Canada: Taming our violent hockey dads
Coaches have been complaining that youth-league games are increasingly interrupted by irate parents who scream at their own children or at opposing players, said Allan Maki in Globe and Mail.
Globe and Mail
Canada is experiencing an epidemic of “rink rage” among hockey parents, said Allan Maki. Coaches have been complaining that youth-league games are increasingly interrupted by irate parents who scream at their own children or at opposing players. In many cases, parents—usually fathers—have hit players, coaches, or other parents. Three years ago, Hockey Calgary launched a campaign called “Relax, It’s Just a Game,” with the idea of getting parents to “lighten up.”
But if anything, things have grown even worse. Now the city of Calgary has started a new program of “mandatory anger management” for parents of prospective hockey players. No child can be enrolled in hockey unless at least one parent has completed a one-hour, online course that deals with such topics as “respecting referees” and “parents living vicariously through their kids.”
Of course, a one-hour course can’t hope to tame the worst offenders. One father, after being encouraged by Hockey Calgary officials to enroll in an anger-management course, “slammed his fist on a table and shouted, ‘I’ve taken the damn thing twice and they don’t work.’” But officials say that while the new program is no panacea, it’s at least “a first step” toward getting parental aggression under control.