The NAHL Department of Player safety was developed to create a safer environment for players, while also educating all team personnel about a safer on-ice environment and the implementation of greater respect for the well being of all players in the NAHL.
This program was announced as an addition to the already ongoing initiative that is in cooperation with the NAHL’s governing body, USA Hockey, to implement and enforce standards that focus on protecting the players and creating an enhanced standard of awareness among the players, coaches and administrators that are an essential part of the league’s core success.
NAHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld: “The NAHL continues to set standard in regards to player safety and the Department of Player Safety is yet another step to ensure that we are doing everything we can to provide a safe and competitive environment for our players. Our Code of Conduct and supplemental discipline structure has performed extremely well for many years and adding this additional Department of Player Safety element to it allows us to further enhance and educate our players on the consequences of potential dangerous actions.”
Heading up the NAHL Department of Player Safety is Mark Faucette, who was an on-ice official in the National Hockey League (NHL) for 17 seasons and officiated close to 1,000 NHL regular season and Stanley Cup Playoff games. Faucette is currently a Supervisor of Officials for the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program and will work alongside NAHL Coordinator of Officials, Chris Allman during the 2014-15 season.
NAHL Director of Player Safety Marc Faucette: “The NAHL is the premier league of its kind in its development of players and I am committed to making the playing surface as safe as possible, while keeping the intensity and passion in the game. It is my primary objective to ensure that we create a safe on ice environment, letting the players show their skills without the fear of being unprotected by injurious plays. We are dedicated to making the NAHL an even more respected league to play in and a safer league to play in.”
The NAHL Department of Player Safety places more responsibility on the player to recognize a potential dangerous situation that puts an opponent at risk of injury, with an increase in disciplinary action to the repeat offenders. It also focuses on dangerous, punishing and reckless play to determine the severity and surrounding circumstances, as well as the result to determine if disciplinary action is needed.
In addition, the Department of Player Safety educates team personnel with the safety videos, verbiage and interpretations and applications on rules and presents monthly videos to educate teams. These videos will show bad hits where players disregarded the well being of his opponent, as well as, good plays where the player showed respect to his opponent and made safety a priority. It also emphasizes the responsibility of teaching players the proper and safe way to body check an opponent, as well as respecting the well being of an opponent, to team management.
This overall initiative was developed with the understanding that the NAHL stakeholders, fans, players, coaches, officials and team operators are committed to creating a safe and fair environment in which the players can compete. It is also with the understanding that junior hockey is primarily an attendance-driven entertainment industry that must provide a product that allows for the passion and excitement that is at the heart of the game.