Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association
Alcohol & Drug Prevention Handbook

Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association
Saskatoon Health Region
Primary Prevention (West Winds Primary Health Centre) 


Table of Contents 

  • A Team Effort (Handbook Introduction)
  • The Face Off (Why we need this handbook)
  • Stick Handling (Youth alcohol/drug involvement)
  • Interference (Substances that interfere with a healthy lifestyle)
  • The Defence (What parents can do to help prevent alcohol/drug use)
  • The Power Play (How to avoid an unhealthy lifestyle)
  • A Message from Rick (One hockey player's story)
  • Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association Acknowledgements
  • Player and Coach Conduct Policy
  • Pass Interference
  • The Bench
  • To All Parents & Coaches


This Handbook is a result of the work of a committee consisting of representatives with a vested interest in the young people who play hockey in Saskatoon.

The Objectives of this Committee:
To develop an Alcohol and Drug Primary Prevention and Policy Handbook for Saskatoon Minor Hockey.
To assist the Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association to provide a safe and supportive environment for young hockey players.
To assist in promoting the idea that sports do not go hand in hand with alcohol and drugs.
To have representation on the committee from those most interested in enhancing the Healthy Lifestyles within the “Hockey Arena” (no pun Intended).

Appreciation to the following representatives for their diligent hard work in making this handbook a success:
Hockey Parents, the major role models for young hockey players.
Hockey Coaches, the role models specific to the sport of hockey.
Minor Hockey Players, the ones that play the game.
Saskatoon Police Service Representative - Officers have a vested interest in encouraging a healthy lifestyle through minor hockey.
R.C.M.P - support, promote and encourage healthy positive lifestyles for young people.
Saskatoon Health Region - focus on primary prevention and early intervention of alcohol and other drug problems.
Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association, call the shots (no pun intended) and provide support for and enforcement of the policies.
First Nations Representative - ensures that policies and procedures are culturally sensitive.



The Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association in partnership with Mental Health and Addiction Services, Saskatoon Health Region has produced a handbook. The need for such a handbook evolved as a result of concern expressed by coaches in regard to alcohol/drug use by young players.

Research indicates when young people have accurate information, they can make healthy lifestyle choices, hence the objectives of this handbook are of a preventative nature. With a prevention program in place that supports young players, many will choose to be drug free and those who make a choice to use alcohol/drugs will receive caring guidance and intervention that supports a return to a healthy lifestyle without alienation and stigma.

Such a Prevention Program is based on partnerships and includes five basic guidelines:

  • Players and Parents must receive alcohol and drug education.
  • Players must use positive peer pressure to influence the behavior of their teammates.
  • Coaches must work with team leaders to encourage role-modeling behavior for the rest of the team.
  • Coaches and Parents must provide positive role models for the players.
  • Support must come from coaches, parents, zone commissioners, players and members of the Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association.

Using these guidelines as a foundation, this handbook will provide alcohol/drug information guidelines for coaches related to alcohol/drug use prevention and intervention, guidelines for parents related to alcohol/drug use prevention and intervention, and of course guidelines for players related to alcohol/drug use.

Thousands of boys and girls are involved in hockey each year. These young people are catalysts for a healthy chain reaction that includes team captains, players, non-athletes and the community.

This handbook is an important first step in the prevention of alcohol and other drug use among minor hockey players. 


Players are often overwhelmed by the feelings of pressure and influences from people around them. They must handle many difficult situations that can cause stress in their lives. Much like the game of hockey, young players must learn to stick handle life’s pressures. The following is a list of some of the main reasons that young people become involved in alcohol/drug use.

Peer Pressure
During adolescence, most young people develop an increased interest in their friendships. "Fitting In" is very important. A peer group gives youth a sense of belonging, identity, and support. The peer group also affects decision making and puts pressure on the young person to be the same as others in the group. In some groups, taking drugs is fashionable and if the young person chooses not to use drugs/alcohol then they do not belong to the group. The most common reason given by young people for starting to use alcohol/drugs is to fit in with others. It is not easy to say "no" when the young person is afraid of offending his/her friends. These are difficult situations for young people to deal with.
The youth’s circle of friends affects the clothes s/he wears, the trends s/he follows, the things s/he does, the music s/he listens to, their beliefs, values and the decisions s/he makes.


Attempts to Deal with Problems at Home
Adolescent years have always been years of turmoil. The family, once the first place to turn in times of trouble can itself be a source of stress for youth today with parental substance abuse, unemployment, and family breakdown occurring at alarming rates. For those young people fortunate enough to have a traditional support network, there still remains the demands of academic pressure and growing up in a stressful world. Experimenting with alcohol and other drugs may seem like a way to deal with family issues.
Young people need to identify supports that they can turn to when stresses in their lives become overwhelming, for example: A Guidance Counsellor, a trusted Teacher, a Coach, an Elder...


Pressure to Perform
Athletes often feel overwhelmed by pressure to excel in sports: pressure from their parents, their friends, their coaches, their teammates, and of course, themselves. Young hockey players commonly believe that if they do not perform well people will think less of them. They may feel pressure to maintain a certain image and are vulnerable to the pressures of high expectations and at times they must cope with intense feelings of failure. Under these pressures, players can make unhealthy decisions such as resorting to alcohol/drug use.
Young players need to learn to feel good about themselves regardless of wins or losses on the ice.



Curiosity is natural for young people.

