Integrity Awareness Week: One year later
by|12 DEC 2023
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation
In December 2022, the IIHF staged the first “Integrity Awareness Raising Week” with the aim of putting its Integrity program in the spotlight.

The IIHF Integrity Program was created to protect the sport of ice hockey all those involved against any form of cheating, abuse, harassment or ethical violations. It consists of four pillars: Anti-Doping, Competition Manipulation, Abuse & Harassment, and Ethics, with the relevant rules for each pillar explained in the IIHF Integrity Book.

A month before the first Integrity Awareness Week, a reporting system was launched, where breaches can be reported in person, via email or telephone, or via Sideline – a new online reporting form. Reports can be made annonymously.

During the first Integrity Awareness Raising Week, a series of articles was published in which the four pillars were expanded on and included first-hand accounts of various pillar breaches from players. Ambassadors including Kyle Beach, Kirill Starkov and Brandon Kozun shared their stories openly as a way to show how their experiences impacted their lives well beyond the first incident.

This year, the campaign will shift focus to the core messages of each pillar under the theme ‘This Is Important.” The campaign aims to target specific demographics through cross-platform digital content that speaks to each demographic’s unique needs.

In the year since, The IIHF Integrity Program has evolved and the following steps have been taken to increase the program’s effectiveness:

Reporting form awareness posters have been mandated to be placed in dressing rooms at all IIHF tournaments.

Mandatory in-person Integrity Awareness sessions for players, targeting all U18 tournaments. These sessions are designed specifically for players, away from coaches and team staff, to provide a safe and supportive environment for players. Coaches and officials have been educated separately.

Every appointed IIHF game official and IIHF medical supervisor now goes through a comprehensive background check – conducted by Integrity partner HAROD – to further ensure a safe environment. IIHF Staff and IIHF Council have also undergone mandatory training in conjunction with The Respect Group, and this training will be expanded to all volunteers and staff appointed by a Championship Organizer for the 2023/24 season.

The MNA Integrity Officer Program: Each Member National Association was mandated to appoint a single point of contact for the IIHF regarding all Integrity-related matters, called an Integrity Officer. Among other duties, this person is tasked with developing a national strategy for each Integrity pillar.

Education for Coaches focused on Abuse & Harassment: Divided into seven modules, this program is designed to help coaches provide a safe environment for their players free of abuse and harassment by educating them about the different forms it can take, how to identify it, and provide avenues for reporting it if it occurs. This program is currently optional but will become mandatory starting with the 2024/25 season.

Safeguarding Essentials course: Designed by the International Safeguards for Children in Sport in collaboration with other international organizations, this online course aims to explain the concept of safeguarding, underscore its significance, and equip participants with the skills to mitigate safeguarding risks while appropriately responding to any concerns that may arise.

Event Safeguarding Officer: This is the IIHF’s contact person for the respective Local Organizing Committee at each IIHF event. This person acts as a point of contact for all Integrity cases or issues at the event, coordinates and manages communication between LOC staff or volunteers and the IIHF for Integrity matters, informs the IIHF about Integrity incidents and reports and documents non-conformities while acting in accordance with IIHF protocols.