Never Play without a Safety Net: Why USAH Sanctioned Tournaments Matter

As parents, we can’t assume our children’s best interests are accounted for when their coach or team manager signs them up for a tournament. In fact, when it comes to these weekend competitions, we may be missing the largest safety net out there. Understanding why USA Hockey/USAH sanctioned tournaments matter is the first step in ensuring your child’s well being—and your peace of mind.

All tournaments are not created equal

Most youth hockey tournaments tout that they are a high quality event. They provide competitive play for all ages and skill levels. And they promise a memorable experience. But what kind of screening and safety education have the participating coaches and officials undergone? What protocols are in place in case of an injury? Are medical or dental accidents covered?

At a USAH sanctioned tournament:

  • Safety is top priority both on and off the ice including a commitment to concussion awareness and education
  • Background screening and completed SafeSport training are required for all adults with access to youth players
  • All coaches are certified and have taken educational modules pertinent to the age of players they’re coaching
  • All officials are certified to ensure appropriate knowledge of rules and understanding of USA Hockey’s focus on the standard of play
  • Includes a world-class insurance program to provide assistance if the need arises

(Source: 2018-19 USAH Membership Benefits)

Is my child covered as a USAH member?

Members of USAH including officially registered players, referees, and coaches participating in a sanctioned tournament are entitled to accident, general liability, and catastrophic insurance coverage. However, it’s not enough to be a USAH member. The tournament itself needs to be sanctioned for families to be covered should your child experience an accident or injury.

Fair game and safety first

Under Official USA Hockey Playing Rules, there’s a standard of fairness and consistency for all participants to uphold. This safeguards that all safety standards are being met and ultimately protects your child. USAH’s concussion education and protocol alone is why most clubs prefer playing in tournaments governed under USA Hockey. And there are plenty to choose from. Hundreds of USAH sanctioned tournaments are held every year in North America, one of the largest being Silver Stick.

Bottom line, when it comes to your child’s tournament experience and overall safety, never play without a safety net.