Michigan's own Pat LaFontaine discussing the new 'Declaration of Principles.' (Photo from NHL.com)

New ‘Declaration of Principles’ from sport’s leaders aims to improve hockey for all

Michigan’s own Pat LaFontaine discussing the new ‘Declaration of Principles.’ (Photo from NHL.com)


By @MichaelCaples –

While Wednesday was Little Caesars Arena Tour day for the Michigan hockey audience, something big was happening on a worldwide scale.

The NHL, USA Hockey and 15 other leaders in the hockey community announced on Sept. 6 that they have joined forces to create a new ‘Declaration of Principles’ in an effort to celebrate what makes our sport so special, and to make sure everyone gets a chance to experience it.

“It’s creating the best possible family hockey experience,” said Michigan youth hockey legend Pat LaFontaine, the NHL’s vice president of hockey development and community affairs and one of the leaders in the creation of the Declaration of Principles. “And that can be for fans, for youth hockey players, at any age.”

Here is the new declaration, crafted by the following organizations (listed in alphabetical order):

  • American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA)
  • American Hockey League (AHL)
  • Canadian Hockey League (CHL)
  • Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL)
  • Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL)
  • College Hockey, Inc.
  • ECHL
  • Hockey Canada
  • International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
  • National Hockey League (NHL)
  • National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA)
  • National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)
  • North American Hockey League (NAHL)
  • U Sports (University Sports In Canada)
  • USA Hockey
  • United States Hockey League (USHL)

Declaration of Principles

We believe every leader of the sport has the responsibility to inspire stakeholders in an effort to deliver a positive family hockey experience. Hockey participation offers families value beyond making a child a better player or even a better athlete. The game of hockey is a powerful platform for participants to build character, foster positive values and develop important life skills. These benefits are available to all players, desirable to every family and transcend the game.

Today, guided by our common values, we jointly pledge to the following Principles.

We Believe:

  1. Hockey should be an enjoyable family experience; all stakeholders – organizations, players, parents, siblings, coaches, referees, volunteers and rink operators – play a role in this effort.
  2. Hockey’s greatest value is the role it plays in the development of character and life skills.
  3. All hockey organizations – regardless of size or level of competition – bring value to players and families in their ability to deliver a positive family experience.
  4. Physical activity is important for a healthy body, mind and spirit.
  5. There are significant benefits of youth participation in multiple sports.
  6. Hockey programs should be age-appropriate for all players, accounting for each individual’s physical, emotional and cognitive development.
  7. There is great value in all forms of hockey, both on and off the ice.
  8. All hockey programs should provide a safe, positive and inclusive environment for players and families regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation and socio-economic status. Simply put, hockey is for everyone.

We believe in our ability to improve lives and strengthen communities globally through hockey. We believe that living by these Principles will provide a healthy, balanced and enjoyable experience for all and inspire impactful service beyond the rink.



For more information, visit ThisIsHockey.org. Join in the conversation with #ThisIsHockey on social media, as well.