Code of conduct sign goes up at Port Moody arena

City of Port Moody posts a humorous code of conduct sign that targets bad behaviour among spectators at its arena.

The city of Port Moody posted this code of conduct sign on Wednesday at its recreation complex rink.

The city of Port Moody posted this code of conduct sign on Wednesday at its recreation complex rink.

A code of conduct sign posted on Wednesday at the Port Moody recreation complex has struck a nerve with rink users.

And the city is netting positive comments about the plain and humorous wording that’s directed mostly at hockey parents and spectators.

The “Spectator Code of Conduct” sign reads:

“Please remember:

1. These are kids.

2. This is a game.

3. Parents should cheer for everyone.

4. The referees are human.

5. You and your child do not play for the Canucks.”

A photo of the sign was posted Wednesday night on The Tri-City News’ Facebook page and has drawn an unprecedented number of Likes, comments and shares. As of The News’ print deadline yesterday, the picture had received more than 20,000 views.

Among the online chatter:

“Fantastic and so true. I love my city, Port Moody.”

“Sad that it has to be said but, yes, the time has come that these rules must be posted clearly and offenders be tossed out on their rear end.”

“Signs like this are posted all over Canada. Good to see Moody jump on the bandwagon. Arenas just need to figure out how to remove and ban problem adults (1%) that are constant problems.”

The comments come the same week a B.C. hockey coach was sentenced to 15 days in jail and a year of probation after he was caught on video tripping a 13-year-old player following a game.

Port Moody city spokesperson Leslyn Johnson said the idea for the sign came from a member of the community who had seen it in another city. “He sent it to Mayor [Mike] Clay, who liked the idea and thought we should do something similar in Port Moody,” she said.

Johnson stressed the sign isn’t in response to a specific incident at the arena. “It stems from a general understanding that many spectators — not just at hockey games — can get unruly and disrespectful to the players, referees and coaches, and that Port Moody will not tolerate this kind of behaviour,” she said.

Besides ice hockey, the rink also hosts ball hockey, lacrosse, figure skating and ringette practices and games.

The sign has been uploaded on the Port Moody Amateur Hockey Association (PMAHA) website, which has links for player, parent and coach code of conduct.

“It was time that it go up,” said PMAHA first vice-president Dennis Shaben, adding his organization had worked with the city to install it. “We have dialogued with them all the time and it’s a conundrum out there. People love hockey in Canada but the degree of seriousness has, I think, escalated and we’re just seeing a tendency of some — and it’s that small minority — get out of hand.

“We’ve seen it other association rinks. We see it other sports. We see it our arena from time to time where people just get a little over-involved… I think they lose sight that this is kids’ hockey.”

The sign is “a positive reminder for spectators to conduct themselves respectfully,” BC Hockey president Wilf Liefke added.

Brian Lowe, president of the Port Coquitlam Minor Hockey Association, said his group gets players, parents, coaches, managers and referees to sign a code of conduct form at the start of each season.

“Some highlights are fair play, show respect to teammates, coaches, parents and referees (and vice versa), not force kids to play hockey, encouragement and positive reinforcement,” Lowe said.

Brian Keenen, president of the Coquitlam Minor Hockey Association, applauded PoMo for its initiative, saying, “We are looking into having them installed in Coquitlam as well.”

Requests for comment from the cities of Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam were not immediately returned.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Vancouver Canucks responded: “Canucks Sports & Entertainment encourages fair play and fun in a learning environment for all minor hockey players.

“We were not aware that we were referenced in the signage and had not provided consent for such a reference. On March 15, the Canucks Centre for BC Hockey and BC Hockey will be working together to host First Strides and the weekend of March 22 will host its seventh annual Female Jamboree.

“Both of these events align with the Canucks emphasis on fair play, learning and having fun while playing hockey.”