NO MORE BODY CONTACT IN PEEWEE HOCKEY

Jason Gregor
May 07 2013 11:45PM

A source told me tomorrow afternoon Hockey Alberta will announce that beginning next season there will be no more checking in peewee.

The email I received said, "Effective immediately checking will be removed from peewee hockey."

This doesn't come as a major surprise. They have been talking about this for a few years, and they have done studies comparing the amount of injuries in Alberta to Quebec where they don't allow checking until Bantam.

I know many kids have quit hockey when they reach peewee because they don't like checking, so this will likely keep more kids playing the game. That is great.

A concern will be that 13 year olds, first year bantam, are stronger and faster than first year peewees, so the potential might be higher with kids learning to check at 13 compared to 11.

I believe the biggest change has to come from coaching. I believe more amateur coaches need to be given better instructions so they can be better coaches. There needs to be a better formula so that volunteer coaches can instruct kids better on how to give and receive a check.

If more coaches are given better instructional tools, they can pass on that knowledge to their players. It benefits everyone.

I understand Hockey Alberta's decision to remove checking from peewee, but I'm not sure it will solve the injury problems. I think it might only delay them a couple of years.

Do you agree with this decision? Do you have kids who were afraid to play? As a coach do you feel you get enough instruction to teach proper checking techniques?

REMINDER...

We are ten days away from a great night. Jason Strudwick and Yukon Jack had some pretty damn impressive karaoke performances last night during the Oil Kings game. If that was any indication of how much fun our 12 finalists and  special "celebrity" guests will  have next Friday I'm jacked. May 17th, at On The Rocks is our King/Queen of Karaoke challenge.

Tickets are $25/each with 100% of the proceeds going to charity. And with your $25 ticket you get $50 in gift certificates from On The Rocks and Oodle Noodle. So you make money by supporting the cause. You can buy your tickets here. They will be sold out by next week.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 madjam
May 09 2013, 08:33AM
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Is money destroying the sport side of hockey ? Fodder , from chasing the big money grab that is available in sports nowadays ?

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#2 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
May 09 2013, 01:17PM
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Don't know about the rest of you guys, but when there's someone carted off on a stretcher at a game, I can't help but feel this is an added bonus. To see a guy getting wheeled off really enforces that "must really suck to be that guy right now" bonus element to the evenings entertainment.

Should hang a body bag below the scoreboard at Rexall with financial incentive to the player who provides the matter for said bag. Putting a guy through the glass into row 3 should be kept track of rather than shots on goal. Rollerball... Dog eat dog baby!

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#3 TheGunnShow
May 08 2013, 12:21AM
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I posted similar comments to Gregor on twitter, but I felt like I had to say them here as well:

I come from the opposite camp of kids quitting the game because checking is too much for them.

I almost quit the game because there WASN'T checking.

Being a bigger kid in a no contact game is equally as heartbreaking and frustrating when you get punished because some kid bumps into you and falls down. There were many post game car rides that involved tears because of it.

Free the Giants.

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#4 kgo
May 08 2013, 01:01AM
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A very devisive issue, even within my own mind.

I remember being nervous to play hitting hockey.....Then overnight being one of the best most natural hitters on the ice, despite being a head shorter than half the guys.

But then I got too good at it, every time a guy put his head down I would destroy him, apart from the odd charge here and there with mostly clean hits. And I loved every minute of it. I loved punishing people, I loved how everyone on the other team wanted to kill me. I would run the smallest guy on the team, then the next shift run the biggest guy on the team.

Thinking back on this It was terrible, I probably caused a lot of concussions to kids that never were intended to play the game so seriously.

I think we a gradual progression of hitting. that would be near impossible to implement but there's merit to both arguments.

Introduce the kids to it early so it becomes a natural part of their game, but don't subject them to unnecessary injury

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#5 TheGunnShow
May 08 2013, 01:14AM
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@Travis Dakin

No. It isn't.

Try being 5'10 at 11 years old and getting penalties because some 4'7, 65 pound kid runs into you.

I lived it. It wasn't fun. It wasn't a joke.

