Anti-Bullying

Pink Tape: minor hockey campaign targets bullying

Local RCMP officer launches campaign after incident on team

RCMP Const. Blair Dole during his Pink Tape campaign presentation on Sunday.   Cam Honey

RCMP Const. Blair Dole is battling bullying, one roll of pink hockey tape at a time.

Dole has started the Pink Tape campaign to educate people about bullying, with the goal of erasing it from both the dressing room and the classroom.

He gave his first presentation about the campaign at the Cole Harbour Fire Hall on Sunday night. Several local hockey coaches, managers, parents and players were in attendance.

“Anti-bullying, the whole concept, it needs to be top of mind,“ said Dole after the presentation. “If it’s not out there, front and centre people forget about it.”

Dole, who coaches hockey, came up with the idea for Pink Tape in December, after an incident on his team involving verbal bullying. After hearing about the incident, he went out and bought a couple of rolls of pink tape and asked his players to come to the rink with un-taped sticks. Dole taped all of the sticks himself and explained the message. He said the bullying ceased both in the dressing room and at school.

Dole has put together an awareness and training presentation for players and coaches. It’s also meant for parents because Dole said he’s seen parents tell children to intentionally injure an opposing player. It will be made available to every minor hockey association in the province.

For Dole, it’s also a reminder that hockey is supposed to be fun.

“No one should ever be forced to stop playing hockey because of bullying,” he said.

The Cole Harbour Bel Ayr Minor Hockey Association, where Dole coaches at the Bantom C level, and Hockey Nova Scotia have joined in partnership with the RCMP to promote the campaign. They are working on developing a logo to go on helmet stickers for all minor hockey players in the province.

‘Education is key’

Since players often come from the same schools, Dole’s presentation also addresses the connection between the rink and the classroom.

Angela MacNeil, a parent on the Atom AA CHBA team and a junior-high teacher, thinks that’s a “fantastic” idea. She was at Sunday’s presentation.

“Education is key, the earlier we get this information out and educate people, the more likely there is a response that we hope to see,” MacNeil said.

While Dole is excited about how much support the campaign is getting, he has a larger plan for it.

“Baby steps right now, but our goal is to make this a national program,” he said.

The official launch for the Pink Tape campaign is on Wednesday before the Cole Harbour Colts play the East Hants Penguins at Cole Harbour Place Scotia 2. Both teams will have their sticks taped in pink.