Conduct unbecoming.

“He’s paid a heavy price for his actions,” said Tremblay’s lawyer after he was sentenced to 15 days in jail.

Really? Are you kidding me?!

I’ve never been a huge name-caller, but in this case I’ll make an exception. I’ve been passionate about minor hockey for a long time; as my wife would say, google “moron and hockey” and there I am!

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Let me rephrase. I was the guy who was responsible for the “Moron Memo” as dubbed by the Calgary Sun following a blog post I wrote titled: Protons, Neurons and Morons. It was written to vent some frustration over a heavy volunteer topic and poor behaviour among adults in the minor sport. Although it was inappropriate to post publicly while still the volunteer President of Hockey Calgary, it wasn’t inaccurate. I felt exasperated and disheartened; I had dedicated many hours of my life to volunteering and always respected the mandate that was provided to me. But on the upside the issue got a lot of attention and a lot of people talking. The shift in hockey isn’t just about body checking…it’s about much more: most notably, the moronic behaviour of some adults.

It doesn’t matter if it’s been going on since the beginning of time, adult behaviour in minor sports has become outrageous. Minor leagues exist to protect the game for children and when I see actions like that of Tremblay (tripping a 13 year old boy causing him to break his wrist) or Jason Boyd (guy in Winnipeg who was banned for an entire season following a verbal tirade at a minor hockey game) I’m completely disturbed. It’s unfortunate that it’s come to jail time to send a strong message that this is neither acceptable nor tolerated. But it happens all the time, without so much as a slap on the wrist.

Regrettably for the majority, it’s the minority that engage in this crazy, moronic behaviour. And they’re bullies – do you know how to stop a bully? Don’t give into them. Sure, these morons like to throw their weight and authority around. They don’t like to be called out and they’ll use every ounce of leverage they have to get what they want: e.g.: your kids. But don’t despair. We have the solution and it’s time stop idly standing by talking about it and start acting. Adults (coaches, volunteers, associations) must squash moronic behaviour early on. Let’s focus on zero tolerance for this type of conduct. I’ve witnessed too many parents (good people) succumb to the bully when they’re told to stop complaining or their child won’t play or won’t be on a particular team. This is an absolute showstopper all because parents don’t want to compromise their child’s potential hockey career by being the voice of reason, and quite frankly, the voice the kids need. It’s time to change the approach. Regroup and join forces, after all we’re the majority!

Respect in Sport and Hockey Canada are doing great things by providing the necessary training and tools to battle some of these issues, but they’re only valuable when being used. It’s time for adults to be adults and restore the game to a safe and fun place for kids to grow, learn and play. This is Canada’s game. A game most of us grew up playing in our yards, on lakes and ponds across the country. Protect it. Keep it safe from those who want to use and abuse it.

So here is how we can do it. There are always telltale moron signs from these guys and gals. Their conduct doesn’t change, even if the venue and players have. When you see them, it’s time to stand up and stop it; don’t be a bystander.

Warning signs of hockey moron:

(1) Vulgar (e.g.: Curses at kids, coaches and volunteers)

(2) Inappropriate (e.g.: Shames kids on the ice, in the dressing room or in front of others)

(3) Passive aggressive (e.g.: takes to social media and degrades kids, parents, volunteers, coaches)

(4) Belligerent (e.g.: Loses temper quickly; rants and raves in the stands or on the ice)

(5) Intimidating (e.g.: threatens to cut your kid from the team or cut his/her ice time)

With the capability to record these morons with smart phones, technology has changed our ability to take these people out of the game. That’s the thing, these people hate being caught and confronted, so keep the cameras rolling and catch a moron! Every time you witness this outrageous behaviour, do it. Put them on the spot (when and where appropriate); it doesn’t matter if it’s a coach, a parent or volunteer, who has had a lapse in judgment. There is a process in hockey Canada to follow, but it only works if everyone sticks with it. Your kids are counting on you. Not all parents ruin minor sports; it’s time to turn things around and claim the sport back!

Remember: if you’re not stopping the moron, you’re just as guilty!

Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it. ~David Star Jordan

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