Wednesday, 15 May 2013 15:51

SHA social media policy a useful guide for minor hockey associations

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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The Saskatchewan Hockey Association (SHA) is trying to create a greater awareness of its social media policy among minor hockey associations.

Zone 3 Director Greg Haubrich, who represents southwest Saskatchewan on the SHA board, highlighted this policy during the Swift Current Minor Hockey Association (SCMHA) annual general meeting April 24.
“All the Saskatchewan Hockey Association wants to do is make the boards aware that things can happen, whether it’s a parent, whether it’s a player, whether it’s a coach, whether it’s a fan,” he said.
He emphasized the appropriate use of social media is an issue of relevance to all sports disciplines and not just hockey.
“We need to be cognizant of that and make sure that we’re mindful of our etiquette and everyone understands that you can’t just do things because once it’s out there it’s too late,” he said.
According to Haubrich, the SHA wants to ensure the issue is addressed proactively by talking to minor hockey associations.
“We’re not telling them what to do,” he noted. “We just want to make them aware.”
The SHA’s social media and networking policy addresses public communications through the internet and websites such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn. It applies to everyone involved with the SHA community, including directors, teams, SHA members and staff, officials on and off the ice, billets, players and their family members as well as supporters.
“It’s very fluid, it’s a work in progress and it’s going to keep changing with the technology,” he said. “We’re continuously working on a social media policy and it’s not just us. We talk to other organizations within the hockey world and outside the hockey world on what they’re doing so that we know what’s going on.”
The policy recognizes the value of social media and it respects the right of teams to express views publicly. Its purpose is therefore to highlight the potential risks. Any conduct considered to be inappropriate might result in disciplinary action by a team, hockey association, league or the SHA.
Various examples of inappropriate conduct are highlighted in the policy. It includes racist or sexist comments of any kind, derogatory comments about someone within the SHA community, inappropriate photographs or videos and any form of bullying, harassment or threats against players or officials.
Haubrich said social media is just one of the broad issues that minor hockey associations should be dealing with.
“We also want to make sure that we’re making the game fun and we want to keep working on development all the time,” he mentioned. “The other thing we’re trying to keep the associations aware of is: keep working on your young people as officials to volunteer to be a ref or a linesman.”

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