NCAA hockey representatives joined the NHL, NHLPA and hockey organizations from around the world Wednesday to unveil the Declaration of Principles: a bold statement of the benefits of hockey to its participants and the foundation of a new initiative, This is Hockey (thisishockey.org, #thisishockey).
The Declaration of Principles supports hockey opportunity to build character in its participants, foster positive values and develop important life skills that transcend the game.
“The college hockey community is proud to stand with the NHL and other partners in the hockey world to celebrate so much of what makes this sport special,” said College Hockey Inc. Executive Director Mike Snee. “We embrace the responsibility to make hockey a valuable experience at all ages. At the heart of college sports is the opportunity to build character, values, life skills and meaningful relationships. As college hockey administrators and coaches, we take pride in building those qualities and believe they are reflected in the success NCAA players enjoy, both on and off the ice.”
Over the last two years, hockey’s leading governing bodies have gathered to discuss the state of the game and collaborate on cultural and structural changes to positively impact the sport. An important recommendation from the group was the formation of a Declaration of Principles – a set of commonly shared beliefs that articulate a vision of delivering the best possible hockey experience for participants and their families.
The Principles are meant to serve as an internal compass to help guide decisions and shift behaviors of hockey organizations, as well as players, parents, coaches, fans, partners and all those who represent and care for the sport of hockey. Those who love hockey know that it requires teamwork and perseverance, instills integrity and a sense of humility, strengthens character and brings communities together.
“The Declaration of Principles represents the hockey world speaking with one voice: our game teaches life lessons that can guide a meaningful future,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “While not everyone who plays the game will have an NHL career, every player at every level – and the family and friends of every player – can enjoy rewarding experiences and share a common commitment to respect, inclusiveness and sportsmanship.”
NCAA hockey plays an important role in reinforcing the values that the entire sport helps to convey. The success of college players, both on and off the ice, embodies those values. Former college players enjoy greater representation in the NHL than ever before, making up a record 32% of all NHL players in 2016-17. More importantly, men’s hockey enjoys a 92% graduation rate, among the best NCAA Division I men’s sports according to the NCAA.