On Ice Helpers
Volunteering as an On-Ice Helper
Each year more and more players are interested in volunteering with our amateur hockey programs. Some of these volunteers are adolescents wanting to collect high school volunteer hours and/or are young adults looking to take on different roles in hockey. It has become evident in recent years that older minor hockey players as well as junior players are involved in practices with teams of lower divisions to assist and volunteer within their associations.
Given the role change of moving from player to volunteer helper, associations and leagues are faced with many questions. How old should they be? What equipment must they wear? What training do they require? Etc.
Team officials are to use sound judgment when selecting a young person as an on-ice helper. These decisions must be made from a developmental and supportive perspective. We want these “helpers” to provide assistance to other team officials while gaining knowledge and experience in a teaching type role. This is not designed as an opportunity for players to get extra ice time.
To provide guidance to our members while ensuring safe opportunities for our young “helpers”, please apply the following:
- An individual who volunteers within an association must be; a “registered” member of a minor hockey association, or a junior hockey league, or an on-ice official. This ensures that insurance coverage has been secured.
- The individuals may volunteer with a team during practices. He/she may only be a demonstrator/helper and is not to participate in any scrimmages as a player would.
- The individual must be at minimum one age division higher than the team they are volunteering with. He/she is not permitted to volunteer as an on-ice helper with a team at the same or higher division.
- The individual must wear as a minimum a CSA certified helmet and facial protection (as required by their level of hockey), a BNQ certified neck guard (as required by their level of hockey) as well as hockey gloves and skates. Although this is the Branch’s minimum requirement, the volunteer’s home association/league may mandate full gear.
- An individual who is not a registered team official and who is16 years of age or older is recommended to complete the Speak Out Program.