Locker Room Policy
In addition to the development of our hockey players and enjoyment of the sport of hockey, the safety and protection of our participants is central to the Wilmington Nighthawks’ goals. The Wilmington Nighthawks adhere to USA Hockey’s SafeSport Program as a means to help protect its participants from physical abuse, sexual abuse and other types of misconduct, including emotional abuse, bullying, threats, harassment and hazing. To help prevent abuse or misconduct from occurring in our locker rooms, Wilmington Nighthawks has adopted the following locker room policy. This policy is designed to maintain personal privacy as well as to reduce the risk of misconduct in locker rooms.
Most of the Mites home games are played at Ice Works (3100 Duttons Mill Rd, Aston, PA 19014). At Ice Works, there are four separate rinks, each rink has at least one locker room available for our program’s use. Each of the locker rooms has its own restroom [and shower area].
Most of the Squirts and Middle School home games are played at the Skating Club of Wilmington (1301 Carruthers Ln, Wilmington, DE 19803). At the Skating Club of Wilmington, there is at least one locker room available for our program’s use. Each of the locker room shares a restroom [and shower area] with one or more locker rooms.
Some teams in our program may also occasionally or regularly travel to play games at other arenas, and those locker rooms, rest rooms and shower facilities will vary from location to location. Wilmington Nighthawks’ team organizers will attempt to provide information on the locker room facilities in advance of games away from our home arena. At arenas for which you are unfamiliar, parents should plan to have extra time and some flexibility in making arrangements for their child to dress, undress and shower if desired.
Locker Room Monitoring
Wilmington Nighthawks have predictable and limited use of locker rooms and changing areas (e.g., generally 30-45 minutes before and following practices and games). This allows for direct and regular monitoring of locker room areas. While constant monitoring inside of locker rooms and changing areas might be the most effective way to prevent problems, we understand that this would likely make some players uncomfortable and may even place our staff at risk for unwarranted suspicion.
We conduct a sweep of the locker rooms and changing areas before players arrive, and if the coaches are not inside the locker rooms, either a coach or voluntary locker room monitors (each of which has been screened) will be posted directly outside of the locker rooms and changing areas during periods of use, and leave the doors open only when adequate privacy is still possible, so that only participants (coaches and players), approved team personnel and family members are permitted in the locker room. Team personnel will also secure the locker room appropriately during times when the team is on the ice.
Parents in Locker Rooms
Except for players at the younger age groups, we discourage parents from entering locker rooms unless it is truly necessary. If a player needs assistance with his or her uniform or gear, if the player is or may be injured, or a player’s disability warrants assistance, then we ask that parents let the coach know beforehand that he or she will be helping the player.
Naturally, with our youngest age groups it is necessary for parents to assist the players getting dressed. We encourage parents to teach their players as young as possible how to get dressed so that players will learn as early as possible how to get dressed independently. In circumstances where parents are permitted in the locker room, coaches are permitted to ask that the parents leave for a short time before the game and for a short time after the game so that the coaches may address the players. As players get older, the coach may in his or her discretion prohibit parents from a locker room.
Cell Phones, Camera and Other Mobile Recording Devices
Cell phones and other mobile devices with recording capabilities, including voice recording, still cameras and video cameras, are not permitted to be used in the locker rooms. Any pictures have to be taken outside. The reason for this is to prevent any accidental pictures of any half-dressed players in the background that could result in embarrassment. If phones or other mobile devices must be used, they should be taken outside of the locker room. It may be permissible to have team manager collect phones.
Prohibited Conduct and Reporting
Wilmington Nighthawks prohibit all types of physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, bullying, threats, harassment and hazing, all as described in the USA Hockey SafeSport Handbook. Participants, employees or volunteers of the Wilmington Nighthawks may be subject to disciplinary action for violation of these locker room policies or for engaging in any misconduct or abuse or that violates the USA Hockey SafeSport Policies. Reports of any actual or suspected violations may be reported to your team manager or coach, or to the Wilmington Nighthawks at WilmNighthawks@gmail.com. You may also email USA Hockey at or call 1-800-888-4656.
