Section 9 – NMHA Coaching and Ethical Philosophy & Behaviour Guidelines



As a member and representative of the NMHA, volunteers’ personal conduct on and off the ice is of principle importance towards attaining the objectives of the NMHA program. Team officials are responsible to uphold the following rules of conduct, ethics and procedures contained in the following documentation.

NMHA Player Charter of Rights

Every player in our program has:

  • The right to practice sport
  • The right to enjoy and play like a child
  • The right to practice sport in a comfortable milieu 
  • The right to be treated with dignity 
  • The right to be trained and surrounded by competent individuals 
  • The right to train with adaptations for the individual 
  • The right to practice sport in complete security and in a safe environment 
  • The right to have proper rest 
  • The right to try and fail 
  • The right to receive a hockey education

NMHA Coaches Ethical Guidelines 

  • I am coaching in order to provide a hockey education to our players. 
  • I am coaching in order to work with my colleagues in a team environment. 
  • I am coaching in order to improve myself as a coach partaking in as many seminars, clinics and coaches’ committee meetings as possible. 
  • I am coaching in order to teach the values of respect, responsibility, honesty and integrity to my players, understanding that I will be their best example. 
  • I will conduct myself in a responsible and professional manner with referees, parents, players, and members of the NMHA Board of Governors understanding that I represent the NMHA when fulfilling my responsibilities as a coach. 
  • I will implement an Affiliation Program with the concerned teams in my particular category. 
  • I will instruct my staff and personnel who are helping in any capacity with my team, to support and implement the Coaching and Ethical Philosophy of the Nepean Minor Hockey Association.

NMHA House League Ethical Philosophy

  • House League Coaches are expected to work in a team environment with their NMHA Director and Convenor, fellow coaches and other directors with the objective of trying to achieve a balanced division. 
  • House League Coaches are expected to implement the NMHA Equal Ice-Time policy which applies to every sequence of every game.

NMHA Equal Ice Policy

One of the principles of NMHA is that every house league player is entitled to an equal share of ice time. The equal ice principle applies to the entire game in both regular season and playoffs. All house league coaches have agreed to abide by this equal ice time policy. The policy in its entirety can be found on the NMHA website under House League > House League Policies.

  • Winning results from good ice utilization in practice and equal rotation of players during the game.
  • Every player should have the opportunity to practice and or play with the higher level team.

NMHA Code of Conduct

This Code of Conduct identifies the standard of behaviour that is expected of all Nepean Minor Hockey Association (NMHA) members, including players, coaches, parents, directors, volunteers and staff.

The NMHA is committed to providing and maintaining a minor hockey environment where all individuals are treated with respect. To follow are specific guidelines for the behaviour of Parents, Players, Spectators, Coaches, On and Off-ice Officials and Administrators and forms part of this Code of Conduct.

During the course of all NMHA activities and events, members of the NMHA shall conduct themselves at all times in a fair and responsible manner. They shall refrain from comments or actions that are disrespectful, offensive, abusive, racist, or sexist. Behaviour that constitutes harassment or abuse (as defined by Canadian hockey governing bodies) will not be tolerated by the NMHA.

Members shall avoid behaviour that brings the NMHA or the sport of hockey into disrepute, including but not limited to abusive use of alcohol and non-medicinal use of drugs, or that endangers the safety of others.

NMHA members shall at all times adhere to NMHA operational policies and procedures, to rules governing NMHA events and activities and to rules governing any events and activities that the member participates on behalf of the NMHA.

Failure to comply with this Code of Conduct may result in disciplinary action in accordance with the Discipline policy and guidelines of the NMHA. Such action may result in the member losing the privileges that come with membership in the NMHA, including the opportunity to participate in NMHA activities.

