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Positive Coaching Alliance-Tampa Bay Partners with Lightning High School Hockey League on 'Check Yourself' Sportsmanship Campaign


Partnership with NHL, Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, USF Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program and PRESS PR +Marketing, Brings New Program to Bay Area Hockey Student-Athletes

Tampa, FL (August 5, 2019) –
Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA-Tampa Bay) has announced a partnership with The Lightning High School Hockey League, operated by the Tampa Bay Lightning’s community hockey development department, to launch a new campaign focused on winning and sportsmanship among the players, coaches, parents and officials. The campaign, titled Check Yourself, will officially get underway at the start of the high school hockey season in mid-August and continue until the season wraps up in March of 2020.

PCA-Tampa Bay will implement educational and interactive workshops to foster positive behavior on and off the ice for players, parents, and coaches prior to the season starting and several times throughout the season.

"Hockey is a terrific game and here in Tampa Bay we love the Lightning for many reasons. This season we will work with those in the Lightning High School Hockey League to keep the players on the ice and out of the penalty box. It’s a better game when the teams are playing to win and playing with respect," said Mason Cathey Brady, Executive Director at PCA-Tampa Bay. Jason Sacks, PCA's EVP of Business Development & Philanthropy shared that, "PCA is very excited to be involved in this initiative with the Lightning High School Hockey League. We are grateful for the support from the NHL, as well as the Lightning, that allows PCA to help bring the Declaration of Principles to life!"

Check Yourself was created to help further the implementation of hockey’s Declaration of Principles, launched by the National Hockey League (NHL) and 16 other hockey organizations from around the world in September of 2017. The Declaration of Principles is a set of commonly shared beliefs, intending to inspire all of hockey’s stakeholders to leverage the game as a platform to help participants build character, foster positive values and develop important life skills. The principles were meant to serve as an internal compass to help guide decisions and shift behaviors of all those that love the game of hockey. The Check Yourself tagline is a play on a hockey term and a slang saying meaning “think before you act”. It was intended to resonate with a younger audience.

“Since commencing operation of the league in 2015 we have witnessed things both on and off the ice that have demonstrated a lack of sportsmanship and have negatively impacted the family-friendly, fun environment high school athletics should engender,” said Jay Feaster, President of the Lightning High School Hockey League and VP of Community Hockey Development for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“While we recognize hockey is a tough, physical sport it is also one of great skill and artistry. It is also a game rooted in respect, as evidenced by the Declaration of Principles. The Check Yourself sportsmanship campaign allows us to bring the Declaration of Principles to life and create a welcoming and inclusive high school hockey culture where respect of self, teammates, coaches, parents, opponents, officials, fans, facilities and the ‘game’ itself is of paramount importance.”

The Check Yourself campaign was developed in collaboration with a number of local and national organizations including the NHL, Positive Coaching Alliance, University of South Florida’s Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program, RISE and PRESS PR + Marketing. Over the seven-month season, the partners will implement a variety of tactics to begin to change the mindset and negative behavior in high school hockey.

Over the last year, USF has conducted research to determine the cause of the problem and provided specific examples of their findings. They will continue to perform assessments and surveys throughout the season and will wrap up the season with additional research and surveys to determine changes in behavior and attitudes. PRESS PR + Marketing developed the Check Yourself campaign name, logo messaging and concept and has created a variety of promotional items to distribute to players and fans. In addition, PRESS will be promoting the campaign through PR, social media posts and other guerilla marketing ideas.

About Positive Coaching Alliance

Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) develops BETTER ATHLETES, BETTER PEOPLE through workshops and resources for youth and high school sports coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes. When sports are done right, sports teach. PCA ensures sports are ‘done right’ with programming that is research-based and designed to have impact at three levels in a youth sports organization or school:

  • YOUTH experience improved life skills and character development.
  • COACHES become more positive and increase their focus on using sports to teach life lessons.
  • YOUTH SPORTS ORGANIZATIONS AND SCHOOLS see their cultures become more positive and everyone involved has more fun.

Since 1998, PCA has reached thousands of organizations around the country, and affected millions of youth athletes. As a nationwide non-profit with 18 chapters, PCA has partnered with roughly 3,500 schools and youth sports organizations nationwide to deliver more than 20,000 live group workshops, reaching 19.2 million youth in 20 years of work. In addition to PCA’s live workshops, PCA also offers online courses and has nearly 2,000 multimedia tips and tools for coaches, parents, athletes, and leaders available free of charge on PCA-Tampa Bay is proud to be involved in helping lead this initiative to help bring to life the Declaration of Principles with the Lightning High School Hockey League.

About Lightning High School Hockey League

The Lightning High School Hockey League is operated by the community hockey development department of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who compete as a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Lightning Hockey School Hockey League consists of 18 varsity teams, a junior varsity/development program and over 500 players. The season begins in August and ends in February with the crowning of the Lightning Cup Champion. Teams play in five different facilities throughout the Tampa Bay area. To learn more, click here.

For more information, contact:

Mason Cathey Brady

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