Young people have friends or know people who use alcohol/drugs and they may be curious as to how alcohol/drugs would make them feel. This curiosity may lead to experimenting with alcohol/drugs.
When young people have the facts about alcohol/drugs it helps them to make healthy choices.


Role Modeling
Role models are the people that the young person admires and wants to be like. Role models are a very important part of a young person’s development. Most often the people that affect the young person most are the people he/she is closest to. Not all role models are positive influences and this contributes to young people becoming involved in their own experimentation with alcohol/drugs.
A role model is someone that the young person admires and wants to be like.
Having positive role models helps young people make the right choices about alcohol and drugs.


Underlying Problems Resulting in Self Medicating
Some people use drugs and alcohol to relieve emotional pressures like loneliness or depression. Others use because they enjoy the “high” that they get. When athletes use alcohol or other drugs, they may feel the same “high” that is experienced when they win the big game. Sometimes, after the game young people try to sustain the “high” feeling by using a mood-altering drug. If they lose the game, they may attempt to replace their depressed feelings with something that feels good. 

Players must learn to handle their wins and losses in a healthy manner.


Lack of Alternatives
Young people often resort to drinking and drug use because they are bored and alternatives that are fun and healthy are not in place.
Positive alternatives to alcohol/drug use must be accessible.


Know your reasons and don't feel that you need to apologize for them.
Expect others to respect your decision.
Respect others' decisions to not use alcohol and/or other drugs.



Substances That Interfere with A Healthy Lifestyle 

If players are using alcohol and drugs it is harmful, unhealthy, dangerous and we need to do something about it before someone is hurt or killed. 

Alcohol is the number one drug of abuse. It is a sedative drug that depresses the central nervous system, slowing reaction time and dramatically reducing ability and judgement.
One beer, a glass of wine, a wine cooler or a shot of liquor contain the same amount of alcohol.
It is against the law for kids to drink alcohol.
The effects of alcohol depend on: person’s size, mood, rate of drinking, food consumed, tolerance, and whether the individual is male or female. 

The earlier alcohol use begins, the more likely the individual is to become dependent and /or to use other drugs. 


Negative Health Effects
Use can lead to dependence, which can occur as rapidly as in 6 months to one year in youth.
Alcohol abuse can lead to liver damage, digestive problems, birth defects, cancer, heart conditions and damage to the central nervous system.
Young organs are easily damaged and brain cells killed cannot be replaced.
Alcohol is a major contributing factor in accidents involving young people.
Young people become dependent on alcohol much faster than adults do - within 6 months to 2 years.


Negative Social Effects
Emotional growth is stunted.
Relationships with family, friends, and team mates are strained.
Job and school performance deteriorates.
Legal and financial problems develop. 

If alcohol is used, serious personal problems can develop. Using alcohol may become more important than family, friends, school and sports. Young people who use alcohol may not learn how to problem solve and handle their emotions.


Binge Drinking (common with young people)
The young person is able to go for weeks without drinking but then drinks large amounts at one time.
Increases the risk of health problems and injuries from accidents. 

Few teenagers are casual drinkers - when most teenagers drink three things happen - they pass out or get sick, they drink until the alcohol runs out, or they get drunk. 



Cigarette smoking is the most common addiction. It’s also one of the most difficult to overcome.

Inhaled cigarette smoke contains over 5000 chemicals, including nicotine, tars and carbon monoxide. Nicotine is a stimulant and is highly addictive.

Short Term Effects
Increase in pulse and blood pressure.
Decrease in skin temperature.
More stomach acid and less urine are produced.
Appetite and physical endurance decrease.
Fingers and teeth become stained.
It stinks!

Long Term Effects
Significantly increases the risk of developing serious health problems.
Major risk factor in heart disease, stroke and lung cancer.
Every year 30,000 Canadians die from the effects of smoking.
Even before developing serious diseases, a smoker can develop lung problems in the form of a "smoker's cough" – a chronic shortness of breath.
Chronic bronchitis and cancer of the larynx, mouth, bladder, kidney and pancreas occur in many people who have smoked heavily.
Emphysema, a condition in which the lungs are abnormally enlarged, is a life-threatening disease that is often associated with smoking.
Second-hand smoke that is not directly inhaled by the smoker can harm everyone who is exposed to it. A non-smoker exposed to second-hand smoke can experience the short-term and long-term effects that smokers do. 

Young people often start smoking because they think it makes them look like adults; however, adults rarely start smoking if they did not start as a teen.
Making the decision not to smoke is more mature than choosing to start smoking. 


Spit Tobacco also called Smokeless Tobacco (Chew, Snuff)

There are two forms of Spit tobacco. Chew is a leafy, bulky tobacco sold in pouches. "Chewing Tobacco" as its name suggests, is chewed. Snuff is a finely ground tobacco sold in small tins. Users hold a pinch of "rub or dip" between their cheek and gum.

Short Term Effects
Stained teeth, bad breath, spitting, drooling and tobacco stuck in the teeth (not too good for the image).

Long Term Effects
Gum recession - The gums pull away from the teeth.
Sores, white patches, and lumps inside the mouth.
Oral cancer of the mouth and throat.
Addiction to nicotine in the tobacco.

 Smokeless tobacco is very harmful.

