Dear USA Hockey members and parents,
USA Hockey wants to make you aware of some important updates regarding the U.S. Center for SafeSport. As a national governing body designated by the United States Olympic Committee for the sport of hockey, USA Hockey, including all of its “Participants” (described more fully below), is subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Center for SafeSport. The Center for SafeSport is an independent non-profit committed to ending all forms of abuse in sport, including bullying, harassment, hazing, physical abuse, emotional abuse and sexual misconduct and abuse (more information about the Center for SafeSport can be found at www.safesport.org). The Center has two primary functions:
- An office for education and outreach, which develops training, oversight practices, policies and procedures to prevent abuse (the SafeSport Training required to be taken by USA Hockey coaches, officials and administrators is produced by the Center for SafeSport); and
- An office for response and resolution that establishes mechanisms to report, investigate and resolve allegations of misconduct (the Center has exclusive authority over allegations involving sexual abuse and misconduct, and discretionary authority over other forms of misconduct, including bullying, harassment, physical and emotional abuse).
On February 14, 2018, the United States government enacted the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and SafeSport Authorization Act of 2017, which created the authority and requirement for the Center for SafeSport to enact policies to protect minors from abuse in sport. Those policies have been adopted by the Center for SafeSport, and USA Hockey is in the process of incorporating those policies into the USA Hockey SafeSport Program Handbook. We expect final adoption and publication of those policies in the very near future.
Additionally, the Center for SafeSport’s responsibility and process for addressing reports of misconduct or abuse are set forth in the SafeSport Code for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements (the “SafeSport Code”). On April 15, 2019, the Center for SafeSport adopted revisions to the SafeSport Code and a copy can be found here: https://safesport.org/ files/details/114.
USA Hockey is in the process of incorporating the revisions to the SafeSport Code into the USA Hockey SafeSport Handbook that will be published in the near future.
Among the important changes to the SafeSport Code are the revisions to the persons to whom the SafeSport Code applies. Those persons within the groups below are now defined as “Participants” and are subject to the SafeSport Code’s rules and provisions and to the Center for SafeSport’s and USA Hockey’s jurisdiction:
- Any individual who is seeking to be, currently is, or was at the time of the alleged SafeSport Code violation:
- A member of USA Hockey (including those persons registered with USA Hockey as players, coaches, referees or in the manager/volunteer category);
- An employee of a USA Hockey or any USA Hockey Affiliate or Member Program;
- Within the governance or disciplinary jurisdiction of USA Hockey or any USA Hockey Affiliate or Member Program; and
- Authorized, approved, or appointed by a USA Hockey or any USA Hockey Affiliate or Member Program to have regular contact with minor athletes.
USA Hockey has determined that the specific groups that fit within the definition of “Participants” and are subject to the SafeSport Code include (i) all registered members of USA Hockey, (ii) all persons serving as national level volunteers of USA Hockey; (iii) all coaches, officials or staff for any USA Hockey team, camp or national level program; (iv) all USA Hockey national staff; and (v) any person who is elected or appointed by a USA Hockey Affiliate or Member Program to a position of authority over minor athletes or that has regular contact with minor athletes (even if not registered with USA Hockey).
All Participants defined above are required by the SafeSport Code and by law to report actual or suspected sexual misconduct or child abuse to the Center for SafeSport and, when appropriate, to applicable law enforcement. The Center will have exclusive jurisdiction for the investigation and resolution of such reports. USA Hockey retains the authority to investigate and resolve allegations of SafeSport policies that are non-sexual in nature.
The Center has the jurisdiction and authority to impose sanctions against Participants within USA Hockey (as well as other national governing bodies), and USA Hockey will enforce any suspension, measures or other sanction throughout USA Hockey programs.
Thanks for joining with USA Hockey, the Center for SafeSport and the Olympic and Paralympic Movement in helping make our game as safe as possible for all participants.