Co-ed Locker Rooms
The Co-ed Locker Room policy attempts to balance the social integration and camaraderie of a team sport while providing a safe and respectful environment for all of our participants.
Co-ed Locker Rooms (Option 1)
Some of our teams consist of both male and female players. It is important that the privacy rights of all of our players are given consideration and appropriate arrangements made. Where possible, Wilmington Nighthawks will have the male and female players dress/undress in separate locker rooms and then convene in a single locker room before the game or team meeting. Once the game or practice is finished, the players may come to one locker room for a team meeting and then the male and female players proceed to their separate locker rooms to undress and shower, if available. If separate locker rooms are not available, then the players will take turns using the locker room to change. We understand that these arrangements may require that players arrive earlier or leave later to dress, but believe that this is the most reasonable way to accommodate and respect all of our players.
Co-ed Locker Rooms (Option 2)
All players are be required to arrive at the rink wearing their hockey base layers or shorts and t-shirts (in good condition - no holes or tears in clothing) under their street clothes. All members of the team must have this minimum attire before entering a co-ed locker room so that no player of one gender has the opportunity to see players of the opposite gender in a state of dress/undress.
Please note that with Co-ed programs, it is important that the person(s) monitoring the locker room is of the same gender as the players being monitored. USA Hockey would consider it acceptable to have one (1) locker room monitor immediately outside the locker room and regularly checking in on the locker room. If there are two (2) monitors, then they can monitor from inside the locker room. Having only one person inside a locker room can expose that person to allegations, so a second person can help protect one another from allegations.
The Wilmington Nighthawks has some teams that travel regularly to play individual games, two or three games at a time, or in tournaments; has some teams where travel is limited to only a few events per year; and some teams where there is no travel other than local travel to and from our own arena. The Wilmington Nighthawks has established policies to guide our travel, minimize one-on-one interactions and reduce the risk of abuse or misconduct. Adherence to these travel guidelines will increase player safety and improve the player’s experience while keeping travel a fun and enjoyable experience. We distinguish between travel to training, practice and local games or practices (“local travel”), and team travel involving a coordinated overnight stay (“team travel”).
Local travel occurs when the Nighthawks or one of its teams does not sponsor, coordinate, or arrange for travel.
Players and/or their parents/guardians are responsible for making all arrangements for local travel. The team and its coaches, managers or administrators should avoid responsibility for arranging or coordinating local travel. It is the responsibility of the parents/guardians to ensure the person transporting the minor player maintains the proper safety and legal requirements, including, but not limited to, a valid driver’s license, automobile liability insurance, a vehicle in safe working order, and compliance with applicable state laws.
The employees, coaches, and/or volunteers of the Wilmington Nighthawks or one of its teams, who are not also acting as a parent, should not drive alone with an unrelated minor player and should only drive with at least two players or another adult at all times, unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the minor player’s parent.
Where an employee, coach and/or volunteer is involved in an unrelated minor player’s local travel, efforts should be made to ensure that the adult personnel are not alone with the unrelated player, by, e.g., picking up or dropping off the players in groups. In any case where an employee, coach and/or volunteer is involved in the player’s local travel, a parental release should be obtained in advance.
Employees, coaches, and volunteers who are also a player’s parent or guardian may provide shared transportation for any player(s) if they pick up their player first and drop off their player last in any shared or carpool travel arrangement.
It is recognized that in some limited instances it will be unavoidable for an employee, coach or volunteer of the Wilmington Nighthawks or one of its teams to drive alone with an unrelated minor player. However, efforts should be made to minimize these occurrences and to mitigate any circumstances that could lead to allegations of abuse or misconduct.
Team travel is overnight travel that occurs when the Wilmington Nighthawks or one of its teams sponsors, coordinates or arranges for travel so that our teams can compete locally, regionally, nationally or internationally. Because of the greater distances, coaches, staff, volunteers and chaperones will often travel with the players.
