TO:   All Hockey NL Members

DATE:  January 5, 2024


In follow up to the communication from Minor Council to all associations, the movement of the handshake sportsmanship gesture to the pre-game time slot coinciding with Officials and Coaches has taken effect as of January 1st, 2024, for our U11 to U18 Minor Hockey groups. With this launch, all Association Presidents are asked to remind their coaches of this practice change.   

Game Officials have been directed to use discretion at the end of the game to either allow a blue-line stick salute or direct teams to their appropriate dressing room in accordance with the same practice utilized during first and second intermissions.  Any violations of the practice should be recorded on the game sheet and a copy sent to the Hockey NL Office following the game by the game Officials.

The data collected from any game sheet submitted by an Official shall be tracked and shared internally as part of the ongoing evaluation of the practice.

We recognize that this is a change in practice and there has been a great deal of discussion and debate on the issue. The decision was made with a view to reducing the risk and improving safety for all members while continuing to acknowledge the importance of sportsmanship in the game. The pre-game handshake and post-game stick salute are meant to ensure both goals can be accomplished. We welcome feedback on this practice change and look forward to reviewing the information garnered from this trial once it has been compiled at the end of the season. Working together, we can evaluate whether this trial has benefits for our members.

Thank you for your continued work and volunteering with hockey in Newfoundland and Labrador.