Today the NHL and NHLPA were part of the 17 major hockey organizations that banded together to “develop, promote and support positive changes in the sport’s culture”. The Declaration of Principles that was announced earlier today will serve as the compass for this pledge to promote a healthier hockey culture.
These principles have been agreed upon and put in place to shift behaviors of hockey organizations, players, parents, fans and the rest of the hockey community. In the league’s press release they are defined as:
“A set of commonly shared beliefs that articulate a vision of delivering the best possible hockey experience for participants and their families.”
“The Declaration of Principles represents the hockey world speaking with one voice: our game teaches life lessons that can guide a meaningful future,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman shared in the league’s release. “While not everyone who plays the game will have an NHL career, every player at every level - and the family and friends of every player - can enjoy rewarding experiences and share a common commitment to respect, inclusiveness and sportsmanship.”
Declaration of Principles
We believe every leader of the sport has the responsibility to inspire stakeholders in an effort to deliver a positive family hockey experience. Hockey participation offers families value beyond making an individual a better player or even a better athlete. The game of hockey is a powerful platform for participants to build character, foster positive values and develop important life skills. These benefits are available to all players, desirable to every family and transcend the game.
Today, guided by our common values, we jointly pledge to the following Principles.
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.
We believe in our ability to improve lives and strengthen communities globally through hockey. We believe that living by these Principles will provide a healthy, balanced and enjoyable experience for all and inspire impactful service beyond the rink.
The Declaration of Principles was launched on The TODAY Show with Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh present alongside several other NHL stars. Kevin Shattenkirk of the Rangers was also present for the media conference in New York City. Former Rangers Pat LaFontaine and Mike Richter were also represented.
You can learn more about this initiative at ThisIsHockey.org.