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Extending Body Checking Ban To Age 14 and Stricter Rules Enforcement: The Wrong Approach?

Just a couple years ago USA Hockey banned body checking at the Pee Wee (12 and under) level, based in part on evidence that the risks of concussion and other serious injury resulting from body checking was simply unacceptable.  The primary reason USA Hockey made the change, however, was to promote skill development at an age where kids are still developing, and because that development was being hindered by aggressive play intended to intimidate opponents and a winning-at-all-costs mentality.  In making the rule change, USA Hockey assumed that all kids play because they want to develop their skills.  I think that the majority simply want to play.

Will extending the ban on body checking in hockey to age 14 and better rules enforcement make the game safer? Perhaps we need to take a different approach, argues a longtime youth hockey official.

Relative Age Effect Reversal Found At Elite Level of Canadian Hockey

Much has been made of the relative age effect (RAE) - that birth month is destiny for sports achievement - but the evidence is far from conclusive. It is true that some sports team rosters across the globe have a lot of players born in the first few months of the year, but there is more to this phenomenon than originally understood.

There Is No Team in Me!

There is a growing crisis in youth and high school hockey, with the the word "team" being replaced by the word "me."  Players and parents of the "Me Generation" are too quick these days to criticize teammates, coaches and others for not recognizing individual talent.  When players arrive at this rink with this type of attitude, the coach has no chance at all unless he or she can somehow change it. 

There is a growing crisis in youth and high school hockey, with the the word "team" being replaced by the word "me." Players and parents of the "Me Generation" are too quick these days to criticize teammates, coaches and others for not recognizing individual talent.

Safety Matters in Youth and High School Hockey

As the new season begins there is a renewed focus on safety in youth hockey in the USA, and in Minnesota in particular. With a heightened awareness of the potential for severe injury in contact sports like hockey and football the NGOs like USA Hockey are attacking the problem with more infrastructure surrounding teams to help protect players from each other, coaches and strangers. 

As the new season begins there is a renewed focus on safety in youth hockey in the USA and in Minnesota in particular. With a heightened awareness of the potential for severe injury in contact sports like hockey and football the NGOs like USA Hockey are attacking the problem with more infrastructure surrounding teams to help protect players from each other, coaches and strangers.

Parents Rethinking Contact Sports

Local youth football organizers in Minnesota say they are experiencing a 20 percent decline in registrations this year, citing increased awareness of the potential of serious injury and parents who are apparently picking other sports for their 3rd and 4th grade children.

Changing Hockey Culture: Are We Reaching A Tipping Point?

Playing the game of ice hockey within the rules would seem like a simple concept.  Yet all efforts to accomplish this objective have thus far proven elusive, from the NHL all the way down to the youngest levels.  In a previous post I reported that Minnesota Hockey has retained the much harsher penalties for two of the three most dangerous plays in the game. In fact, Minnesota has the toughest rules in youth and high school hockey in the country. The question is, will this be enough to change the culture of the sport?

Playing the game of hockey within the rules would seems like a simple concept. Yet all efforts to enforce the rules have thus far proven elusive.  Will making the rules for dangerous play tougher be enough to change the culture? This coming season may be the tipping point.

Minnesota Hockey Retains More Severe Penalties, Aims for Better Enforcement

Minnesota Hockey, the governing body for 40,000 youth hockey players in the state, has voted to continue with the pilot program begun last Janaury that made checking from behind and boarding 5 minute major and 10 minute misconduct penalties.  The program was instituted after high school player Jack Jablonski suffered a spinal cord injury from an unpenalized check from behind. The USA Hockey rule book allows for escalating levels of penaly time depending on the incident. That discretion no longer exists in Minnesota in youth or high school hockey. 

Minnesota Hockey, the governing body for 40,000 youth hockey players in the state, has voted to continue rule changes enacted last January which stiffened the penalties for checking from behind and boarding and hope for better enforcement.

Better Enforcement, Not Rule Changes Key To Reducing Dangerous Play in Hockey

 

Minnesota Hockey and the Minnesota State High school league increased the penalties for dangerous plays following the tragic life changing accident Jack Jablonski, a 16-year-old Benilde St. Margarets player, suffered in January of 2012. The question at hand now is should we continue with the stiffer penalties, modify them, add to them or return to the previous rule book? So far the consensus is to keep them and add to them.

It seems so simple, but as we learn in life nothing is simple. Perhaps we should look at the causes that are creating the current environment and then asertain if the  penalties are warranted, are sufficient or need changing.  

We won't make ice hockey safer for players by increasing penalties for dangerous play. We need to address the core issue: the violent culture of the sport.

NFHS Clarifies Rules On Checks From Behind in High School Hockey

In an effort to promote safer play and minimize the risk of head, neck and spine injuries, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has clarified the rules on checking from behind in high school hockey.  The changes seek to stem the rising tide of violence in high school hockey, and come in the wake of several highly publicized catastrophic injuries to players after illegal checks from behind, but is better enforcement the simpler, and better, answer?

Seven Ways To Reduce Risk of Traumatic Brain Injury In Sports

Brain trauma to youth and high school players in contact and collision sports can occur not just from violent helmet-on-helmet collisions but from repetitive sub-concussive blows.  There are five major ways to reduce exposure to such hits, experts say.
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