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article imageCoaches banned from touching players in girls hockey league

By Megan Woo     Feb 5, 2015 in Sports
Toronto - A Toronto girls hockey league has implemented a zero tolerance policy that bans coaches from touching benched players, even on the helmet.
According to the National Post, John Reynolds, the executive vice-president of the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association, sent coaches an email earlier this week regarding social media bans, electronic communication and how long men can be in the girls' locker room.
“On bench behaviour – under no circumstances should there be contact with the players, in any way,” Reynolds wrote.
“Putting hands on shoulders, slapping butts, tapping them on the helmet, NOTHING, this can make some of the girls uncomfortable and you won’t know which ones, so no contact, period.”
Leaside president Jennifer Smith said the email was sent out in response to a parent volunteer slapping a player's behind and squeezing their shoulders. Smith said the email was sent to remind everyone that the hockey association prohibits that kind of behavior.
However, Dr. Michael Ungar, a social work professor at Dalhousie University, believes the policy is doing more harm than good because it is denying them social development by banning appropriate contact.
Respect in Sport spokesperson Mark Allen says there are benefits to supportive touching, such as a pat on the back or a consoling gesture. "You may have a five or a six year old that comes off the ice and is holding back tears, so a touch on the shoulder or on the back, saying you ok? That’s an appropriate touch,” he said in an interview with Global News.
More about Hockey, girl's hockey, Canada, Ontario, Toronto
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