USA Hockey: A “best-practice example” of IIHF Integrity
by Derek O'BRIEN |16 FEB 2024
When the IIHF began creating its Integrity Program on a global scale, one of the challenges was that its many Member National Associations had different levels of infrastructure in place. One of the most advanced was and is USA Hockey, which played a leading role in the establishment of the international program.

“USA Hockey created its Safe Sport Program in 2012 and we have been updating the program ever since to have a comprehensive program to create a safe environment for our participants,” said USA Hockey Integrity Officer Casey Jorgensen.

As a former high-level referee, upholding the integrity of the sport has been part of Jorgensen’s life since long before he became General Counsel for USA Hockey in 2011. His role in that capacity includes overseeing all legal matters for the association, including the Safe Sport Program. USA Hockey Safe Sport is now heavily integrated into the U.S. Center for SafeSport – a government program that covers amateur sports throughout the United States – and, of course, the IIHF Integrity Program.

Jorgensen is also the staff person at that works with the USA Hockey Ethics Committee on any ethical issues within the organization.

“USA Hockey was a strong advocate for the creation of the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which opened in 2017, and I was heavily involved in that process,” he continued. “I sit on the IIHF’s Legal Committee and assisted the IIHF in the creation of the Integrity Program, including especially the Abuse & Harassment Pillar.”

In addition to the U.S. Center for SafeSport, USA Hockey also closely works with the United States Anti-Doping Agency and other organizations.

“Good collaboration with different organizations is essential,” said IIHF Integrity Officer Naomi Bloetjes. “From the time we started working with them, USA Hockey already had and continues to have a robust framework that can serve for many MNAs as a best-practice example.”

Within USA Hockey each year:
  • Over 70,000 adult participants receive criminal background checks.
  • Over 130,000 members complete SafeSport Training.
USA Hockey has automated systems in place to help ensure that only properly trained and screened coaches and administrators are permitted to be involved.
“To have an effective program, we need to have strategies in place to educate our members on how to identify abuse and report it, and we must then respond to those reports by investigating and addressing it when misconduct is found to have occurred,” said Jorgensen.
But even with all of these measures in place, we still unfortunately hear about cases of abuse, harassment, and other violations of integrity in the sport. The fight is never over.
“There are always challenges we face,” said Jorgensen. “We cannot stop all abuse, and potential offenders will still seek to get involved in our programs. We need to remain diligent to protect our athletes and our programs, and to address abusive conduct when it occurs.”