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A male RCMP officer in red serge stands next to five youth holding pink-taped miniature hockey sticks.

RCMP, Hockey Nova Scotia face off against bullying

Cst. Dole spreads the Pink Tape campaign message on the first annual Pink Tape Day. Credit: Serge Gouin, RCMP

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When RCMP Cst. Blair Dole learned about bullying on the minor hockey team he coached, he knew he couldn't ignore it.
Dole, a Halifax community police officer who's coached for eight years, asked the team to remove the tape from their sticks before their next game.

As the team arrived, Dole pulled out a roll of pink tape and taped each stick — choosing the colour because of its association with efforts to stop bullying.

Before the game he sat down the whole team and gave the boys an anti-bullying pep talk.

"I told them the actions of some players can't ruin the game for others," he says.

The team hit the ice with their fluorescent sticks and won the game.

After that, the bullying stopped.

"It made me realize we need talk about bullying," says Dole. "Then the pink tape took off."

Dole began talking to other teams about bullying and then other minor hockey associations.

For Dole, bullying subtracts from the real reason kids play hockey — fun.

Hockey Nova Scotia, the governing body of all hockey in the province, learned of Dole's work and wanted to get involved.

What Dole started as a project to stop bullying on his team grew into a province-wide program. The Nova Scotia RCMP partnered with Hockey Nova Scotia to spread the pink tape message.

"I never thought a 10-minute dressing room talk would turn into a provincial wide campaign," Dole says.

The Pink Tape Campaign involves more than taping sticks. Dole organized anti-bullying presentations for both players and coaches available across Nova Scotia through local RCMP detachments.

"It's about fair play and respect for everyone," says Dole.

Last November, Hockey Nova Scotia hosted its first Pink Tape Day encouraging every hockey player in the province to tape his or her stick pink.

"There was as sea of pink across Nova Scotia," says Dole.

Garreth MacDonald, communications and special events director with Hockey Nova Scotia, says the campaign is a proactive way to make the rink a welcoming space.

"There has been support from players, coaches and parents," says MacDonald. "This sparks a conversation that goes further than Pink Tape Day. It will last the rest of the season and beyond."

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