A significant portion of USA Hockey participation involves overnight travel for youth teams to games and tournaments. Minor players are most vulnerable to abuse or misconduct during travel, particularly overnight stays. This includes a greater risk of player to player misconduct. During travel, players may be away from their families and support networks, and the setting – unfamiliar locker rooms, automobiles, and hotel rooms – is less structured and less familiar. A travel policy provides guidelines so that care is taken to minimize one-onone interactions between minors and adults while traveling. Further, the policy directs how minor players will be supervised between and during travel to and from practice and competitions. Adherence to travel policies helps to reduce the opportunities for misconduct.
Each USA Hockey local program shall have a team travel policy applicable to youth teams that is published and provided to all players, parents, coaches and other adults that are travelling with the team. It is strongly recommended that a signature by each adult acknowledging receipt of and agreeing to the travel policy be obtained by the local program/team. Some travel involves only local travel to and from local practices, games and events, while other travel involves overnight stays. Different policies should apply to these two types of travel. A form with a sample local and overnight travel policy for a local program may be found at usahockey.com/safesport.
Elements of all travel policies must include:
• The local program, team and their administrators should avoid sponsoring, coordinating, or arranging for local travel, and the parents of a minor player should be responsible for making all local travel arrangements.
• The employees, coaches, and/or volunteers of a local program or team, who are not also acting as a parent, should not drive alone with an unrelated minor and should only drive with at least two other players or another adult at all times, unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the minor’s parent.
• Where an employee, coach and/or volunteer is involved in an unrelated minor player’s local travel, efforts should be made to ensure that the adult personnel are not alone with the unrelated player, by, for example, picking up or dropping off the players in groups.
• Employees, coaches and volunteers who are also a player’s parent or guardian may provide shared transportation for any player(s) if they pick up their player first and drop off their player last in any shared or carpool travel arrangement.
• It is recognized that in some limited instances it will be unavoidable for an employee, coach or volunteer of a local program or team to drive alone with an unrelated minor player. However, efforts should be made to minimize these occurrences and to mitigate any circumstances that could lead to allegations of abuse or misconduct.
• Regardless of gender, a coach shall not share a hotel room or other sleeping arrangement with a minor player (unless the coach is the parent, guardian or sibling of the player).
• Because of the greater distances, coaches, staff, volunteers, and chaperones will often travel with the players. No employee, coach, or volunteer will engage in team travel without the proper safety requirements in place and on record, including valid drivers’ licenses, automobile liability insurance as required by applicable state law, vehicle in safe working order and compliance with all state laws. All chaperones shall have been screened in compliance with the USA Hockey Screening Policy and all team drivers shall have been screened and the screen shall include a check of appropriate Department of Motor Vehicle records.
• The local program or team shall provide adequate supervision through coaches and other adult chaperones (for example, a recommended number would include at least one coach or adult chaperone for every five to eight players). If a team is composed of both male and female players, then it is recommended that chaperones are arranged of the same gender.
• Players should share rooms with other players of the same gender, with the appropriate number of players assigned per room depending on accommodations.
• Regular monitoring and curfew checks should be made of each room by at least two properly screened adults. All coaches, staff, volunteers and chaperones travelling with a team shall be familiar with the SafeSport Program Handbook to monitor compliance with all SafeSport Policies.
• The team personnel shall ask hotels to block adult pay per view channels.
• Individual meetings between a player and coach may not occur in hotel sleeping rooms.
• All players shall be permitted to make regular check in phone calls to parents. Team personnel shall allow for any unscheduled check in phone calls initiated by either the player or parents.
• Family members who wish to stay in the team hotel shall be permitted and encouraged to do so.
• The team shall make every effort to accommodate reasonable parental requests when a child is away from home without a parent.
• Specific travel itineraries will be distributed to parents when they are available and will include a detailed itinerary as well as contact information for all team personnel and chaperones.
• If disciplinary action against a player is required while the player is traveling without his/her parents, parents will be notified before any action is taken.
• No coach or chaperone shall at any time be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while performing their coaching and/or chaperoning duties.
• In all cases involving travel, parents have the right to transport their minor player and have the minor player stay in their hotel room.