CAHA taking every precaution to keep youth hockey safe
The Colorado Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) is doing everything it can to keep people who shouldn’t be around children away from rinks and locker rooms filled with young hockey players.
Coaches and team managers listed on rosters must undergo a free background screening and complete SafeSport training produced by the United States Olympic Committee before they can participate in any team activity.
If either or both requirements aren’t completed, they are red-lined on their team’s roster.
A change made this year to have CAHA registrars Susan Cardasis and Anda Craven do the heavy lifting of making sure coaches and team managers complete their screening and SafeSport requirements has produced dramatic results.
But CAHA can’t do it all. It needs associations to be proactive in preventing child abuse by insuring that their volunteers undergo an inexpensive ($6-10) background screening and complete SafeSport training, which is provided free to everyone registered with USA Hockey.
The volunteers could be locker room monitors or drivers at tournaments.
“CAHA can’t check everyone,” Craven said. “Each association should understand that having everyone undergo a background screening and take SafeSport training protects the association.
“Plus, if something bad happens, it becomes not just an association issue, but a hockey issue. It impacts every association in the state.”
Starting Sept. 1, team managers must be listed on rosters. That’s not the case this season, but the numbers of coaches and managers who have fulfilled background screening and SafeSport requirements are still impressive.
During the 2015-16 season, there were 680 teams with 1,690 coaches, 367 managers and 291 volunteers on rosters. That added up to 2,348 potential background screenings “although that was only people registered with USA Hockey, so there were probably many volunteers who didn’t register,” Cardasis said.
There were 1,894 screenings in 2015-16. That means 490, or 19 percent, did not undergo a screening and were declared inactive.
So far this year, there are 560 teams. Cardasis expects the number of teams to grow by at least 50 through the addition of high school and spring teams.
There are 1,442 coaches, 345 managers and 381 volunteers on rosters, for a total of 2,168 individuals. Total screenings are 2,111, a difference of just 57, or only two percent.
Cardasis reviewed 362 of her 2016-17 teams for compliance and she found there were 15 coaches or managers without a background screening, 10 coaches or managers who hadn’t taken SafeSport training and six coaches or managers who did not have a background screening or SafeSport training.
Craven took a look at 150 of her 2016-17 teams.
When rosters were submitted this fall, 78 of 332 coaches did not have a background screening and 61 did not have SafeSport training. Those numbers now are 11 without a background screening and nine without SafeSport training.
Of the 43 team managers when rosters were submitted, 14 did not have a background screening and 10 did not have SafeSport training. Those numbers now are six without a background screening and four without SafeSport training.
Michelle Peterson is CAHA’s SafeSport coordinator. She’s an expert in child sexual abuse in sports who testifies in court and does forensic interviews with victims. She’s also a mother whose hockey-playing son had a coach who was convicted of child sexual exploitation.
“CAHA is way ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting children,” she said.
That includes having a SafeSport coordinator in each association.
Craven urges those who have questions or concerns about background screenings or SafeSport to contact their association’s SafeSport coordinator or president.
Peterson said there’s a good reason why CAHA requires a background screening and SafeSport training.
“Not every child abuser has been arrested and some have been known to have more than 150 victims before they were caught,” she said. “Having to do a background screening and SafeSport training may convince an offender not to get involved in youth hockey.”
Photo (top) – Krivo School of Hockey Elite’s Andrei Krivokrasov. Photo (right) – Rocky Mountain Lady RoughRiders’ Ron Comarre
— Steve Stein