Safe Sport – Response

Conflict Resolution

Field Hockey BC believes that everyone in the sport has the right to enjoy it at whatever level they participate.

Conflict is inevitable, it occurs naturally when people interact, but conflict can be positive. When two people disagree, it means they care enough to take a stand; individuals and teams need conflict to grow and to generate new ideas. Conflict can be productive or non-productive, depending on how the issues are handled. Resolving a conflict at an early stage may prevent a situation from getting worse and may reduce the risk of it turning into a formal complaint.

Tips For Solving Conflict 

Here are a few tips on how to resolve conflict situations. For more specialized information, check out the Helpful Links.

  • Pause, breathe deeply and get grounded to make sure you are calm when you have the discussion.
  • Choose the right time and place for conflict resolution.
  • Zoom out and look at the situation from a neutral place to give you perspective.
  • Focus on the problem, not on the person with whom you are having the conflict.
  • Really listen. Active listening means more than just waiting for your turn to speak.
  • Reflect empathy by acknowledging the person’s feelings even if you do not agree with their perspective.
  • Be aware that your non-verbal communication – your tone of voice, hand gestures, body language and facial expressions – form the majority of your communication.
  • Avoid the four behaviours that fuel a conflict situation: criticism, contempt, stonewalling and defensiveness.
  • Take responsibility for your behaviour and for your part in the conflict.
  • Use assertive communication. Use “I” statements rather than “you” statements to reduce defensiveness.
  • Let everyone offer possible solutions. Explore the possibilities together.  Once decided, have everyone commit to the resolution.
  • Involve a third party if you have not been able to come to an agreement yourselves.

Helpful Links

Coaches Canada – 5 Approaches to Conflict Management 

SDRCC – Main Causes of Disputes and Prevention Strategies: A Must for Sport Administrators 

SIRC – Resolving Conflict Within a Youth Sports Team

Coaching Through Conflict: Effective Communication Strategies 


Field Hockey BC obtains insurance that protects the Society for its activities and events, directors’ and officers’ liability, employment practices, and commercial general liability.

Field Hockey BC through Field Hockey Canada provides all registered athletes, staff and volunteers with insurance coverage for liability and personal injury, prior to participation in any activities of the sport.


Field Hockey BC believes that everyone in the sport has the right to participate fully and to enjoy safe environment that is free of abuse, harassment or discrimination.

Sometimes an organization becomes aware of potential situations of unacceptable conduct. It is not practical to outline all possible scenarios, but complaints can range from minor disrespectful communication up to illegal acts, such as discrimination or sexual assault. For simplicity, “the complainant” is the person who makes the complaint an the “the respondent” is the person or organization against whom the complaint is made.

An investigation is a neutral fact-finding to determine whether the unacceptable conduct actually occurred. This document provides some guiding principles on what to do if you are faced with a complaint. Investigations that are not properly conducted create risk for you organization, so you are strongly encouraged to consult with others with more knowledge and experience. Depending on the nature of the complaint, you may wish to consult with:

  • Your Board of Directors
  • Field Hockey BC
  • Field Hockey Canada
  • A lawyer or human resources professional
  • The ‘helpful links’ section below

Guiding Principles 

Take action if there is an allegation of unacceptable conduct as soon as you become aware of it, even if you did not personally observe it and/or nobody has made an official complaint.

If you think a law may have been broken or you are not sure, notify the police.

Don’t pre-judge or assume the respondent has committed the act, but take immediate steps to stop further contact between the complainant and respondent while you review the situation.

Let the complainant and the respondent know that you have received the complaint and that you are looking into it. Ask them to keep the situation confidential.

Speak to the complainant and learn more details. Take notes. Learn if there are witnesses or other evidence.

Review your organizations’ Dispute Resolution or Harassment Policies or your Club Manual if you have these.

Consult with others to decide whether you will be proceeding with an investigation, with an informal conflict resolution or some other option.

If an investigation is needed, appoint an unbiased, qualified investigator, ideally one who understands the sports environment.

Helpful Links

Commit 2 Kids – Steps for Reporting Inappropriate Conduct

Sport Law – Workplace Harassment Investigation 

RCMP – Find a Detachment

Support Services

Field Hockey BC has compiled the following resources available to all Canadians in need of support.

Kids Help Phone – 1-800-688-6868

A bilingual and anonymous phone counselling, web counselling and referral service for children and youth. Kids Help Phone provides counselling and support all issues and topics, including emotional well-being, body issues and questions, bullying and abuse, identity, sex and relationships, school and work, and family and friends. Visit Resources Around Me to learn more about the services available in your area.

Red Cross Community Services 

Red Cross is helping build safe communities throughout Canada. They provide a number of services in communities including health services, water safety, first aid education, and prevention of violence, bullying and abuse. You can find what is available in your community here.

Victim Services Government of Canada 

The Canadian government provides a number of services to victims of crime, including emotional support, counselling, advocacy and safety planning. To find a service near you visit their directory.

Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP)

CASP’s goal is to reduce the suicide rate in Canada and to minimize the consequences of suicidal behaviour. Need Help? Find your local Crisis Centre.

First Nations & Inuit Hope for Wellness – 1-855-242-3310

A helpline dedicated to supporting First Nations and Inuit Peoples. Service is available in Cree, Ojibway, Inuktitut, English and French. To reach the helpline call 1-855-242-3310.

Trans Lifeline – 1-877-330-6336

A helpline dedicated to the well-being of transgender people. The phone line is staffed by transgender people for transgender people. Call 1-877-330-6366.

Canadian Centre on Substance Use & Addiction 

The Centre was created by the Canadian Government to address and provide leadership on substance use in Canada. To find a treatment centre near you click here.