03/12/2013 12:20 EDT | Updated 05/12/2013 05:12 EDT

Hockey parents in New Brunswick to take mandatory course on rinkside behaviour

FREDERICTON - Parents of New Brunswick's youngest hockey players will be required to take a course on rinkside behaviour beginning in the fall.

Brian Whitehead, the general manager of Hockey New Brunswick, said the organization is planning to introduce the mandatory online course in September for any parent registering children from four to eight years of age.

Whitehead said Hockey New Brunswick's intention is to prevent instances where parents exhibit aggressive behaviour in the stands.

"I wouldn't say there was a problem but there's enough situations that we feel we need to educate our parents and give them an opportunity to see what Hockey New Brunswick expects from parents when they are in the arena," Whitehead said Tuesday in an interview.

"It's a lot easier to educate someone on how to be a productive, positive parent when your child is five and six years old, because there is very little that happens on the ice that causes them to get emotionally tied to situations to the point where they act inappropriately."

Whitehead said parents won't be charged for the course, unlike in Nova Scotia, where a similar program that began last year carries a $12 fee.

He said he expects to set a deadline of mid-December for parents to complete the course, which is estimated to cost Hockey New Brunswick about $30,000 annually.

Coaches and volunteers won't be required to take the program.