When possible, the Nighthawks will provide reasonable advance notice before team travel. Travel notice will also include designated team hotels for overnight stays as well as a contact person within the Nighthawks or the team. This individual will be the point of contact to confirm your intention to travel and to help with travel details.
The Wilmington Nighthawks will post specific travel itineraries when they become available. These will include a more detailed schedule as well as contact information for team travel chaperones. The Nighthawks will make efforts to provide adequate supervision through coaches and other adult chaperones. The Nighthawks will make efforts so that there is at least one coach or adult chaperone for each five to eight players. If a team is composed of both male and female players, then we will attempt to arrange chaperones of the both genders. However, we rely on parents to serve as chaperones and may be limited in providing this match.
Regardless of gender, a coach shall not share a hotel room or other sleeping arrangement with a minor player (unless the coach is the parent, guardian or sibling of the player).
Because of the greater distances, coaches, staff, volunteers, and chaperones will often travel with the players. No employee, coach, or volunteer will engage in team travel without the proper safety requirements in place and on record, including valid drivers’ licenses, automobile liability insurance as required by applicable state law, a vehicle in safe working order, and compliance with all state laws. All chaperones shall have been screened in compliance with the USA Hockey Screening Policy and all team drivers shall have been screened and the screen shall include a check of appropriate Department of Motor Vehicle records. A parent that has not been screened may participate in team activities and assist with supervision/monitoring of the players, but will not be permitted to have any one-on-one interactions with players.
Players should share rooms with other players of the same gender, with the appropriate number of players assigned per room depending on accommodations.
The coach will establish a curfew by when all players must be in their hotel rooms or in a supervised location. Regular monitoring and curfew checks will be made of each room by at least two properly screened adults.
The team personnel shall ask hotels to block adult pay per view channels.
Individual meetings between a player and coach may not occur in hotel sleeping rooms and must be held in public settings or with additional adults present.
All players will be permitted to make regular check-in phone calls to parents. Team personnel shall allow for any unscheduled check in phone calls initiated by either the player or parents.
Family members who wish to stay in the team hotel are permitted and encouraged to do so.
The team will make every effort to accommodate reasonable parental requests when a child is away from home without a parent. If any special arrangements are necessary for your child, please contact the team personnel who can either make or assist with making those arrangements.
Meetings do not occur in hotel rooms, but the team may reserve a separate space for adults and athletes to socialize.
If disciplinary action against a player is required while the player is traveling without his/her parents, then except where immediate action is necessary, parents will be notified before any action is taken or immediately after the action.
No coach or chaperone shall at any time be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while performing their coaching and/or chaperoning duties.
In all cases involving travel, parents have the right to transport their minor player and have the minor player stay in their hotel room.
During team travel, coaches, team personnel and chaperones will help players, fellow coaches and team personnel adhere to policy guidelines, including, without limitation, the Travel Policy, Locker Room Policy and Reporting Policy.
Prior to any travel, coaches will endeavor to make players and parents aware of all expectations and rules. Coaches will also support chaperones and/or participate in the monitoring of the players for adherence to curfew restrictions and other travel rules.
Prohibited Conduct and Reporting
The Wilmington Nighthawks prohibits all types of physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, bullying, threats, harassment and hazing, all as described in the USA Hockey SafeSport Handbook. Participants, employees or volunteers in the Nighthawks may be subject to disciplinary action for violation of the Travel Policies or for engaging in any misconduct or abuse or that violates the USA Hockey SafeSport Policies. Reports of any actual or suspected violations, may be emailed to USA Hockey at or by phone at 800-888-4656.
The Wilmington Nighthawks adhere to the SafeSport guidelines developed USA Hockey. All coaches, team managers and other key volunteers are required to take SafeSport training.
For more information, please see the SafeSport section of the USA Hockey website here.
From the USA Hockey website:
The safety of its participants is of paramount importance to USA Hockey. USA Hockey SafeSport is the organization's program related to off-ice safety.