VAPING/ Juuling

According to the Government of Canada Website:

*Most vaping devices consist of a battery, mouthpiece, heating element and chamber (a tank or reservoir to contain a liquid solution)
*Most devices use electrical power from a battery to heat a liquid solution, which becomes vaporized. The vapour then condenses into an aerosol, which is inhaled by the user through the mouthpiece.
*Vaping devices are now available in many shapes and sizes. Some are small and look like USB drives or pens, while others are much larger.
**There are concerns regarding the potential long term health risks associated with vaping/juuling; however, there is no current research/data on it as it is relatively new.

**Vaping/Juuling is not currently illegal; however, many communities have implemented their own bylaws regarding this topic

Vaping by SMHA players or interlock MHA partners' players is not permitted while a player is involved in any sanctioned team, zone or SMHA event.  This includes pre-and post-event while there as part of a team.  Players will be sent home if caught vaping while at a sanctioned team event.

Saskatchewan law states that one must be 18 years of age in order to Vape or to purchase vaping products.

Saskatoon City Bylaws state that Vaping is not permitted in any public places - including arenas.  Vaping is treated like smoking - if smoking is not permitted then vaping is not either.


Marijuana / Dabs / Concentrates / Hashish

Are products of the hemp plant, cannabis sativa.

The mood-altering ingredient in the cannabis plant is called THC.

Cannabis is the most widely used illegal psychoactive drug in North America used by minors (with the exception of nicotine and alcohol).
Marijuana ranges in color from grayish green to greenish brown resembling the herb, oregano, or coarse tea. It is smoked in pipes or hand rolled cigarettes called joints.

*Recreational Dabs/Concentrates are highly concentrated extracts of marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.  Concentration levels can range from 60-90% THC. The impact of this “high” tends to be quicker in onset as well as produces a more intense “High”

*Recreational Edibles consist of candies/baking etc. that has been infused with THC

Hashish appears as a dried-caked resin and is sold in soft or hard chunks colored from light brown to nearly black and usually has a higher THC concentration than marijuana. Hashish is usually mixed with tobacco and smoked in pipes or joints.


Short Term Effects
A euphoric feeling with a tendency toward talkativeness and laughter.
Increased pulse rate, panic attacks and paranoia.
Can cause depression and suicidal thoughts and actions.
Bloodshot, glassy eyes.
Distorted sense of the passage of time, taste, smell, touch, sound, and color.
Impaired concentration, coordination, short term memory and logical thinking.

Long Term Effects
Harmful to the respiratory system (tar content is higher than in tobacco).
Lack of energy and ambition, often referred to as "amotivational syndrome".
Low levels of the male sex hormone/impotence.
Both psychological and physical dependence can occur with regular use. 
ImportantCan cause mental health concerns related to psychosis, schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression

Long after the high is gone, the drug remains in the brain and affects memory and learning. The user is less able to communicate, read, compute, or reason. It also slows down the reaction time and makes it difficult to perform complex tasks, however many youths will argue that they perform better.  


Anabolic-Androgenic steroids are a group of drugs similar to the male hormone testosterone. They have two major effects on the body:
Anabolic: stimulate muscle size and strength.
Androgenic: masculinizing effects.
Anabolic steroids: doctors prescribe these to treat people who are slow to reach puberty, people with some blood disorders, and those with some types of breast cancer.

Although anabolic steroids are banned by most professional and amateur sports, many athletes use them to improve their performance in sports requiring strength and power. Some people also use steroids to "bulk up" their physical appearance.

Short Term Effects
Severe facial and body acne.
High blood pressure and increased cholesterol levels.
Can cause sexual problems.
Causes feelings of euphoria, severe aggression and irritability (Roid Rage), anxiety, insomnia, depression, mania, paranoia and delirium.

Long Term Effects
Premature closure of growth centres of long bones (may result in stunted growth).
Teens using steroids may have their growth permanently stunted.
Females often experience increased growth of facial and body hair, reduced breast size, irregular periods, deepened voices and male pattern baldness. Many of these effects are irreversible.
Males experience shrinking testicles, painful enlarged breasts and decreased sperm count. Temporary infertility and difficulty achieving an erection are also common.
The use of steroids increases the risk of rupturing tendons, developing blood clots, stroke, heart disease and heart attacks, liver disease and cancer. 

Steroids are illegal to possess for non-medical use 



Stimulants affect the central nervous system by increasing alertness and reducing or delaying fatigue.

Cocaine (coke, snow, flake, white, blow, nose candy, big c, snowbirds, lady) appears as a fine white powder, made from the South American coca bush. Users often snort the drug but injecting produces effects more quickly and intensely, while smoking it causes the most intense and addictive high.

Crack (freebase rocks, rock) is cocaine that has been chemically changed so that it can be smoked. Freebase is a pure form of cocaine usually used by inhaling the vapors.

Speedball is a combination of cocaine and heroin.

Amphetamines (uppers, speed bennies, pep pills) are artificial stimulants closely related to dextroamphetamines (dexies), methamphetamines (speed, jib, crystal, meth, crank) and smokable methamphetamine (ice, job), all produce similar effects. These drugs, made in illegal laboratories, come in tablets or capsules made wholly from chemicals. Also appear as off-white crystals, chunks and powders that can be sniffed or injected.

Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a prescribed medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. When abused, Ritalin stimulates the mind and body in much the same way as cocaine and amphetamines. Ritalin can be crushed into a powder and snorted by drug abusers or it can be dissolved and injected.

Short Term Effects
Feelings of being more alert, sleeplessness and anxiety.
Loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.
Elevated blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature.
Stuffy, runny nose.
"High" often followed by a "low" manifested by emotional and physical depression.
Tremors, dizziness, confusion, and paranoia.

