The Commissioner of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Gilles Courteau, wanted to correct the allegations made on various forums in the past several days. The QMJHL protests the lies and half-truths expressed on the treatment of our players, especially regarding the health, wellness and support. The great family of the QMJHL is outraged by these gratuitous and unfounded statements.
We are always on the forefront of new initiatives and new trends in order to develop the sport of hockey. In recent years, we have been proactive in order to improve our support by the creation of numerous programs such as players support program, education programs, anti-doping programs and programs to fight against discrimination. In addition, we have added resources to ensure the implementation and enforcement of these programs within our teams.
The QMJHL is a SCHOOL OF LIFE. For years we have worked tirelessly to adequately supervise athletes, particularly in terms of continuous academic achievement.
Our role is to provide guidance to young people enabling them to pursue their passion and their sport while studying and developing as a citizen.
This is why there are mechanisms to expose and correct any inappropriate behaviour. In addition, the League has put in place a player support program to enable players to better manage the challenges they face and solve their personal problems before they become serious. This program provides personalized support in a timely manner or on a regular basis and this, in complete confidentiality.
With respect to nutrition:
All players benefit from the services of highly qualified personnel to educate them about the importance of a healthy and balanced diet. The teams provide the players with the services of a nutritionist to help them make the right choices in terms of nutrition.
With respect to health:
Teams hire certified individuals, such as physicians, athletic therapists, neuropsychologists and fitness coaches to ensure the players’ health. In addition, the protection of our players continues to be a priority. For this reason, the League has put in place a concussion safety program to educate players as to the consequences of hits to the head.
With respect to violence:
The League has taken a series of measures aimed at preventing and countering violence occurring during games and has a zero tolerance policy with respect to gratuitous violence. These measures were developed based on the report of an Advisory Committee on Violence created in 2008 by the League Commissioner. On the other hand, the League adopted a widely publicized charter on the prevention of violence which now serves as a reference and awareness tool.
With respect to education:
While QMJHL student-athletes face a number of challenges, success in academics is no longer an exception but the norm among the 18 teams of the League. The motivation, the discipline and the efforts of the players, combined with the support extended by their teachers, the school advisors of their CEGEP, as well as the academic advisor of their team, can certainly explain the success witnessed these past years.
With respect to grants:
If the League supports its hockey players in pursuing their academic endeavours throughout their junior career, it also offers a generous scholarship program to those who wish to pursue professional or university education immediately following their hockey career.
This program is recognized as one of the best among Canada’s sports leagues. Each year, the League invests several hundred thousand dollars. Since the inception of the scholarship program, more than $8 million have been distributed.
For the 2010-11 season only, the League awarded close to half a million dollars in scholarships to some 129 former hockey players.
With respect to the amounts granted to players:
The teams cover the full amount of sport and education related costs, which represents amounts that reach several thousand dollars per player. For this reason they receive allocations and not wages during the season.
With regard to the control of illicit substances:
As part of the anti-doping policy, the League implemented a series of informational and educational programs in order to persuade players to avoid using illegal substances and methods. It also encourages the management staff to keep a watchful eye on its players and to protect their health and promote clean sport.
With respect to traveling:
We realize that sometimes during the season long trips are necessary, but they are infrequent. Our owners and managers often discuss this issue in order to find solutions to minimize the hardships for the players.
The League is:
A true school of life. It offers a real opportunity for young players to attain their dream of achieving the professional ranks, but first and foremost, it provides them with the support and the necessary academic tools so they can live fulfilling lives and contribute to the development of our society. Our role is to provide a living environment favourable to their development as an athlete and as a citizen.
About the QMJHL
Hockey League Quebec Major Junior's mission is to develop players for professional hockey while supporting them throughout their academic endeavours in order to mold them into responsible and educated citizens.