Quebec government creates guidelines to control problem hockey parents

MONTREAL — Parents of minor hockey players in Quebec will now be required to make sure their conduct in the stands measures up to new guidelines set by the provincial government.

The Education Department in conjunction with Quebec's minor hockey federation has put together a behaviour protocol governing how hockey associations should handle aggressive and unacceptable events involving parents of minor hockey players.

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"Excessive bad language and disgraceful conduct cannot be tolerated in hockey," Junior Education Minister Isabelle Charest said Monday at a news conference presenting the 43-page booklet. "And unfortunately today, we continue to see this type of behaviour too often in Quebec's arenas."

Paul Menard, head of Hockey Quebec, said the guide will be sent immediately to all minor hockey associations across the province. He said parent behaviour won't change overnight, but he expects people to fall in line soon.

"If we have a situation, we will have to address it by what's in the guide," he said in an interview. "And if you start working with a tool, people will join in."

The guidelines set out the roles and responsibilities for parents, team and arena personnel, officials, league administrators and fans who wish to intervene when an aggressive situation risks getting out of control. The booklet also includes a list of unacceptable behaviours and suggests ways to intervene.

If parents tell a child to fight another player, for instance, the guidelines suggest they be confronted, placed into a mediation process and then brought in front of a disciplinary committee. For parents who threaten a coach or someone else, they could be expelled from the league.

Menard said the guidelines detail how associations should react up to the point when police need to be called.

"When a situation gets out of hand, or when people are not stopping, the thing to do is to call the police," Menard said.

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