Members of the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes take part in a handshake line following the end of a playoff series
Photo credit: Sporting News

Handshake Line Resurrected Following Outcry from the Hockey Community

Published January 18, 2024 at 5:31 PM
It was a controversial decision from the very start, and it seems that controversy caused some second guessing. A minor hockey association that had banned post-game handshake lines has done a complete 180 on the decision after hearing it from parents, players, and fans.

About a month ago, Hockey NL, the governing body for amateur hockey in Newfoundland and Labrador, announced handshake lines would no longer take place following games. Its decision, it said in a memo to members, was based on a numbers of incidents between people involved in the game.

"We have had some issues with handshakes following games that have led to suspensions for players and coaches. The decision has been made to eliminate the end of game handshakes. Instead, prior to the game starting the home team will go to their bench. The visiting team will skate by the bench and do a glove tap/handshake wishing the home team a good game. Following the game both teams will be directed to their dressing rooms by the officials."

There were numerous complaints, which shouldn't be surprising to any hockey fan. Hockey handshake lines are as old as the game itself, and is the ultimate show of respect between opponents once the game is done. Hockey NL released an updated memo today saying the complaints have been heard.

"This past December 2023, Minor Council of Hockey NL implemented a change to the timing of the handshake sign of respect to the pregame time slot to coincide with that of coaches and officials. Since this change, there has been considerable conversation generated about the shifting of the event with feedback coming from multiple sources, but most importantly our internal stakeholders and Members."

"Based on the information gathered thus far and conversations with stakeholders and Members, Minor Council will allow the return of post game handshakes. We would remind members that associations, leagues, tournament hosts, and officials have the discretion to prohibit the post game handshake when required."

While it is reasonable to want to limit violent incidents taking place during a handshake line in minor hockey, the right solution is to punish those causing them. That includes players, coaches, officials, parents, or anyone else. Handshake lines are where you're supposed to show respect for others, regardless of what happened on the ice. And, while I get that minor hockey can be competitive and everyone likes to win, those who can't seem to draw a line have to go.
January 18   |   207 answers
Handshake Line Resurrected Following Outcry from the Hockey Community

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