USA Hockey has long had systems in place to protect its participants from physical abuse, sexual abuse and other types of abuse and misconduct that can be harmful to youth hockey players and other participants. These include without limitation Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Screening, Locker Room Supervision and Hazing Policies, in addition to Codes of Conduct applicable to administrators, coaches, officials, parents, players and spectators. The USA Hockey SafeSport Handbook is intended to update and collect USA Hockey’s various policies to protect its participants from all types of misconduct and abuse.
Player Code of Conduct
The Wilmington Nighthawks have adopted the Participant Code of Conduct developed by USA Hockey. This form must be signed by the player prior to participation in any Nighthawks events. There is no expiration for the Code of Conduct.
USA HOCKEY PARTICIPANT CODE OF CONDUCT
1. No swearing or abusive language on the bench, in the rink, or at any team function.
2. No lashing out at any official no matter what the call is. The coaching staff will handle all matters pertaining to officiating.
3. Anyone who receives a penalty will skate directly to the penalty box.
4. Fighting will not be tolerated. Fighting will result in an appearance before a Discipline Committee.
5. There will be no drinking, smoking, chewing of tobacco or use of illegal substance at any team function.
6. I will conduct myself in a befitting manner at all facilities (ice rink, hotel, restaurant, etc) during all team functions.
7. Any player or team official who cannot abide by these rules or violates them will be subject to further disciplinary action.
Parent and Spectator Code of Conduct
The Wilmington Nighthawks have adopted the Parent and Spectator Codes of Conduct developed by USA Hockey. These principles must be adhered to at all times.
Parent's Code of Conduct
Do not force your children to participate in sports, but support their desires to play their chosen sports. Children are involved in organized sports for their enjoyment. Make it fun.
Encourage your child to play by the rules. Remember, children learn best by example, so applaud the good plays of both teams.
Do not embarrass your child by yelling at players, coaches or officials. By showing a positive attitude toward the game and all of its participants, your child will benefit.
Emphasize skill development and practices and how they benefit your young athlete. De-emphasize games and competition in the lower age groups.
Know and study the rules of the game and support the officials on and off the ice. This approach will help in the development and support of the game. Any criticism of the officials only hurts the game.
Applaud a good effort in both victory and defeat, and enforce the positive points of the game. Never yell or physically abuse your child after a game or practice – it is destructive. Work toward removing the physical and verbal abuse in youth sports.
Recognize the importance of volunteer coaches. They are important to the development of your child and the sport.
Communicate with them and support them.
If you enjoy the game, learn all you can about hockey – and volunteer.
Spectator's Code of Conduct
Display good sportsmanship. Always respect players, coaches and officials.
Act appropriately; do not taunt or disturb other fans; enjoy the game together.
Cheer good plays of all participants; avoid booing opponents.
Cheer in a positive manner and encourage fair play; profanity and objectionable cheers or gestures are offensive.
Help provide a safe and fun environment; throwing any items on the ice surface can cause injury to players and officials.
Do not lean over or pound on the glass; the glass surrounding the ice surface is part of the playing area.
Support the referees and coaches by trusting their judgment and integrity.
Be responsible for your own safety – be alert to prevent accidents from flying pucks and other avoidable situations.
Respect locker rooms as private areas for players, coaches and officials.
Be supportive after the game – win or lose. Recognize good effort, teamwork and sportsmanship.
"Crossover" (or "playing up") is defined as a player playing for an age group older than the one in which they belong, for example a mite aged player playing for a squirt team. Crossover play is strongly discouraged by USA Hockey but as an independent organization, we do have some flexibility. However, players must petition the organization to be considered for crossover play. Playing up is NOT guaranteed. After receiving the petition to play up, the Nighthawks Board will consult with the age-appropriate and crossover coaches and determine if the player may play up. Factors under consideration are skill level, organizational and team needs, maturity, and others. All decisions by the board are final.
Any player chosen as a crossover player must also play for their age-appropriate team, and the age-appropriate team is given priority in case of scheduling conflicts. There is an additional fee for crossover players, and crossover players are prohibited by USA Hockey from any tournament play with the crossover team.
If there are any questions regarding this policy, please contact us.