In its report, the committee chaired by former National League goalkeeper Marc Denis outlines 190 possible solutions, the main purpose of which is to increase the number of hockey players in Quebec. The newspaper has collected several seven points that could change the face of hockey.
CREATION OF THREE NATIONALS IN QUEBEC
The commission proposes the creation of three national programs – one for players under the age of 18, one for players and one for para hockey athletes.
The latter noted that on the male side, 17-year-old players do not benefit from “optimal services in terms of an environment conducive to their development”. He wants at least 50 college-age players who do not play in the QMJHL to be identified. Paid follow-up and supervision would be offered.
Among them, 26 would form a team that would face clubs from the RSEQ (college D1) and LHJAAAQ. This would protect “50 more athletes per year from early exclusion at the highest level”.
For para hockey players and athletes, this measure would not be based on age, but would rather aim to bring together elite hockey players who are not part of the Canadian national teams.
ELEMENTARY SKATING LESSONS
The group recommends adding skating lessons in elementary schools as part of physical education classes. It is a measure inspired by what is done in Australia with swimming and in Norway with cross-country skiing, explains Marc Denis.
But for this, the report notes, it will be necessary to ensure that schools have access to infrastructure and facilities for skating.
It is therefore also proposed to create a program for the construction of covered and refrigerated ice rinks in countries and countries that do not have enough ice for the practice of skating and hockey.
A QUEBEC UNIVERSITY LEAGUE
Marc Denis and his team note that after the U18 level, the training of the players is “inappropriate”. They also believe that there are not enough college hockey programs in Quebec, for both women and men.
Of the 35 college hockey teams in Canada, three are from Quebec. This number rises to four out of 35 among women.
The committee therefore proposes to financially support the creation of men’s (division 1 and division 2) and women’s university leagues. It also proposes that scholarships be awarded to players who continue their studies at one of these universities, in order to curb the exodus to other provinces or to the United States.
ELIMINATE FIGHTING AND PROTECT REFEREES
The group wants a security department and officials set up in Hockey Quebec to enforce binding penalties on hockey players who fight, with the goal of eradicating fighting.
The committee also wants to improve the safety of officials and condemns “the level of violence and abuse in the arenas” in Quebec.
To counter these, he recommends placing cameras in all arenas, which would reduce the number of offenses and record them as evidence.
It also proposes the dissemination of national campaigns that promote sportsmanship and respect for referees.
NO MORE STATISTICS OR RANKINGS BEFORE THE AGE OF 13
The commission recommends the elimination of statistics and rankings for hockey players under 13 (M13 minor), in order to favor the pleasure of the game, there is also talk of eliminating the championships for under 11, with the exception of girls , and to replace them with regional celebrations that would not crown champions. “Nice to meet you, we have to take it seriously. In a sport where specialization is appropriate for adolescence, it is important to refocus expectations, “says Marc Denis.
The report also proposes to simplify play and training times for young hockey players, as well as reduce travel distances.
“We have to change the competitive mode at a young age,” adds Denis. The number of significant competitions needs to be radically revised. Are we promoting fun when a 9-year-old is called at 8:30 pm on a Saturday night for curfew, has to drive two hours on Sunday, and wears a tie when he arrives at the arena for a regular season game? ”
TAX CREDITS FOR EQUIPMENT AND REGISTRATION
The report proposes measures to alleviate the financial burden on parents, many of whom deplore the high cost of playing hockey. These are tax credits and measures to reduce the costs of registering, transporting or purchasing equipment.
The committee also wants partnerships with equipment suppliers and manufacturers, as well as the implementation of programs for the recovery and reallocation of used equipment.
During the presentation of the report, Minister Isabelle Charest recalled this
“there are already fiscal measures for children who play sports”, but that would take the time to analyze the situation.
“Financial accessibility is an obstacle to playing sport, but especially hockey, which is very expensive,” he admitted.
It is also proposed to avoid hockey players under the age of 13 having to travel outside their region, which would reduce the costs associated with travel for parents.
FAIR RESOURCES FOR MALE AND FEMALE HOCKEY
Archive photo, Didier Debusschere
Marie-Philip Poulin and Ann-Renee Desbiens
The committee regrets that there are few women’s hockey teams and few opportunities for girls to play together at a young age.
The report also states that Quebec is the only province in which the number of female players has not increased in 12 years, despite the successes of the Canadian team on the Olympic scene and the presence of a star like striker Marie-Philip Poulin.
The task force offers many recommendations on this topic, including “ensuring that the resources dedicated to women’s and men’s hockey are fair”.
“Training hours, ice time, number of workouts per week and external resources must be fair for both of us,” the report reads.
Photo QMI Agency, Marcel Tremblay
Marc Denis chaired the work of the Quebec committee on hockey development.
Marco Denis | President
Former NHL goalkeeper and Canadian games analyst at RDS
Director of Hockey Operations at RSEQ and expert arbitration commentator at TVA Sports
Former coach, columnist and media analyst
Sports animator, journalist and director
General Manager of the M18 AAA League
Former NHL player, columnist, TVA Sports analyst and co-host of the show The blue pocket
Assistant to the Commissioner of the QMJHL
Physical educator as a training, baseball, basketball and hockey coach, former technical director of Baseball Québec and former sports adviser emeritus to the Québec government
Former Canadian women’s hockey forward and coach
Executive Director of the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation
Former NHL Defender and Senior Vice President of the NHL Player Safety Department
Hockey school coordinator for RSEQ and consultant for the CAA professional players agency
Former coach and general manager of the Canadian women’s hockey team
Kim St Pierre
Former Canadian women’s hockey goalie, RDS analyst and speaker
Former NHL goalkeeper, general manager of Hockey Quebec and co-owner of Sherbrooke Phoenix in the QMJHL.