ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Amateur hockey games in Newfoundland and Labrador will no longer end with handshakes between the teams, according to a directive posted Thursday to a provincial hockey association’s website.
Hockey NL, the governing body for amateur hockey in the province, said it is ending post-game handshakes.
“We have had some issues with handshakes following games that have led to suspensions for players and coaches,” Gonzo Bennett, chair of Hockey NL’s minor council executive committee, wrote in the memo.
Officials will instead direct both teams to their dressing rooms at the conclusion of each game, the note said. Before matches begin, the visiting team will skate by the home team’s bench and offer a glove tap or handshake to wish their opponents a good game.
The mid-season memo is dated Wednesday and addressed to all minor hockey associations and leagues. An official with Hockey NL was not immediately available to answer questions.
The move comes as coach, parent and player conduct in amateur hockey is under increasing scrutiny. Last month, RCMP in Nova Scotia charged a coach for allegedly assaulting a referee during a game involving nine- and 10-year-old players. And amateur hockey associations across Canada have elected to put green armbands on teenage referees so parents and coaches think twice before hurling abuse at them.
In April, Kirsty Duncan, the Liberal member of Parliament for Etobicoke North and Canada’s former sports minister, called on the federal government to launch a national inquiry into sports culture. Her call echoed those of several former and current Canadian athletes, including soccer players Ciara McCormack and Andrea Neil, and Olympic boxer Myriam Da Silva Rondeau.