Being a child and sitting in the penalty box (sometimes multiple times a game) because of your size isn't a good thing. Especially when all you wanted to do was play the game.

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#6 @Oilanderp
May 08 2013, 02:00AM
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Hitting is part of hockey. These kids aren't being hit by NHLers. They are being hit by their peers. The sooner they learn that you can't just stare at the puck all day the better they will be. Smart players will learn to gtfo of the way, deke, dump, etc. Big players learn how to be effective taking the man. Its hockey. Stop trying to shield kids from the game that is played every day on streets, rinks, hallways, even classrooms with the desks shifted to the sides,you name it. These parents who want to change our game for "our kids sake" are the same parents who litigate teachers for kicking the ass of their no-respect punk-ass big-mouth out-of-control child.

The game does evolve, but don't try to artificially shield children from things. I understand the desire to but you're simply delaying the inevitable. Teach them about the real world instead. Big objects have big force. Don't be there when they are. Play hockey. Score goals. Make hits. Fall down. Get up. No big deal.

Keep your head up, and your stick on the ice. Are these hallowed words no longer valid?

Cripes I remember going to the playground with 8 of my friends and we would have a rock fight. That's right. And we didn't wear equipment. And our parents didn't whine because they weren't there. And we loved it. And I am alive.

Play hockey.

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#7 The Oilers Shot Clock
May 08 2013, 02:21AM
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Rock fights were so awesome. I remember those.

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#8 @Oilanderp
May 08 2013, 07:55PM
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Hockey has hitting. Ringette does not.

I feel that the game as played in the NHL has eroded in quality. Eliminating the instigator went a long way toward this degradation. The result is a game where the outcome is largely determined by people who aren't even playing the game (officials, administrators, directors).

I am afraid that adjusting the game like this in peewee will further erode the game of hockey years from now.

I hope not, but I am afraid it will.

I'm sorry but I just wish those people who wish to change critical aspects of the game would just go play something else. Yeah, it's dangerous. Deal with it.

Don't ruin my game. I was here first. Go make your own! Call it ... mockey or something.

“Unbeing dead isn't being alive.” - e.e.cummings

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#9 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
May 09 2013, 07:39AM
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@Reagan

Don't fool yourself. It has as much to do Hockey Alberta keeping enrollment numbers up province wide, as it does about this secondary safety concern.

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#10 Tikkanese
May 09 2013, 08:51AM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

Why do you feel the need to belittle constantly and put words in people's mouth's that were not there in the first place? I'm sorry you're losing your argument and you feel the need for smoke screens.

I simply asked you about 5 seperate times to elaborate and for proof and only one out of three articles that you finally presented barely broaches the idea of removing scorekeeping and talks about a lot of other ideas. I like the other ideas. They would all improve sports, especially the coaching training overhaul. Why not just implement most or all of the other ideas without completely changing the entire point of sports by remvoing scorekeeping?

I could care less about the opinion pieces. I could care less if these places are producing some of the best soccer players in the world still, that is completely besides the point.

"As you seem to elide it, I'll state it again" That article even states very plainly that they don't know if removing scorekeeping is doing a disservice or not. Why do you continue to ignore this?. It takes no genius or studies to know that scorekeeping helps teach all of the good things we want for the kids. Just because something is just one part of many good ideas does not mean that it is also a good idea or a necessary step in order to achieve what you are trying to achieve.

If you don't want to subject kids to the idea of losing but want them in physical activities have them take up running, cheerleading or synchronized swimming for show. Those can teach teamwork. Stop it with the removing of scorekeeping. It is a completely unnecessary step and completely changes sport. It is not a minor tweak.

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#11 vagmittens
May 09 2013, 09:18AM
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previous to 2003, peewee hockey was 12-13year olds, bantam hockey was 14-15 year olds, midget hockey was 16-17 year olds. so when contact was introduced, the kids were 13. this all changed in 2003 when the age groups got mangled and re-arranged. so to introuduce contact in bantam now (13year olds) isnt a big deal except for the fact that now the have 2 less years of experience in contact hockey and are 2 years closer to junior hockey without this experience. this problem is when the age groupe were realigned back in 2003.

