Hockey P.E.I. lays out policies to prevent abuse following Blackhawks scandal

·2 min read
Hockey PEI says all coaches, managers and volunteers must undergo a criminal record check and a vulnerable sector check. (Peter Evans/CBC - image credit)
Hockey PEI says all coaches, managers and volunteers must undergo a criminal record check and a vulnerable sector check. (Peter Evans/CBC - image credit)

Hockey P.E.I. is speaking out about its policies regarding reporting abuse as the sport continues to react to former NHLer Kyle Beach saying he was the victim of a sexual assault covered up by the Chicago Blackhawks.

Since Beach came forward with his story, many have talked about how hockey can better protect the players at all levels. Here on P.E.I., that conversation continues.

"To be to be perfectly honest, I don't think you can ever do enough within this category, especially when you're dealing with the kids that we deal with," executive director Connor Cameron told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier.

"It's important for our coaches, our managers, anyone involved with hockey to know that certain things are bigger than hockey. A lot of things are bigger than hockey."

'Keeps you up at night'

Cameron said there are many steps in place to prevent abuse, including criminal record checks, vulnerable sector checks and coaching clinics.

Submitted by Tanner Doiron
Submitted by Tanner Doiron

"Certainly when you're in a position of rolling out some of those programs, it definitely keeps you up at night," he said.

"But we do feel as though hockey's had somewhat of a good track record in the last number of years in terms of keeping these programs up to date, and [continuing] to put money and resources into these programs so our kids can be as safe as possible."

Cameron said when players are younger dressing rooms are often filled with parents helping to get their child ready for a game or practice. But once they reach the age where they can "tie their own skates ... absolutely everyone around the dressing room has to have a criminal record check.

"The responsibility to the kids is always more important than winning and losing — winning and losing anything and any trophy that we offer, without question."

Cameron said he does expect to hear more from Hockey Canada about the situation.

In the meantime, he said there are lessons to be learned from the Beach story.

"I think it will send a shockwave right through. Coaches, managers, organizers, everyone just kind of thinks 'you know what, if I see something, it's not just good enough to pass it up the chain,'" he said. "I really have to followup to find out what the next steps are."

"If there is a positive side of Kyle Beach coming forward, I'm sure he's going to help a lot of people who are in similar boats to him."

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