Long Term Effects
Injecting with unsterile equipment transmits diseases such as hepatitis as well as the AIDS virus (HIV).
Tolerance develops rapidly; psychological/physical dependency and addiction develops extremely quickly.
Cocaine can cause death by disrupting the brain’s control of the heart and respiration.
Amphetamines can cause amphetamine psychosis that includes hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia.
Chronic sleep problems, weight loss, high blood pressure, depression, irregular heartbeat.
Crystal Methamphetamine: Death can occur as a result of burst blood vessels in the brain, heart failure and high fever. Violence, accidental or otherwise, is the leading cause of death related to crystal methamphetamine. 

With Stimulants, the feeling that the user cannot function without the drug develops extremely rapidly 



MDMA (Ecstasy, XTC, Molly))

MDMA, also known as Ecstasy and Molly, a drug popular at "rave" parties, is a hallucinogen made in illegal drug labs, and is related to the amphetamines. Usually comes in gelatin capsules or tablets that are small, can be any color and may have a dove, hammer or sickle or diamond on one side. Can also be found in powder form, which can be snorted or dissolved and injected. When purchasing Ecstasy, users may unknowingly purchase something totally different or a combination of other drugs, e.g.: Dealers often mix ecstasy with LSD - known as candy flipping.

Short Term Effects
Causes anxiety or panic attacks, blurred vision, and vomiting.
Increases blood pressure, sweating and heart rate.
May cause depression, irritability, poor concentration, forgetfulness, exhaustion, and paranoia.
Symptoms can last several days.

Long Term Effects
Death due to dehydration and heat exhaustion, abnormal heart rhythms and liver failure.
Permanent chemical changes to the brain.
Irritability, paranoia, depression, flashbacks, and/or psychosis.

LSD (acid)

LSD, also known as acid, is a fine white powder sold in capsules or as tablets. It can be diluted and absorbed by other objects such as sugar cubes, gum, candy or blotter paper that can be eaten or licked.

Short Term Effects
LSD effects emotions: feelings of euphoria can change to sadness or fear and back again. More than one emotion may be experienced at the same time.
LSD causes hallucinations: the user sees, hears, smells things that are not there.
Increases pulse, blood pressure, body temperature.
Causes dilated pupils, tremors, nausea, chills, and numbness.

Long Term Effects
Flashbacks include visual hallucinations and can affect smell, taste and touch senses.
LSD has been implicated in suicides, accidental deaths, murders, and self-inflicted wounds.

PSILOCYBIN (Magic mushrooms, shrooms)

Appears as fresh or dried mushrooms that are chewed and swallowed.

Short Term Effects
Dilated pupils, skin flushing, elevated body temperature.
Increased pulse and blood pressure.
Loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.
Sleeplessness, tremors, panic, confusion, suspicion, anxiety, loss of control, fear of impending illness, fear of dying.
Lack of muscle coordination.

Long Term Effects
Flashbacks can occur even when use has ceased.

Over the Counter Drugs (OTC)


Contains the drug Pseudoephedrine and/or Ephedrine. Some examples of OTC drugs containing these drugs are: Dristan ND, Drixoral, Contac C, Sudafed, ChlorTripolon ND, Sinutab ND, Tylenol Sinus Medication, Dristan Sinus Interactive, plus many others.

Abused by athletes to obtain central nervous system stimulation similar to effects received from taking amphetamines.

Many are sensitive to these drugs and side effects are common. The side effects are multiplied when the recommended dosage is exceeded.

Serious Side Effects
Unusual nervousness, trembling.
Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing.
Irregular heartbeat, slow or rapid heart which can lead to heart failure.
Increased blood pressure.

Minor Side Effects
Problems sleeping.
Difficult and /or painful urination.
Excessive sweating.
Weakness, unusual paleness.
Nausea or vomiting.
Rapid heart rate, pounding heartbeat.
Dizziness, light-headedness.


Tylenol (Acetaminophen) can cause liver and kidney failure when abused.

Advil (Ibuprofen) can cause serious stomach and bowel symptoms including bleeding when the recommended dosage is exceeded.


An OTC drug used to prevent and treat nausea and vomiting, motion sickness, and dizziness due to inner ear disturbances.

When abused, large doses can produce a “high” and hallucinations.

Short Term Effects
Feelings of well being, euphoria and hallucinations. Combining the drug with others such as alcohol, codeine, and other depressants intensifies these effects.
Sluggishness, paranoia, agitation, memory loss, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and difficulty swallowing and speaking.
Confusion, irrational behavior, uncoordinated movement, high fever, and convulsions. Serious heart and breathing problems can follow.
Long Term Effects
Depression, confusion, loss of energy, vomiting, urine retention, and difficulty thinking and socializing.

Prescription Medications

According to the Government of Canada, there are three types of drugs that are misused most often:

  • Opioids (Hydromorphone, morphine, oxycodone, codeine, meperidine, fentanyl, methadone),
  • CNS depressants (AKA sedatives: Lorazepam, diazepam, alprazolam) and
  • Stimulants (Amphetamines, methylphenidate)


  • *Opioids are typically used to reduce pain related to surgery, disease or injury. Misuse of opioids can produce a “high” feeling, which could lead to continued misuse/abuse of the prescription. Misuse of opioids can affect the respiratory system as well as heart rate, and can cause death.
  • *CNS Depressants are commonly used to treat seizure disorders, panic attacks and sleep disorders. Misuse: Taking a higher dose than prescribed or mixing them with other medications/substances can be associated with slowed breathing, reduced heart rate and sometimes coma or possibly death.
  • *Stimulants are commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Misuse of stimulants can cause changes in behaviour and mood. Mixing stimulants or taking large amounts with other medications/substances can cause heart problems and seizures.


