As we begin the grand celebration of Hockey Week Across America today, it’s a good time to reflect on how fortunate we are to be part of this great sport of ice hockey and the responsibility we all have as stewards of the game to help it continue to move forward.
Over the past decade in particular, our sport has enjoyed significant growth at all levels; we’ve advanced the environment for our players through enhanced safety initiatives and with fun and age-appropriate learning taking center stage through our American Development Model; and the success our teams have enjoyed on the international stage at all levels has been second to none.
While we’ve done much together, we have much progress yet to make.
Unfortunately, this season has included some ugly incidents of racial slurs and intolerant behavior in our programs.
It’s important that as parents and coaches, we educate our children as to what is acceptable and what is not, and also to make sure we practice what we preach. And when kids (or adults) step out of line, we must hold them accountable and help them learn from their mistakes.
Behavior that is hurtful to others in any capacity has absolutely no place in our sport and is something we have zero tolerance for at USA Hockey.
Together, we must make progress on eliminating intolerance of any kind and also enhance our efforts related to diversity and inclusion.
We look forward to welcome new families to our sport next Saturday (Feb. 23) through our national Try Hockey for Free Day, presented by SportsEngine, that is part of Hockey Week Across America. For more information, click here and I encourage everyone to invite families with children that have never had the chance to try our sport to come out and do just that on Saturday.
If you’re not aware, today our women’s national team faces Canada in Detroit at Little Caesars Arena at 12 noon ET (live on NHL Network) in the final game of the Rivalry Series, presented by TCF Bank. In addition, we’re excited to have nine-plus hours of hockey coverage through NBC’s Hockey Day in America happening today as well.
Enjoy a spectacular week ahead and please utilize the daily themes associated with Hockey Week Across America to thank and celebrate those that have helped you in your hockey journey to date.