As Bob Dylan is often quoted," The Times they are a changing", is especially true in youth ice hockey across the world.
In the USA the new ADM Model is calling for no checking in the boys pee wee division ages 11-12. Other rule changes regarding icing for short handed teams and tag up off sides are also on the voting docket for June. If all three are passed then we will have a new look at a game that is struggeling to retain players in traditional hockey areas but hopefully a safer game for all to play. But change is hard for many people and there are some in Minnesota fighting against the checking ban for pee wees. Arguably, USA Hockey did a very poor job of setting the stage for this change. If it passes they will be playing catch up with educational materials and coach training and it will take a couple years before the real benefits are realized. Parts of Hockey Canada are following suit with checking bans and the National Federation of high schools in the USA have changed language in their rule book to prevent head and neck contact of any sort. In Europe, the IIHF is considering the same non check rule for Pee wees. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out (no pun intended) as these rule changes permeate throughout the hockey world.
Even with all of the rule changes, at the end of the day, it all comes down to coaching. Top quality coaches who care about and resepct their players will be successful. Their players will be winners and better for the experience.