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"But Dad, I want to have fun!"
December 24, 2003

Story by: Suzannah M. Archibald

The final instalment in a three-part series about rink rage, minor-league hockey and the pressure on child athletes, this article explores "Relax, It's Just a Game," a recent public-service announcement campaign launched by USA Hockey and Hockey Canada (hockeycanada.ca):

They finally made good on their promise. After years of half-hearted attempts, contract models with unruly parents and doing everything but policing the game themselves, officials at the highest level of minor-league hockey in both Canada and the US have decided that enough is enough.

As recently as last week, a new ad campaign was being launched nation-wide, as well as in parts of the United States, in order to combat the problem of parental pressure on young hockey players. The ads emphasize the need for "good, clean fun" and espouse the values that many feel minor-league hockey has lost: that is, when it's no longer just a game, how can you expect a kid to feel comfortable playing, or even worse, to avoid patterning themselves after some of the alarming behaviours we see in hockey parents every so often?

Launched on November 13th of this year, the series of public-service announcements (PSAs) is scheduled to be played out across hockey arenas, schools and television sets across this great continent of ours, in order to cast light on a topic that, in the words of CHA President Bob Nicholson, is often "swept under the rug."

According to Hockey Hall of Famer Lanny McDonald, "The ads are outstanding, and I feel that they get the point across that some adults involved in minor hockey need to just relax, and let the kids be kids and have fun playing the game." And being that McDonald is an amateur hockey coach and parent himself, he may well appreciate this initiative in his own household as well.

The series of print ads and media kits will be available by request from Hockey Canadas website. In addition to the promotion and distribution of the new PSAs, Hockey Canada, through the Chevrolet Safe & Fun Hockey Program, has a seminar kit entitled "A Parent's Approach," available free of charge to any Minor Hockey Association in Canada.

For the 2003-2004 season, each Minor Hockey Association in Canada has the opportunity to conduct its own parent clinic. These associations can do so by obtaining their Chevrolet Safe & Fun Hockey "A Parent's Approach" seminar kit from their Branch Office, Hockey Canada or directly from a Chevrolet dealership.

To contact the author with your comments, or future story ideas, she can be emailed at: smarchibald@yahoo.ca, or sma@hockeylink.ca



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