There’s a new dress code coming to hockey rinks across Manitoba this season.
“Hockey Canada’s Dressing Room Policy, which will be implemented for the 2023-24 season, was designed to enhance the safety of all participants through proper supervision and minimum attire requirements,” Hockey Canada said in a statement.
“All participants have the right to utilize the dressing room or appropriate and equivalent dressing environment based on their gender identity, religious beliefs, body image concerns, and/or other reasons related to their individual needs.”
The “minimum attire rule” requires that players be wearing a base layer in a dressing room when surrounded by at least one other person.
“I think it’s kinda silly. But some of us have been playing on the same for a while and I don’t know, we’re kinda used to seeing everyone like that but it won’t be hard to adjust to,” Reese Talbot, a hockey player and U-15 referee, told CTV News Winnipeg on Friday.
The policy, which applies to all minor hockey teams sanctioned by Hockey Canada and its member associations, recommends that players arrive at the arena wearing that base layer.
“I’m still on the fence about it but other guys I know some will blow up and some will just you know be completely on board with it,” Talbot explained.
Should a player arrive without it, they’re to get changed in a private area, such as a bathroom stall, before joining the rest of the team in the dressing room and putting on their equipment.
“Some kids that are shy and nervous probably very happy about this – and good them, you know what I mean. Other kids, some kids it doesn’t bother. But like you know, these are kids,” Dave Wiseman, a hockey parent, said.
Hockey Canada states it’s the responsibility of coaches and team staff to ensure players follow the policy.
Greg Gilhooly, a lawyer/author who was sexually abused by disgraced hockey coach Graham James – says he applauds Hockey Canada’s decision to put the policy in place.
“Look, we no longer live in a time of Lord of the Flies. This isn’t a bunch of guys naked in a room picking on the weakest or the worst body,” Gilhooly told CTV News Winnipeg.
Gilhooly says it also eliminates any argument over boys and girls playing on the same team.
“If locker rooms have no nudity. There’s no reason to separate girls from boys or people from whatever other gender they may identify as,” Gilhooly said.
However, he does understand there will likely be some backlash.
“Everyone thinks well, when I played hockey back in the day it was done this, what’s this newfangled stuff, this isn’t going to solve everything. No, it’s not going to solve everything, but it’s a step in the right direction.”
As part of the policy, Hockey Canada is also introducing a “rule of two,” requiring two trained and screened adults to be present in or directly outside (with an open door) the dressing room at once “to ensure it is free of any discrimination, harassment, bullying, or other forms of maltreatment.”
The new policy also outlines recommended best practices for the use of showers, where players must wear minimum attire in open-concept scenarios, such as swimwear. It also prohibits violent activities and videos, still photos or recordings of any kind in dressing environments.
Hockey Manitoba was unavailable to provide comment on the new dressing room policy.
Source : WINNIPEG