How To Deal With Difficult Hockey Parents

Dealing with difficult hockey parents is a challenging task for coaches and team staff. Here are 5 supporting facts to help you navigate through this situation:

1. Communication is Key: Maintaining open and frequent communication with parents is essential. Keep them updated about team activities, player progress, and any concerns that arise.

2. Set Clear Expectations: From the beginning, establish clear expectations for both players and parents regarding behavior, team rules, and Code of Conduct. This will help prevent misunderstandings and address any issues early on.

3. Encourage Positive Support: Educate parents about the importance of positive support and its impact on players’ performance and overall team dynamics. Remind them to focus on constructive feedback rather than negative criticism.

4. Engage in Conflict Resolution: When conflicts arise, it is crucial to address them promptly and professionally. Schedule a meeting with the concerned parent to discuss the issue, listen to their perspective, and find common ground to resolve the conflict.

5. Involve the Club or Organization: If the situation becomes unmanageable, involve the club or organization to mediate. They can provide guidance, support, and establish clear boundaries for parents’ behavior.


1. What if a parent becomes overly aggressive during games?
If a parent becomes overly aggressive during games, remind them of the importance of sportsmanship and the impact their behavior can have on both players and spectators. If the behavior persists, take immediate action by involving the club and potentially removing the parent from attending games.

2. How can I address a parent who constantly questions my coaching decisions?
When dealing with a parent who constantly questions your coaching decisions, explain your rationale behind the decisions you make. Share your experience and knowledge, while emphasizing that you always have the players’ best interests in mind. Encourage open dialogue but set boundaries to prevent excessive interference.

3. What if parents spread rumors or gossip about players or coaches?
Address rumors or gossip immediately by providing accurate information and clarifying any misunderstandings. Encourage parents to communicate directly with the coaching staff rather than relying on hearsay. Promote a culture of respect and unity within the team.

4. What should I do if a parent constantly complains about playing time for their child?
When faced with a parent who constantly complains about playing time, have an open and honest conversation. Reiterate that playing time is earned through effort, performance, and team dynamics. Provide constructive feedback on areas where their child can improve and grow as a player.

5. Is it possible to avoid difficult hockey parents altogether?
While it’s not always possible to avoid difficult hockey parents entirely, establishing clear expectations, maintaining open communication, and promoting a positive team culture can significantly minimize those challenges.

6. How can I ensure all parents are aware of the team’s expectations?
Distribute a handbook or document at the beginning of the season that outlines the team’s expectations, rules, and Code of Conduct. Have parents sign an acknowledgment form indicating their agreement to comply with these guidelines.

7. What can I do if a parent’s behavior is affecting the team’s morale?
If a parent’s behavior is negatively impacting team morale, address the issue immediately. Hold a team meeting to discuss the impact of negative behavior and remind players and parents about the importance of a supportive and respectful environment.

BOTTOM LINE: Dealing with difficult hockey parents requires effective communication, setting clear expectations, encouraging positive support, engaging in conflict resolution, and involving the club or organization when necessary. By implementing these strategies, coaches and team staff can maintain a healthy team environment while addressing any challenges that may arise.