**Prescription drugs have street value so it is important to dispose of any unused medication and, if possible, to not disclose that they are in your home.

**Some prescription medications that are sold on the street are actually substances that are made in a clandestine lab.  These substances are not regulated and rarely have the same chemical make up from batch to batch.  Examples of this include street fentanyl, oxycodone, and Xanax. These drugs are not regulated so there is a greater chance of overdose and possible death.


Date Rape Drugs


A sedative, hypnotic, amnesiac. Sometimes administered by rapists so the victim doesn’t retain memory of the event.

Short Term Effects
Impaired motor skills.
Impaired judgement.
Decreased level of consciousness.
“Looks and acts drunk” – speech slurred, difficulty walking to a point of complete unconsciousness.

Long Term Effects
Physical and emotional problems that occur as a result of abuse incurred during a Blackout.


A chemical additive that acts as a depressant on the central nervous system.

Short Term Effects
Nausea and vomiting.
Confusion, intense drowsiness.

Long Term Effects
Respiratory depression.


An injected analgesic and anesthetic agent that causes severe psychic or physical dependence.

Short Term Effects
Elevated pulse and blood pressure.
Vivid dreams, confusion, irrational behavior.
Blurred vision.

Long Term Effects
Breathing difficulties that can lead to death.

Inhalants and Solvents

Inhalants are substances that people sniff for mood-altering effects. Almost any solvent can be inhaled (gasoline, whiteout, antifreeze, paints, etc.). They all evaporate easily giving off chemical fumes.

Solvents are chemicals in liquid forms that have the ability to dissolve many other substances. Solvents go through your lungs into your bloodstream.

Inhalant users often start when they are children or young teens.

Short Term Effects
Lose inhibitions, feel "high".
Get clumsy and have slurred speech.
Have trouble making sensible decisions.
Become sleepy and slow-moving.
Have ringing in your ears, dizziness, blurred vision, nervousness, disorientation.
Suffer from headaches, chest and stomach pains, nausea and vomiting.
Behave disruptively, hallucinate, become aggressive and violent.

Long Term Effects
All short-term effects have the probability of becoming permanent.
Brain damage, memory loss, personality changes, muscle weakness and nerve damage.
Kidney failure and disease, lung inflammation leading to asphyxia (suffocation).
Permanently harm your liver, kidneys, eyes, bone marrow, heart, and blood vessels.


Changing Roles for Parents:

Between the ages of 12-15, kids begin to develop strong relationships outside the home. This means less time with parents and less dependence on them for help in decision making. It also means more peer influence and questioning of ideas and values as young people begin to test their ability to negotiate life’s difficult turns. As your children develop, so must your relationship with them.

Your kids' drive for greater independence does not mean that they need you any less than they always have. What it means is that your role will evolve from controller and protector to guide, listener and coach. Your goal will be to support the kind of learning that gives young people a growing sense of confidence, competence, and direction, so they can ultimately rely on their own skill and judgement. This coincides with their emerging need to plot their own course in life.

Whether your kids admit it or not, you are still their strongest role model. They observe you even when you don’t realize it. Their trek to independence can lead to confrontations and hasty decisions. The key is to stay close enough to know how to support them as they journey towards adulthood, while at the same time respecting their right to make mistakes. Adolescents who are close to their parents are more likely to respect their parents’ opinion. It’s ironic that some teens' heroes, athletes, movie stars, music stars and others who seem to have it all-turn to alcohol/drugs for answers, and end up in trouble. As a parent, you need to show your kids that drugs are a dead-end. Encourage informed and healthy lifestyle choices, independence, and responsibility.

Strategies for Alcohol/Drug Use Prevention:
Lead by Example

Show self-respect in taking care of your health. Examine how leisure time is spent and the role drugs have, especially alcohol. Discuss your own challenges and struggles to make healthy choices. Self-respect is closely tied to life skills. The more skills we have to handle life’s challenges, the greater our own self-esteem.

Talk with your kids, not at them. Talk honestly and openly, encourage them to express their views, and actively listen.
Get the Facts
Get accurate, current facts on alcohol/drugs and objectively help your kids understand them.
Don’t bluff or employ scare tactics. Learn from the experiences of other parents by talking to them and by reading.
Express Values
Help your kids make sense of lifestyles seen on television, in the news, and in the community. Discuss the meaningful, realistic and important values that you share.

Make Choices
Give young people the chance to make choices suitable to their age level, and let them know it’s normal to have problems, and make choices to solve them. Ensure that they consider the consequences of their choices.

Focus on Learning
Help your children develop learning skills so they can apply their successes and failures to new goals that are neither too tough, nor too easy. Be an active learner yourself, and avoid acting like you know all there is to know. When possible, work together to find answers.
Make Rules
Establish clear, reasonable and safe rules in consultation with your kids, then follow up on them, and be ready to overhaul the rules as children mature. Be clear, concise and enforce the consequences of both appropriate and inappropriate behavior.
Be There
Encourage and participate in a variety of activities with the young person and help them reflect on their learning experiences, difficulties, achievements and benefits. Positive reinforcement is always good practice, particularly when you feel the behavior could use some tuning up.
Be Reasonable
Put yourself in your kid’s shoes (as expensive as they may be). Remember what it felt like when you were a kid!

