USA Field Hockey Weekly Report

Nov. 19, 2013, 4:11 p.m. (ET)

Seemingly we have talked about Safe Sport for weeks and now it is being launched.  This program is designed to provide safe environments for all athletes who play hockey and all others involved in sport. While that statement sounds broad, the implementation of the program is profoundly difficult and potentially impactful to us all. It now becomes incumbent for those around children to understand what is acceptable or not acceptable in providing safe environments. To demonstrate the complexity of putting this together, through this link is found the newly approved (by the USA Field Hockey Board of Directors) Safe Sport handbook. The handbook is a handful, but contains vital information describing the program and describing what is and is not accepted behavior.  It is well worth the time to explore the site and the handbook's many parts. While there is a lot of information to absorb, it is information designed to protect athletes and provide parents with the confidence their children are in a safe sport environment.. The handbook is derived from a template as provided by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). All sports under the aegis of the USOC are mandated to have a Safe Sport program in place by year’s end.  It is important to note that the handbook contains mandatory USA Field Hockey policies regarding sexual misconduct, physical misconduct, emotional abuse, bullying, harassment and hazing.  There is also a mandatory reporting policy for all USA Field Hockey members and mandatory educational requirements that must be fulfilled by officials and coaches. 

This piece within the weekly report will be the first of many articles in our various media offerings describing the program and providing educational elements so our constituencies fully understand the mission of Safe Sport. While it does deal with the underbelly of sport, it is absolutely the right thing to do in the implementation of this protective program. The Safe Sport program will be officially launched the first week in December.  Please contact Emily Thomas ( with any thoughts, comments or suggestions that you may have as we implement the Safe Sport program. 

As we approach USA Field Hockey’s Hockey Festival to be staged in Palm Beach County, Fla. over this upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday timeframe, I thought it interesting to revisit the topic of umpiring again. The umpiring segment of our total group is one of the fundamental constituencies of this sport…..or any sport for that matter. Without umpires, there is no game. This link will take you to an interesting opinion which opines from a secret umpire: “The lowly volunteer (i.e. umpire) is fair game, but what if the tables were turned and players berated for lack of skill?” The article is found in the United Kingdom’s Telegraph newspaper and is a bit tongue-in-cheek. But, on the serious side, there really is no point in berating of umpires. Our umpires are paid a small stipend, but enough to at least break-even in traveling to and participating in our events; and are truly a passionate group legitimately giving back to the sport. I hope we can carry that proposition top of mind as we enter competition at Festival. Good luck to all the teams involved, and a big thank you to the 122 umpires who will be working tirelessly for all of us.

Thanks to Cris Maloney for finding the article and providing the link.

If you’ll be in Norfolk, Va. this week for the NFHCA Convention and NCAA Final Four, please stop by USA Field Hockey booth in the exhibitors hall to talk all things Sport Development. Members of USA Field Hockey will be available to answer questions on programs and sign interested programs up for FUNdamental Field Hockey. You can also visit with them in National Hockey Festival, where the staff will also be putting on clinics and seminars for boys, adults, and umpires. For more information, contact

Last call to purchase tickets to our Team USA Retirement and Alumni Celebration:  Today is the final day to reserve your tickets for the Retirement and Alumni Celebration in Norfolk, Va. on Saturday, November 23rd. It will be a great evening to celebrate our retirees and alumni for their devotion to Team USA.  The event is open to the public and we hope to see you there!  Reserve your tickets today! 

Late night with Jimmy Fallon: “I just heard that the Kellogg’s cereal company is cutting 7 percent of its workforce because of low revenue. Or as one guy put it, “Not Grrreeat!”

Have a great week! 

Steven Locke
Executive Director
USA Field Hockey