NHL, NHLPA unveil Declaration of Principles
The NHL and many other major hockey governing bodies want hockey to be a positive experience for everyone.
So the NHL players Association and the NHL recently unveiled hockey’s Declaration of Principles, eight objectives developed by and for hockey stakeholders to advance policies, programs and initiatives, while inspiring fans, players and communities to create the best possible experience for the entire hockey community.
Those principles are:
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.
Including the NHL and the NHLPA, 17 hockey organizations from around the world have joined the effort. The others are: American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), American Hockey League (AHL), Canadian Hockey League (CHL), Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL), College Hockey Inc., East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), Hockey Canada, International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), North American Hockey League (NAHL), U SPORTS, United States Hockey League (USHL) and USA Hockey.
The Michigan Amateur Hockey Association, which is an affiliate of USA Hockey, is on the same page.
“MAHA certainly endorses it,’ said MAHA President George Atkinson. “We have recently been working on a long-range plan for our association and have created new Mission and Value statements. It was great to see how what we have been working on is aligned with the goals of the NHL, USA Hockey and all these other organizations.”
The man who leads the world’s highest-profile hockey organization, also commented.
“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 said in a statement. “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.”
Said former Red Wing Mathieu Schneider, now NHLPA special assistant to the executive: “We believe it is important for the NHLPA to take a leadership role together with the NHL in the development of youth and grassroots hockey. Hockey is a fun game, which imparts important values, facilitates camaraderie among participants, and instills important life lessons that all players can carry with them in their daily lives.’
The Declaration of Principles campaign was kicked off earlier this month on NBC’s “The Today Show” when NHL players Marc-Andre Fleury, Seth Jones, Connor McDavid and Ryan McDonagh appeared on the show along with Hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine, who grew up in Waterford.