Preparing your children to make decisions about alcohol/drugs boils down to having them assess and understand their destination in life, and what impact alcohol/drug use would have on their goals. Discuss the value of the freedom to act independently, how to effectively pass up unwanted offers of drugs, and how to steer clear of situations where risks arise. This takes a great deal of time and energy, but it’s worth it.


No one symptom is conclusive, but a combination should start the red lights flashing.

Changes in School Performance
lower grades, frequent tardiness, and absenteeism, falling asleep in class, and discipline problems.
Changes in Physical Appearance
red eyes, decreased level of hygiene, and general deterioration.
Changes in Eating or Sleeping Habits
insomnia, napping at inappropriate times, weight loss or weight gain or sudden increase or decrease in appetite.
Changes in Friends
new or different friends who are very different in appearance, behavior and goals.
Changes in Behavior
moodiness, depression, hostility, hypersensitivity, loss of interest in previous hobbies or activities, familiarity with drug culture and hangouts, lying, and illegal involvement.
Physical Evidence
finding drug paraphernalia (e.g. hash pipes, burnt knives, syringes), strange odors, and/or cover-up odors.

Guiding your child into a productive, healthy, happy adulthood can be the most difficult job you’ll ever have



"I visualized where I wanted to be, what kind of player I wanted to become, I knew exactly where I wanted to go and I focused on getting there." 
- Michael Jordan 


Young people today are faced with making many choices on the spur of the moment. It is important to think about how to handle a difficult situation before it occurs. For example, think about what you would do if the captain of your team asked you to share a joint with him/her. If you practice and prepare yourself, making "the right choice" will be easier. This section of the handbook will provide valuable information to assist you in making the right choices and how to approach someone if you, or someone you care about, is experiencing a problem. When a situation arises and you are uncertain of the effects of the outcome, you may decide not to participate. Hopefully, the following techniques will be helpful.

The Refusal Skill for Self Control

The Steps {and Key Phrases (Internal)}
Stop what you're doing.  (for example, "Stop." "Wait a minute.")
Name the trouble.  ("That's . . .")
State the consequences.  ("If I do that . . .")
Think of something else to do, and move away from the situation.  ("Why don't I . . . instead.")
Give yourself credit for staying in control.  (for example, "I did a good job." "I stayed in control." "I stayed safe.")

Some "troubles" you may want to stay out of:
using any other kind of drug
covering up for someone
spreading rumors


The Refusal Skill™

The Steps (and Key Phrases Internal)
Ask questions.  (for example, "What . . . ?" "Why . . . ?")
Name the trouble.  ("That's . . .")
State the consequences.  ("If I do that . . .")
Suggest an alternative.  ("Why don't we . . . instead.")
Move it, sell it, and leave the door open.  ("If you change your mind . . .")
The "Listen to Me" Technique
Stay calm.
Say the person's name and make eye contact.
Say "Listen to me."
Pause to see if the person is listening.
If the person is listening, then continue to use the skill. If not, then say the person's name and "Listen to me" again.
If the person still doesn’t listen after two or three times of saying "listen to me", then leave, saying something like "I'll see you later."

About the Refusal Skill™

When to use the Refusal Skill™:

when someone you like is pressuring you to do something you’re not sure you want to do.
when someone you like is pressuring you to do something you know is trouble.
when you want to stay out of trouble but still keep your friends and have fun.

When to say "No" and walk away:
when you don't have a stake in the relationship with the other person.
when the other person - no matter who they are or what their relationship is to you - is asking you to do something clearly dangerous.

How it works:
The Other Person:  You coming over to Colby's house tonight?
You:  (Step 1: Ask questions)  I don't know; what's going on?
The Other Person:  His folks are away, and he's got some pot . . .
You:  No, thanks. That's a bad idea. I wouldn't feel good about it.
(Step 2: Name the trouble.)  If I do that, I'll be going against my folks.
(Step 3: State the consequences.)  I will be grounded for a year.
(Step 4: Suggest an alternative.)  Instead, why don't we hang at my house? We can rent a video and just kick back. I'll pay?
The Other Person:  Oh, come on. You don't have to smoke. Just come by.
You: (Step 5: Move it, sell it, leave the door open.)  No, like I said, I’m not into that. Look, I'm going to rent a movie. If you change your mind, come over about 7:00, okay?
The Other Person:  Sure.

Why it works:
You tell your friend the truth.
You reject the activity, not your friend.
You take a positive step.
You leave your friend an out.
You tailor it to your own language and personality.
You remain in control.

Some "troubles" you may want to stay out of:
covering up for someone
spreading rumors
using any other kind of drug


The Decide Skill™

The Steps:

DETERMINE what needs to be decided.
Is there a decision to be made?
Is it yours to make?
What exactly has to be decided?
When does it have to be decided?

ELICIT information.
What information do you need to make the decision?
Where can you get that information?
How reliable are those sources?
What pressures and emotions affect how you interpret the information?

COMPARE alternatives.
How many alternatives are there?
Are they reasonable?
Are they things that you want to do?
Are they things that you’re able to do?

IMAGINE the consequences.
What would happen as a result of your decision?
What would happen if you did nothing?
How would you be affected?
How would other people be affected?

What will you say and do as a result of your decision?
When will you do it?
Where will you do it?

