster until their background screen is complete and verified.
“The Massachusetts Hockey Board of Directors has embraced this opportunity to continue to be leaders in the youth sports world and are resolute in our desire to keep youth hockey one of the greatest youth sports opportunities in our state. A dues increase is never an easy topic, but for the price of a cup of coffee, we can make a significant step forward in reducing risk to our players while also meeting our obligations to USA Hockey.
I am sharing this information with you in order to be open and transparent about the reason for the dues increase. Rest assured, the money collected through this increase will remain earmarked for the purpose of background screening. We do not receive and assistance from USA Hockey for the screening process and as such, we are funding it with the goal of breaking even.
We thank all of our members for participating in the process and look forward to continued enjoyment of youth hockey in a safe and protected environment,” said John L. Tobin, Massachusetts Hockey president.
Massachusetts Hockey, Inc., is a not-for-profit tax-exempt organization which serves as the affiliate association of USA Hockey, Inc., and is the official governing body for the sport of hockey in Massachusetts. As such, its purposes and objectives are to develop, advance and encourage participation in the sport of hockey; to develop and encourage sportsmanship between all players for the betterment of their physical and social well-being; to develop and improve the standards of the sport; and to educate and train players, coaches, referees, managers, administrators and parents.