Minor Hockey week in Canada runs from Friday, January 10th, 2014 to Saturday, January 18th, 2014. More than 500,000 minor hockey players will play and compete for medals across Canada. In the City of Calgary alone we have over 13,000 minor hockey players active in our game.
For many young aspiring hockey players, this tournament will be the hi -lite of their season and for some maybe the hi-lite of their minor hockey playing careers. Great memories and good friendships often develop from playing our nations greatest sport. Having fun is of paramount importance during our country’s annual minor hockey week of events!
So what is yucky hockey you may ask? Yucky hockey is hockey that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. It is events and happenings within the game that test our true love of our game. On many occasions it may cause individuals – minor players and valuable volunteers – to turn their back on our game. They feel they do not enjoy hockey any more and wish to do something else with their lives. Hopefully, this bad taste doesn’t linger too long. Maybe for a few days, weeks, or months but for some if the experience is really yucky enough it can last a life time!
In our Hockey Zones newsletter publications (https://www.tuckerhockey.com/newsletters.asp) we strive to reinforce hockey’s positives to all ages. However, on occasion it’s necessary to look at the negatives – yes, yucky hockey! –maybe it will positively influence and help change a few negative attitudes and influences in our game to smarten up! Fortunately for the minor hockey associations, 98 per cent of the performers are good people; it’s the bad behavior / attitudes of the other 2 per cent that is painting a negative environment in our great game.
Hockey Calgary is actively promoting this season “RESPECT” in our game. You may have seen the new signs located in each city arena. Hockey Calgary is promoting awareness, and education to those involved in our great game – “that everyone should be shown respect”. Otherwise, please stay away from our local rinks! “Hockey rinks are supposed to be playgrounds for children. They are supposed to play, have fun and enjoy the experience” says Former Hockey Calgary President, Perry Cavanagh 
Here are a few examples of yucky hockey.
Often we see players hitting from behind and delivering head shots. Such reckless actions can cause concussions and even major life changing injuries. Player’s must be conscious of opponent’s safety as well as their own on the ice.
Some minor hockey coaches are concerned about winning at all costs. Coaches, who verbally abuse their players, opposition coaches and officials, need to take a look in the mirror. A few coaches have crossed the line with shocking sexual abuse of their players over the years. Both Hockey Canada and Hockey Calgary encourage victims to voice their concerns with “speak out programs” to ensure we have a safe environment for kids at the local arenas.
In addition, there are parents who are living the NHL dream vicariously through their children. Many parents are so involved in their child’s hockey that they pressure their kids too much. Hockey Calgary is actively promoting – The Respect in Sports – “the parents program” to educate parents about acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
Also, there are officials, who spoil a good game via inconsistent and bad calls. As well as the occasional administrator who carries around his or her own power and control agenda and forgets that our game is first and foremost about the kids and their enjoyment from our game!
I am sure you can add a few more yucky examples to the list!
For more information about RESPECT in hockey initiatives, please contact your local minor hockey association or the Hockey Calgary head office at 403 – 245 – 5773 or visit their website www.hockeycalgary.com
Let’s work together to rid the game of:  “Yucky Hockey”. Shared respect within the game of hockey requires good cooperation between all the major stakeholders – players, parents, coaches, officials and facilities. Shared respect will ensure that hockey will continue to be the greatest game on earth. Everyone should be shown RESPECT! 
Coach Rex’s Note   Background on the Article:
The idea to write a “Yucky Hockey” article came to Coach Rex at a downtown drugstore. While waiting patiently in my chair for a prescription to be filled, I noticed a poster on the wall – illustrating kids taking their medicine. The poster indicated the taste can be yucky! The promotion talked about food coloring flavors such as raspberry, grape etc to make the medicine for kids – more palatable. So I thought how can I relate this to the game of hockey?
As hockey coaches, managers, officials, organizers, parents and fellow players, I feel it is our responsibility within the game – to try and make the game better each day, season and year. To avoid yucky experiences and incidents, and to help instill the love of the game in our youth so they will stay in the game, learn valuable life skills as well as hockey skills and become good contributing members of society.
Respect is critical. It should be shown towards everyone involved in the game. Remember the golden rule – do onto others as you would want them to do on to you. Unfortunately, our society forgets the wisdom of this rule. Plain and simple – if people don’t show respect they should not be allowed in our local arenas!