EVALUATE the decision
Why it works:
You give yourself time to clarify your thoughts and get information.
You think through all the possibilities.
You evaluate your decision so that you can reinforce it or change it in the future.
Some decisions you may want to make:
Whether to join a certain club.
Whether to go out for a sport.
Whether to get a job.
Whether to become friends with someone.
Whether to get help for a problem you’re having.
Whether to get help for a problem your friend is having.
Whether to smoke, drink, or use any other kind of drug.


Choosing Valuable Teammates

If you have a problem, or one of your friends has a problem, or you just want to talk with someone such - an adult. Who are the right ones to approach? Think about the following:
They should be trustworthy.
They don't repeat your discussion to anyone else (unless they're legally obligated to repeat what you've revealed, e.g. a problem with chemical dependency, a case of abuse, an impending fight).
They do not laugh or make light of what you say.
They are being honest and genuine with you.
They should be approachable.
They have enough time to give you their full attention.
They have enough energy and concentration to give you their full attention.
They are able to arrange a place and time so you can have a private discussion with them.
They should have a good relationship with you.
They like and respect you (and you them).
They should know something about you so they can place your conversation in context.
They should be good listeners.
They are able to understand what you're telling them or else ask you to clarify it so they can understand.
They don't automatically assume that they know best how to solve your problem.
They should be knowledgeable.
They should be familiar with the issues around what you're telling them or else be able to steer you to someone who is.
They should be intelligent enough to grasp what you’re saying.


Approaching the Right People

Let's say that you really want to talk to someone at school about a problem you've been having. You've decided that the best person to talk with is your science teacher, Mr. Bernard. How do you approach him?
Plan what you want to say.
Think about what you want to get out of the conversation, e.g.: a solution to a problem, an opportunity to express some emotion, a referral to someone else, or an exchange of ideas. It may be that you haven't yet figured out what the problem is, only that something is making you uneasy.
Think about the important points you want to make, e.g.: what someone said, what conflicts you have, or how you feel.
Think about how you might open the conversation, e.g.: "Can we talk?" "Can we set up a time to talk?" "I have some things I'd like to talk about," or "I have a problem."
Think about what you might want to do after the conversation, e.g.: continue meeting with Mr. Bernard, talk with someone else, just think, or take some specific action.
Consider taking notes about any of these points and referring to them when you talk.
Decide on a good time and place to talk.
It's tough to have a private conversation when you keep getting interrupted. It's also tough when the person you're talking to is distracted. It may be best to approach the person and set up an appointment to meet later. If you need to speak to the person immediately, try to pick a time when the person is least likely to be distracted.

Don’t give up.
If it doesn't work out with the first person you approach, for whatever reason, don't give up. Try someone else. Keep trying until you get someone who's willing and able to listen to you and help you. 




My name is Rick, I am 17 years old and a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. I grew up in small-town Saskatchewan playing minor hockey. We always had a good team, capturing many league titles and won two Provincial Championships: one when I was in my last year of Peewee and the other as a first year Bantam. Following the Bantam season, I got drafted by the Brandon Wheat Kings and listed by the Humboldt Broncos. I also attended the Sask -First Top 40 in Saskatoon in the summer.

After that the problems started. I had started drinking alcohol in the fourth grade and my use increased through the following years up to grade eight when I discovered drugs. Things were good in my life or so I thought, until it was time to leave home to play AAA Midget in Tisdale. I had planned on kicking the drugs during the season, but found that I couldn't and ended up with severe depression and anxiety from being away from home. I spent the majority of that season locked up in my room obsessing over life's problems, using drugs and becoming very suicidal. I managed to make it through the season never once sharing my problems with anyone. I lost contact with my family and began using or drinking everyday.

I intended to give up hockey the next season so I let everything in my life go. When the summer came to an end and I had already given up my shot at playing for Team Western under 17, I had a sudden change of heart. I made a phone call to a good friend who I had separated myself from who had already moved to Tisdale and was preparing for the new season. After our conversation, I remember following my parents to Tisdale in my car, smoking pot the whole way and finding myself reconsidering my decision. I started the season and continued using drugs until I went home one weekend when I hit rock bottom. I had gone out and got high and drunk and was a complete jerk to my girlfriend. When I got home, I wrote my parents a note saying I was sorry for everything I had done and I asked them for help.
I went back to Tisdale, got myself a counsellor and managed to keep on track until going home at Christmas. All it took was one drink and I was gone again. After becoming really sick and missing a few games after Christmas I was rushed to Emergency in Saskatoon to see a Psychiatrist. There, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and put on medication.
I began my sober efforts, but stopped talking to my family again and lost interest in life. I stayed straight until tragedy struck and I lost a friend in a car accident. I got picked up by my father to go home for the funeral and to be with my friends. I immediately reached out to drugs to ease the pain. A week later I broke up with my girlfriend due to my drug use. Once again, I went back to Tisdale and began blaming all of my problems on someone else and continually isolating myself to use and dwell. It took me a couple of months to realize I was wrong and after many suicidal thoughts and attempts I believe God touched me and helped me seek help. I went home, went to Detox in Moose Jaw and am currently in treatment in Saskatoon. I am learning to deal with life without drugs and alcohol. I am thankful to be alive and for having all the support in the world.

If I could talk to all young hockey players I would say:

First and foremost, stay open with your parents/family.

Make sure to take care of problems as they come instead of bottling them up until they become overwhelming.

