Minimum Attire Regulations evolve in a marked manner

03:00 PM EST
min - read
Sam Scouller
03:00 PM EST
min - read

Rule made to promote inclusivity

On September 12th, Hockey Canada implemented an update to their minor league rule book with the new ‘minimum attire’ rule.

The new rule states that a base layer of clothing has to be worn at all times in dressing rooms. This applies to all players from the youngest age group up to, and including, the under-18s division.

Hockey Canada has also encouraged a base-layer, including swimwear, to be worn in open plan showers. 

Anyone who has to change in or out of their base layers must now do so in a private location, such as an empty room or a bathroom stall, before joining the rest of the team in the locker room.

Hockey Canada broke down the definition of a base layer as including shorts, t-shirts, compression wear or a sports bra.

The update also included the new “Rule of two” which requires two trained adults to be present in the locker room. The rule is intended to “ensure [the locker room] is free of any discrimination, harassment, bullying, or other forms of maltreatment."

"All participants have the right to utilize the dressing room or appropriate and equivalent dressing environment based on their gender identity, religious beliefs, body image concerns, and/or other reasons related to their individual needs.

“The rule was designed to enhance the safety of all participants through proper supervision and minimum attire requirements,” Hockey Canada stated. 

They also said that the rule “aims to create safe, inclusive and equitable dressing room environments for players, coaches, staff and volunteers.”

Organisations across the country have voiced their support for the rule and praised Hockey Canada on their extensive efforts to make everyone feel welcome in the sport.

President of the Halifax Hawks minor hockey, Craig Robinson praised the new rule as he said: “This isn’t just about gender, it’s about everyone being comfortable.” Robinson also responded to hygiene concerns raised by parents over the sweat and odour that the base layer would carry from locker rooms, stating that it’s just a small price to pay for inclusivity in hockey.

However, some are reacting to the new adjustment with puzzlement. Wes Ewer, President of the Amherstburg Minor Hockey association (AMHA), said: “A blanket rule is important and it stresses inclusivity which is super important. But I think it definitely needs to be looked at as far as rollout on a case-by-case basis.”

Hockey Calgary has officially stated that the rules are somewhat ambiguous which has allegedly created some internal frustration.

Canadian Academic, Author and former-Athlete, Bruce Kidd says the new rule “came as a surprise” to him. Kidd questioned why Hockey Canada felt like this was a necessary rule change as he asked: “Did you conduct a study? Did you consult anyone? Did you look at whether any other jurisdictions are doing this?” 

Kidd wasn’t the only one surprised. Sociology professor at St Thomas University, Kristi Allain, said: “I think we have to ask serious questions about ‘why?’”

She added: “I think we have to wonder if this is just a distraction from some of the really actual hard, hard changes that are required to make hockey a safe place for women, LGBTQ people and racialized folks.”

Allain also explained her experiences with concerns around inclusivity in hockey but stated that the minimum attire rule won’t help. 

She said: “There are lots of complaints about hockey and its lack of inclusion. Hockey Canada needs to be making true efforts to increase diversity in the game, to be an inclusive game and to be a sport that’s not linked to violence. There are lots of places where they need to make changes Every day, we hear stories about how hockey is failing. 

“I’m surprised that this is the issue they’re going to tackle first and I’d like to know what precipitated this.”

breaking news