NMHA Behaviour Guidelines

Guidelines for Parents

  • Do not force your children to participate in sports, but support their desires to play their chosen sport. Children are involved in organized sports for their enjoyment. Make it fun.
  • Encourage your child to play by the rules. Remember that children learn best by example, so applaud the good plays of both teams.
  • Do not embarrass your child by yelling at players, coaches, or officials. By showing a positive attitude toward the game and all of its participants, your child will benefit. 
  • Should you wish to confront your child’s coach about a practice or game-related issue, wait 24 hours before doing so. Emotions can cause miscommunication and misunderstandings. 
  • Emphasize skill development and practices and how they benefit your young athlete. 
  • Know and study the rules of the game, and support the officials on and off the ice. This approach will help in the development and support of the game. Any criticism of the officials only hurts the game. 
  • Applaud a good effort in victory and in defeat and enforce the positive points of the game. Never yell or physically abuse your child after a game or practice — it is destructive. Work toward removing the physical and verbal abuse in youth sports. 
  • Recognize the importance of volunteer coaches. They are important to the development of your child and the sport. 
  • If you enjoy the game, learn all you can about the game, and volunteer!

Guidelines for Players 

  • Play for FUN. 
  • Work hard to improve your skills. Be a team player – get along with your teammates. 
  • Learn teamwork, sportsmanship and discipline. 
  • Learn the rules and play by them. Always be a good sport. 
  • Respect your coach, your team mates, your parents, opponents and officials. 
  • Discuss an official’s decision calmly and express your opinion clearly and without profanity or disrespect. 
  • Never appear for a game or practice while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.

Guidelines for Spectators

  • Display good sportsmanship. Always respect players, coaches, and officials. 
  • Act appropriately; do not taunt or disturb other players or fans; enjoy the game together. 
  • Cheer good plays of all participants; avoid booing opponents. 
  • Cheer in a positive manner and encourage fair play; profanity and objectionable cheers or gestures are offensive and will not be tolerated. 
  • Help provide a safe and fun environment; throwing any items on the ice surface can cause injury to players and officials. 
  • Do not lean over or pound on the glass; the glass surrounding the ice surface is part of the playing area. 
  • Support the referees and coaches by trusting their judgment and integrity. 
  • Be responsible for your own safety — be alert to prevent accidents from flying pucks and other avoidable situations. 
  • Respect locker rooms as private areas for players, coaches, and officials. 
  • Never appear for a game while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. 
  • Be supportive after the game . . . win or lose. 
  • Recognize good effort, teamwork and sportsmanship.

Guidelines for Coaches (and all NMHA Team Officials) 

  • Winning is a consideration, but neither the only one nor the most important one. Care more about the child than winning the game. Remember players are involved in hockey for fun and enjoyment. 
  • Be a positive role model to your players, display emotional maturity and be alert to the physical safety of players. Do not appear for games or practices while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs. Show respect for on- ice and off-ice officials at all times. 
  • Be generous with your praise when it is deserved; be consistent, honest; be fair and just; do not criticize players publicly; learn to be a more effective communicator and coach; don’t yell at players. 
  • Adjust to personal needs and problems of players, be a good listener, never verbally or physically abuse a player or official; give all players the opportunity to improve their skills, gain confidence and develop self- esteem; teach them the basics. 
  • Organize practices that are fun and challenging for your players. Familiarize yourself with the rules, techniques and strategies of hockey; encourage all your players to be team players. 
  • Maintain an open line of communication with your players’ parents. Explain the goals and objectives of your association. 
  • Be concerned with the overall development of your players. Stress good health habits and clean living. 
  • To play the game is great; to love the game is greater. 

Guidelines for On and Off-Ice Officials (Referees and Time Keepers)

  •  Act in a professional and businesslike manner at all times and take your role seriously. 
  • Strive to provide a safe and sportsmanlike environment in which players can properly display their hockey skills. 
  • Know all playing rules, their interpretations and their proper application. 
  • Remember that officials are “teachers.” Set a good example. 
  • Make your calls with quiet confidence; never with arrogance. 
  • Control games only to the extent that is necessary to provide a positive and safe experience for all participants. 
  • Violence must never be tolerated.
  • Be fair and impartial at all times. 
  • Answer all reasonable questions and requests.
  • Adopt a “zero tolerance” attitude toward verbal or physical abuse.
  • Never use foul or vulgar language when speaking with a player, coach or parent. 
  • Use honesty and integrity when answering questions. 
  • Admit your mistakes when you make them. 
  • Never openly criticize a coach, player or other official. 
  • Keep your emotions under control.
  • Use only Canadian Hockey Association-approved officiating techniques and policies. 
  • Maintain your health through a physical conditioning program. 
  • Dedicate yourself to personal improvement and maintenance of officiating skills. 
  • Respect your supervisor and his/her critique of your performance.

