Conflict Resolution & Complaint Process (St. Marys Minor Hockey)

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Conflict Resolution

The hockey environment can be quite emotional in both a positive and negative sense. As a spectator at a hockey game or practice, it is common for individuals to pass judgment and opinion on the situation at hand and/or the hockey program. At times, these judgments and opinions may be accurate or inaccurate. When these views evolve into a dispute, it is highly advisable to address the matter at the earliest opportunity and informally, if possible.

Our Conflict Resolution Policy, section 18 of the SMMHA P&P Manual (click link to download), identifies the procedure to be followed when conflict arises in the environment of the SMMHA hockey program and applies to conflict arising within a SMMHA team, between SMMHA teams, and between SMMHA teams and teams from other minor hockey centres.

For conflict involving governing officials of SMMHA, members and participants are directed to our Discipline Policy, section 16 of the SMMHA P&P Manual (click link to download).

Click on the image below to download a useful flowchart diagram illustrating the SMMHA Conflict Resolution, Discipline & Appeals processes:



SMMHA's purpose is to allow for the development of a hockey player at the highest level of competition and the caliber most suited to the individual hockey player's needs, abilities and desires. To instil in players certain ideals to play fairly under all circumstances and conditions, to give opponents a fair chance, to win modestly and receive defeat with a smile; to give credit to the team that wins and not to question the referee's decision. To develop hockey skills in an atmosphere of good sportsmanship and fair play. However, in any association, issues do arise from time to time. This process is meant to fairly address those issues in order to ensure a fair, open and fun environment for players, their families and our volunteers.

Points of Note:

  • SMMHA is run by volunteers that selflessly give up their time to support our minor hockey program. There is NO justification at any point for acting belligerently toward those individuals regardless of the circumstance. Incidents of inappropriate behaviour or statements, including on social media, toward the volunteers of SMMHA will be dealt with in a zero tolerance up to including the removal of the player and his/her family from SMMHA.
  • SMMHA will, at all times, comply with requests from legal authorities to provide any and all information gathered under this process. If the incident involves a potential criminal code violation then the police should be contacted immediately.
  • SMMHA will always attempt to have an issue resolved within the team. Using this form to escalate an issue for resolution should be viewed as a final step in any resolution process.
  • Recurring issues with the same parties or team may face increasing sanctions. Moreover, nuisance complaints filed without justification may result in sanctions against the complainant.
  • All teams are required to have a Parent Rep. Parent Reps are to be fairly selected at the start of the season and introduced at the team parent meeting.
  • Members of the coaching staff should not be approached with an issue less than 24 hours after an incident. Coaches are entirely within their right to reject hearing a complaint within that time frame. The Parent Rep is the sole person that may contact the coach within the 24 hour period if they determine it is necessary.
  • With few if any exceptions, issues that have not been actioned by the Parent Rep and, where required, discussed with the coach will be referred back to the team without further action by SMMHA. If there is an issue with the manner in which the Parent Rep handled a complaint then the person is encouraged to contact the Coaches Committee Division Rep. However, if the Parent Rep took all reasonable steps to address the complaint and found that further action was unwarranted then SMMHA will not likely intervene.


This process is designed to formalize the steps that all parties are required to take when dealing with an issue. To ensure consistency and fairness, deviations from this process will not be accepted.

A Parent/Player that wishes to log a complaint about a coach or other person should observe the following:
  • The person with the complaint should clearly document the specific details surrounding the issue including dates, names, location, bystanders, and actions.
  • The complainant is expected to first raise the issue with the established Parent Rep for the team.
  • All parties should wait 24 hours after the incident takes place but, if they feel strongly, they are permitted to contact the Parent Rep at any time. The Parent Rep will use their discretion in terms of how to proceed.
  • Once the form is submitted, it will be reviewed for completeness. An incomplete form, for example, lack of specific details regarding an incident, will cause the complaint to be returned without action until further details are provided.
  • If resolution is not readily available, a meeting may be called. If warranted, the President will escalate the complaint to the Disciplinary Committee. This final escalation is a serious step. Once escalated to the Disciplinary Committee, they are granted full discretion and authority to deal with the matter as they feel appropriate and they are empowered to take whatever steps are necessary to come to an appropriate resolution. In the absence of mitigating circumstances, SMMHA will normally accept their recommendation as final.
  • In the extreme event whereby a very serious problem directly or immediately threatens the ongoing safety of a player or the continued viability of the Association then the President of SMMHA will be notified and he/she has the unilateral authority to take immediate action to nullify that threat regardless of this process.

Issues that will NOT be considered under this process:

This process is meant for serious complaints such as negligent endangerment, player safety, or other egregious behaviour serious enough to bring into question as to the ability of an individual to continue to be a part of the team. Below is a list of some of the complaints that may be referred back to the team.
  • Parental Ice Time frustrations do not warrant a Formal Complaint and any parental submissions that relate fundamentally to ice time will be dismissed without action. When a parent has an issue with the ice time their child is receiving then they are to contact the Parent Rep for discussion and resolution. If the Parent Rep feels that the coach is contravening the ice time policies of SMMHA then they may lodge a complaint against the coach in that circumstance.
  • This form is NOT meant for simple disagreements or personal conflicts between individuals. Baseless complaints filed with the sheer intent of besmirching a coach or other individual may result in sanctions against the complainant.
  • Submissions that lack specific details about an alleged incident will not be actioned until all details from both sides are assembled.
  • Complaints will only be accepted using a fully completed Complaint Form obtained from the SMMHA website. Unsolicited emails or other contacts to SMMHA members will be summarily dismissed. Forms lacking details will not be actioned.
  • Anonymous complaint forms will be immediately disregarded unless the incident appears to have legitimacy and a violation of our code of conduct.
  • Complaints against referees using this form will be rejected. Referee assignment is not the responsibility of SMMHA.