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2019 USA Hockey Annual Congress Important Highlights

By USA Hockey, 06/20/19, 5:00PM EDT

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Information ALL Volunteers, Players, Coaches & Officials Need to Know

Massachusetts Hockey wants to share some important information that was relayed at the 2019 USA Hockey Annual Congress.

All volunteers, players, parents, coaches and officials should take note of the changes which are being applied to the upcoming 2019-2020 USA Hockey season.


Declaration of Player Safety, Fair Play & Respect:

The focus of the Declaration is a concentrated effort to change the culture around body checking and competitive contact at all levels of play and clearly define what is acceptable and unacceptable. The Board’s action makes clear that a body check must be an attempt to win possession of the puck and not an effort to punish or intimidate. Further, USA Hockey is committed to a culture where there are: 1) no late hits 2) no hits to the head and 3) no checking from behind.

There has been confusion with the update for the Unsportsmanlike Conduct rule. 

“A bench minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct shall be assessed to any team whose players or team officials commit the following actions while on the players’ bench: (5) Banging the boards with a stick or other object, including skates or arms, at any time, including after a body check regardless as to whether the check is being penalized.”

This rule has been under 601(b) in the USAH Official Rulebook.

These are points of emphasis, not rule changes. The discussions around this rule is into regarding this were all about safety, with the feeling that banging sticks on the boards after a hit is taunting and incites payback hits.

For more information, click here.


New 2019 Concussion Management Program & Return to Play Forms:

Beginning with the 2019-20 season, any athlete held out for concussion evaluation or who has been diagnosed with a concussion must provide a written Return to Play form from a qualified medical provider allowing them to return to any training, practice or game activity with no restrictions. The parent must sign the form and the coach must also sign the form acknowledging that they received it.

The concussion management program has always been updated based on the latest research and recommendations. It also aligns with the 2017 Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport from the 5th International Conference on Concussion in Sport in Berlin. Many state statutes pertaining to concussions require written return to play. Some of USA Hockey’s districts and affiliates already require written clearance for return to play. This latest update aligns all of USA Hockey with this written return to play requirement and provides a standard form for use by all.

For more information, click here.


SafeSport Training & Awareness (Includes Players):

Finally, as it relates to registration, events that have occurred in the sports world over the last decade or two have changed the landscape on awareness of abusive or inappropriate behavior.

All members of USA Hockey have an obligation to recognize and report situations where a participant is abused or does not feel safe. The United States Congress and the U.S. Olympic Committee have both enacted legislation that requires all National Governing Bodies to ramp up SafeSport training and awareness.

Specifically for USA Hockey, it means anyone born prior to 2003 is required to complete SafeSport online training this season as part of their registration process. This is required for volunteers, players, coaches and officials.

As mandated to USA Hockey, a SafeSport refresher course will then become an annual requirement, as well.

For more important information, please open the SafeSport document listed below.

SafeSport Registration, Etc.

Click here to find out more information on SafeSport for everyone involved with USA Hockey.


Massachusetts Hockey's Commitment to Comprehensive Background Screening:

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.

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.

For more information, click here.

Click Below for Link to Background Screening Check:


USA Hockey Announces District Player Safety Coordinators for 2019-2020:

In continuing efforts to positively affect player safety, beginning with 2019-20 season, a new volunteer role will be added to each of USA Hockey’s 12 Districts in the form of a Player Safety Coordinator, including Massachusetts.

The Player Safety Coordinators will implement safety initiatives, distribute educational materials, collect athlete health profile information, ensure compliance with concussion protocol/state statutes, and help to develop an injury reporting platform.

For more information, click here.


Record USA Hockey Growth Numbers:

The Board learned that the 2018-19 season included a record 567,908 players. The total includes a record 123,303 at the 8U entry level and also a record 181,765 adult players. In addition, the number of girls and women playing increased by more than 4% overall from 2017-18 to a record 82,808. The number of coaches and officials also increased over 2017-18, with more than 60,000 coaches and 25,000 officials’ part of USA Hockey.

Massachusetts 8U growth numbers increased 2.3% to 13,320 registered members, second only behind Minnesota in total 8U numbers.

For more information, click here.


USA Hockey Board Ratifies Declaration of Safety, Fair Play and Respect

Click here to read more about the recap from 2019 USA Hockey Annual Congress, including elections and awards.