Guidelines for Administrators (Directors, Volunteers and Employees)

  • Follow the rules and regulations of the Canadian Hockey Association, HEO Minor and the Nepean Minor Hockey Association to ensure that the philosophy and objectives of these organizations are promoted. In particular, this means the ice time provisions for each program and the codes of conduct for other participants. 
  • Work with on-ice officials, coaches, parents, and other administrators to provide a positive and safe experience for all participants. 
  • Support programs that train and educate players, coaches, parents, officials and volunteers. 
  • Promote and publicize your programs. 
  • Never appear for an Association event while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. 
  • Communicate with parents by attending parent/player orientation meetings and/or by being available to answer questions and address problems throughout the season. 
  • Treat all players, coaches and other volunteers with fairness, to promote fair play and sportsmanship. 
  • Recruit volunteers, including coaches, who demonstrate qualities conducive to being role models to the youth in our sport. 
  • Perform your duties impartially, in furtherance of the aims of the NMHA. Do not use your position or influence to further purely personal objectives.

NMHA Social Media Policy

The Executive of the Nepean Minor Hockey Association has adopted the following Social Media Policy.


For the purpose of this Social Media and Networking Policy, the policy will encompass public communications through such internet mediums and websites as Email, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Foursquare and any other social media network that allows users to communicate online. The policy will be applicable to all members of the NMHA, including Directors, Teams, NMHA members and staff, on-ice and off-ice officials, players, (as defined by Section 2 of our by-laws).

NMHA recognizes and appreciates the value of social media and the importance of social networking to all of its stakeholders. NMHA also respects the right of all Teams and Association personnel to express their views publicly. At the same time, we must be aware of the dangers social media and networking can pre- sent.

The purpose of this policy is to educate the NMHA Community on the risks of social media and to ensure all Teams and Association personnel are aware that conduct deemed to be inappropriate will be subject to disciplinary action by the NMHA.

Social Media Guidelines

  1. NMHA holds all members who participate in social media and networking to the same standards as it does for all other forms of media including radio, television and print.
  2. Comments or remarks of an inappropriate nature which are detrimental to a Team, the Association or an individual will not be tolerated and will be subject to disciplinary action.
  3. It should be recognized that social media comments are on the record and instantly published and avail- able to the public and media. Everyone including Association and/or Team personnel, players, corporate partners and the media can review social media communications. You should conduct yourself in an appropriate and professional manner at all times. 
  4. Refrain from divulging confidential information of a personal or team related nature.
  5. Use your best judgment at all times – pause before posting. Once your comments are posted they can- not be retracted. Ultimately, you are solely responsible for your comments and they are published for the public record.

Social Media Violations

The following are examples of conduct through social media and networking mediums that are considered violations of the NMHA Social Media and Networking Policy and may be subject to disciplinary action by the Nepean Minor Hockey Association.

  1. Any statement deemed to be publicly critical of Association officials or detrimental to the welfare of a member, Team, the Association or an individual.
  2. Divulging confidential information that may include but is not limited to the following: any matter of a sensitive nature to a member Team, NMHA or any individual.
  3. Negative or derogatory comments about any member of the Team, NMHA, League staff, programs, stakeholders, players or any member of an opposing team.
  4. Any form of bullying, harassment or threats against players or officials.
  5. Photographs, video or comments promoting negative influences or criminal behavior.
  6. Online activity that contradicts the current policies of the NMHA. 
  7. Inappropriate, derogatory, racist, or sexist comments of any kind.
  8. Online activity that is meant to alarm other individuals or to misrepresent fact or truth.


The NMHA will investigate reported violation(s) of this policy. Failure to comply with this Code of Conduct may result in disciplinary action in accordance with the Discipline policy and guidelines of the NMHA. Such action may result in the member losing the privileges that come with membership in the NMHA, including the opportunity to participate in NMHA activities.


All members of NMHA should remember to use the same discretion with social media and networking as they do with other traditional forms of media.

NMHA members agree to adhere to all conditions set forth with in the Social Media Policy. It is understood that violating the guidelines set fourth within the policy will lead to appropriate disciplinary action against both parents and or child/player.