Travel to games and tournaments is a significant part of participation in any youth sport. While USA Hockey requires that all local programs have a travel policy that is published and provided to all players, parents, coaches, and other adults traveling with the team, many other sports and leagues may not employ these same precautions for off-ice safety.
Travel to and from sporting events can place players in potential situations for abuse and misconduct - particularly during overnight stays. Parents and coaches should be aware of these risks at all times and put in place policies and guidelines for local travel as well as out of town events.
Here are 10 travel tips, based on USA Hockey’s SafeSport policy, that can make your spring and summer sports more safe and enjoyable.
1. Make parents responsible for travel and lodging arrangements if possible.
2. Non-parent drivers shall not be alone at any time with an unrelated minor. Drop offs and pick-ups should be coordinated in groups.
3. Anyone providing team travel assistance should be screened and possess valid driver's licenses and insurance.
4. Adequate adult chaperone supervision should be provided at all times (recommend one adult per five to eight players). Room monitoring and curfew checks should be made by at least two screened adults.
5. Pay per view channels should be blocked in players’ rooms.
6. No individual meetings shall take place in players’ rooms.
7. Players shall be allowed to make “check in” calls to their parents.
8. Travel itineraries including a list of all adult personnel and contact information shall be provided to parents.
9. Regardless of gender, a coach shall not share a room with a single player unless the coach is a parent or guardian.
10. No coach or chaperone shall be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while performing their chaperone/coaching duties.
The bulk of these recommendations are common sense, but by being aware of, and enforcing these simple travel rules, we can take a giant step towards limiting any occurrences of abuse during a time when our young athletes face potential risks.
Minnesota Hockey an affiliate of USA Hockey, is the governing body of youth and amateur hockey in Minnesota and the premier developer of hockey players in the state.