Clinic to ‘speak out’ against hockey abuse

A special coaching clinic—focusing on ways to prevent forms of hockey abuse—will let its voice be heard here next week.
The Fort Frances Minor Hockey Association and Hockey Northwestern Ontario will host “Speak Out” next Tuesday night at the Red Dog Inn.
Attendance is mandatory for those looking to coach ‘A’ or ‘AA’ hockey teams for the 2002-03 season. This seminar is as needed as a coaching certification.
“It’s a [Canadian Hockey Association initiative] that basically focuses on abuse and harassment and the basic do’s and don’ts,” said FFMHA president Lynn Kellar.
The four-hour seminar, which gets underway at 6 p.m., will be conducted by former Fort Frances resident Bob Woods and feature information videos, handouts, discussion, and a question/answer period.
Woods, a longtime referee and HNO board director, said the Graham James scandal involving coach-player sexual abuse in 1997 prompted the CHA to educate people on the dangers of quiet abuse.
Other forms of abuse to be discussed will include emotional, physical, and mental.
“This topic generally brings up a lot of questions and discussions,” said Woods. “It addresses the people’s concerns for elimination and prevention of abuse and harassment.”
He said there’s a big difference between how problems are approached now than they were when he played minor hockey here in town.
“It was that whole stuff of harassment and abuse was sort of treated differently,” he noted. “There seemed to be a fear in facing it directly. But it’s come to the forefront now.
“The boards are obliged to take care of concerns, protect, got to bat for, and support people who are involved with hockey.”
For those interested in coaching here next year but cannot attend, Woods said he will hold similar seminars in Dryden, Kenora, and the Red Lake area next month.
But the best way to experience the clinic is with fellow coaches, stressed Woods.
“We hope to have a good turnout. It’ll be a fun thing. It’s not going to be doom and gloom,” he noted. “I try to make the discussions as enjoyable as possible.”
For more information or to register, call Kellar at 274-3342.