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Hockey incident a teachable moment

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  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 05, 2012 06:00 am

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I want to start out by saying that this story of the peewee hockey player is horrific to me, and the behaviour displayed is not acceptable. I agree that this is important to bring to the attention of players, coaches, and parents and, of course. SAMHA. I agree that there does need to be some form of recourse taken when a situation of this magnitude occurs. Let me be very clear that I do not condone any of the actions that were put against the players that are the victims here. I feel badly for them and hope they are dealing with this in the best way they can and will experience healing.

That being said, I do have a few concerns about the article and the situation beyond just the victims. To think that banning the child from minor sports will help him in any way is wrong in my opinion. He is 11, and although old enough to hopefully know better, he is still developing. I believe in change, and the process of change. Did he make a mistake? Yes. Was it a bad thing he did? Yes. Is kicking him out for the season or banning him from minor sports going to fix the problem? No. I believe we need to come together as a community and help all the players try to understand the concept of empathy and restoration. Letís try to teach the offender why this is not acceptable through teaching empathy. Letís try to teach the victims why this boy is lashing out in such a harsh way by teaching empathy. Letís try to teach the entire team (and all of SAMHA if possible) that in life we need empathy towards one another.

This is such a teachable moment that can help bring change to everyone involved. It will take time, I am sure, but letís invest that time in using this as an opportunity for all the players to learn about others and not just a time to ďteach him a lesson.Ē It is an opportunity to lead some of our children down a path of dealing with differences in a positive way. Hockey as we know, is not just about on-ice skill development. Hockey is mostly about life skill development. Do we need to teach accountability? Yes. Do we do this by only punishing? No. Letís use this as an opportunity of learning instead of taking an opportunity away.

Has SAMHA explored any options for helping the boy who has done this? Is the only option to kick him out or ban him? Does SAMHA have any dispute resolution options? I would hope so, and if not, I would volunteer to assist in creating those options.

This situation can change lives for the good if dealt with in a way that leads the players to understanding one another and teaching young people the importance of accepting others. Kicking him out or banning him with no process doesn't do that. This is a pivotal moment in the lives of all the young people involved in this situation. I am fearful for any young person who is not offered the chance to change. Some of these opportunities may have already been offered to this player, and if so, that is great, but letís not give up now.

Kyle Dube, St. Albert


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