Don Cherry said on Hockey Night in Canada that it was "a money grab."
My co-host on our TSN 1200 radio show, Grassroots: The Minor Hockey Show, offered that a nutbar parent will always be a nutbar parent.
Yours truly expressed concern on the same broadcast that you can't legislate civility, let alone teach it.
So here's a question that goes to the heart of the issue: who gets more abuse, officials or coaches? My vote is coaches, but then I have a bias.
Perhaps abuse isn't the right word. What coaches get is often more subtle. Call it adult-to-adult bullying, overt (and frequently not-so-overt) criticism, second-guessing, shouting from the stands, eyeballing at the glass. . . coaches bear the brunt of ongoing and consistent parental angst and sometimes anger. For officials, it's a result of the occasional call or missed one. For coaches, though, entire games, practices and seasons can be deemed "misses."
I know of one competitive level peewee coach whose team’s parents were upset he wasn’t using his best forwards on every power play (which was about three times a game). I don’t have to mention which parents were beefing. Keep in mind he only had nine forwards. After one playoff game, a parent with a background in pro hockey came to him. Paraphrasing: You know I support you, coach, but. To which the coach replied, “If you support me, then why are you here to complain about power play units in peewee hockey?” The parent turned and left.
So along comes Hockey Canada with an online parent information course on how to be a well behaved parent. It'll cost about $12 and by next season, nearly all parents across the country will be forced to take it. No matter the logistics of one login per household or per parent or however it'll be rolled out, the notion of needing to show people how to behave around kids is sad on many levels.
I don't know if Cherry is right. Perhaps someone is making some bucks out of it. The reported cost, $12, isn't exorbitant. Of course, when something isn't necessary, no price is a bargain. Furthermore, the nutbar parent may indeed never change his ways. But we're in a sorry state when we need to force — force! — parents to take an hour and view an online program to show them what constitutes proper comportment around kids in a rink.
Will it work? One argument is that if it stops even a single parent from going off the rails and driving a coach or official into early retirement, it’s worth it.
Should we force drivers to take a course on preventing road rage? What about supermarket shoppers who can’t count and take their 59 items to the express checkout lane? Should there be a video for them before they get in line?
Is civility an acquired skill?
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