Don’t play hockey for anyone else but yourself. If you are not having fun it is not worth all the money.

Learn how to say no to alcohol and drugs and don’t let others put you down or bug you.

Learn to care about yourself, if you don’t care about yourself it is hard to care for others.

Give it your best shot, there is all the time in the world to pursue other interests after hockey.

Have respect for other players whether on your team or the opposition.

* Name has been changed. 



SMHA "Know the Score" acknowledgements:
Coach's, Assistant Coach's and Team Official's Acknowledgement
Parent's Acknowledgement
Player's Acknowledgement




Player Conduct Policy

The use of alcohol and controlled substances or the abuse of non-prescribed pharmaceuticals is prohibited at all games, practices and any minor hockey team functions under the jurisdiction of the Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association (SMHA).

Those individuals in contravention of the above will be required to attend an assessment and counselling session(s) as prescribed by SMHA.
Additionally, first time offenders will be required to sit out a two consecutive game suspension. The individual is required to attend their team’s games and to practice with the team during this suspension.

Second time offenders will be required to attend an assessment session(s) followed by additional counselling sessions as prescribed by SMHA. Additionally, the second time offender will be required to sit out a ten consecutive game suspension. The individual is required to attend their team’s games and to practice with the team during this suspension.

Third time offenders will be required to attend an assessment session(s) followed by additional counselling sessions as prescribed by SMHA. Additionally, the third time offender will be required to sit out a one calendar year suspension. The individual is required to attend counselling sessions during this suspension.

Failure to abide by these regulations will result in an indefinite suspension.

Coaches, Assistant Coaches and Team Officials Conduct Policy

The use of alcohol and controlled substances or the abuse of non prescribed pharmaceuticals is prohibited at all games, practices and minor hockey team functions under the jurisdiction of the Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association

Coaches, Assistant Coaches and Team Officials in contravention of the above will be subject to disciplinary action by the Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association Executive in accordance with Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association's Bylaws and Regulations:  Regulation IX , Point 5:
"Any Official, Coach, Manager, District Representative, Team or Player may be subject to disciplinary action by the President or his Designate".



A grassroots level checklist for parents, coaches and players upon finding a suspicious substance such as drugs, needles, pills or paraphernalia that you suspect is connected to drug use.
What do I do? Who do I call? Where do I go?
Notify the team official e.g.: coach, manager
Notify the Law Enforcement Authorities
Minimize handling of the substance/paraphernalia
Contact the coordinator/zone commissioner
Upon finding a suspicious substance, determine the appropriate way to proceed at a team level. This could mean talking to the involved player and parents, calling a team meeting to explain the situation, providing an information letter to all parents and players or implementing a phone tree
Encourage parents to follow up by informing and encouraging players to be alert and aware of this kind of situation



Where to go for more information and/or to ask for help:

Kids Help Line
1-800-668-6868 Provincial Health Line

HealthLine 811
Dial 811 (24 hours)

Mental Health and Addiction Services Child & Youth:
Centralized Intake - 306-655-7777
Youth Outreach - 306-655-7502
Calder centre Youth detox - 306-655-4526

EGADZ - 306-931-6644

Mobile Crisis - 306-933-6200

Secure Detox - 306-514-8547

Saskatoon Police Service

400 Brand Place
Saskatoon, SK S7J 5J3

KidSport Saskatoon
510 Cynthia Street
Saskatoon, SK S7L 7K7

Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association
816 1st Avenue North
Saskatoon, SK S7K 1Y3

Children's Health Foundation Saskatchewan
850 - 410 22nd Street East
Saskatoon, SK S7K 5T6
306-931-4887 Primary Prevention



There are young eyes upon you,
And they’re watching night and day.
There are ears that quickly
Take in every word you say;
There are hands all eager
To do anything you do;
And a young player who is dreaming
Of the day he’ll be like you.

You’re the young player’s idol;
You’re the wisest of the wise,
In his mind about you,
No suspicions ever rise;
He believes in you devoutly,
Holds that all you say and do,
He will say and do, in your way
When he’s a grown-up like you.

There’s a wide-eyed young player,
Who believes you’re always right,
And his ears are always open,
And he watches day and night;
You are setting an example
Every day in all you do,
For the young player who is waiting
To grow up to be like you.


Text copyright © 2001
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
First published in 2001. Revised 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006. 2018


Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association
5 - 816 1st Avenue North
Saskatoon, SK
S7K 1Y3

National Library of Canada Cataloguing in Publication Data
Know the Score: Alcohol & Drug Prevention Handbook (Includes bibliographical references and index)
ISBN 0-9689742-0-1
Alcoholism - Prevention - Juvenile literature.
Drug abuse - Prevention - Juvenile literature.
Hockey players - Alcohol use - Prevention - Juvenile literature.
Hockey players - Drug use - Prevention - Juvenile literature.
Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association.
HV5066.K56 2001 j362.29’17 C2001-903202-1

"Permission to use the Refusal Skill and the DECIDE Skill titles and 5-step models, from the Here’s Looking at You® Drug Education Program, was granted from comprehensive Health Education Foundation (C.H.E.F.®), Seattle, WA. All rights reserved."

"The Refusal Skill (or, The DECIDE Skill) is a trademark of Comprehensive Health Education Foundation (C.H.E.F.®), and the skill model is copyrighted by C.H.E.F.®, Seattle, WA. Any duplication is prohibited without expressed written permission from C.H.E.F.® All rights reserved."