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#12 Romulus' Apotheosis
May 09 2013, 09:34AM
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Tikkanese wrote:

Why do you feel the need to belittle constantly and put words in people's mouth's that were not there in the first place? I'm sorry you're losing your argument and you feel the need for smoke screens.

I simply asked you about 5 seperate times to elaborate and for proof and only one out of three articles that you finally presented barely broaches the idea of removing scorekeeping and talks about a lot of other ideas. I like the other ideas. They would all improve sports, especially the coaching training overhaul. Why not just implement most or all of the other ideas without completely changing the entire point of sports by remvoing scorekeeping?

I could care less about the opinion pieces. I could care less if these places are producing some of the best soccer players in the world still, that is completely besides the point.

"As you seem to elide it, I'll state it again" That article even states very plainly that they don't know if removing scorekeeping is doing a disservice or not. Why do you continue to ignore this?. It takes no genius or studies to know that scorekeeping helps teach all of the good things we want for the kids. Just because something is just one part of many good ideas does not mean that it is also a good idea or a necessary step in order to achieve what you are trying to achieve.

If you don't want to subject kids to the idea of losing but want them in physical activities have them take up running, cheerleading or synchronized swimming for show. Those can teach teamwork. Stop it with the removing of scorekeeping. It is a completely unnecessary step and completely changes sport. It is not a minor tweak.

I'm sorry if I belittled you, but I don't think I did. Nor do I think I'm losing an argument.

You don't appear to address the rationale for the development model anywhere in your posts.

I offered a series of links offering everything from a summary of the postion, the arguments pro and con and the studies that suggest it is a viable option.

The quote you are so invested in is from a parent. It is not from the author of the article or from the CSA.

I think it is completely natural that people would react to the ideas of LTPD negatively. Quoting a skeptical parent simply offers the article the foil of the general public's confusion and anxiety about the new model.

It is hardly evidence the model is faulty, or untested.

I also have no idea why someone so committed to the idea that x will produce y ignores all the evidence that x doesn't in fact produce y in all the cases known to have tried x.

Again... your final paragraph reveals you miss the point of what LTPD is aiming for. If you are going to argue against something you have to apply the principle of charity, i.e., that the person advocating a position both genuinely holds that position and that the arguments they offer are the ones that matter.

No where in the LTPD literature is there the idea that people "don't want to subject kids to the idea of losing." This is a complete straw man.

The idea is to de-emphasize score keeping (note this doesn't mean de-emphasizing scoring) and emphasize a process of skill building.

If you disagree with this fine. It is totally valid to challenge that model. But to make a mockery of the actual position you disagree with isn't to argue against it.

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#13 Tikkanese
May 09 2013, 10:54AM
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Anyways,

Removing checking from Pee Wees will make it safer for that age group no doubt. So far from the small sample of evidence from Quebec it does not seem to increase concussions at the next level by much if at all. More time and data will prove that better either way.

I don't see why they don't have two streams of hockey at the checking level. That would keep even more kids playing the sport for longer. I know I would have kept playing longer if that was the case. There would even be the odd case of a kid playing a year or two of non contact then getting their growth spurt/confidence/skills/whatever was lacking, and switching to the contact league. Some kids get a late start in the sport and having contact coming at them in a mandatory way is not necessarily a good thing.

I also don't see why they don't look at seperating kids based on biological age instead of simply age whether there's checking involved or not. The accidental collisions I would think is safe to assume are a large contributer to injuries as well. If the kids are roughly the same size then injuries/concussions would be down from collisions be them accidental or not. Not to mention more years gaining teamwork skills etc from kids staying in the sport longer from lack of fear from playing with the bigger kids or whatever the case may be.

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#14 Zamboni Driver
May 09 2013, 11:55AM
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Btw...to clarify.

Absolute heroes are the Dad's who volunteer to coach.

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#15 ChrisG
May 10 2013, 07:20AM
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Good job Hockey AB!! I've been reading a lot of commentary on multiple websites and I've been reading Hockey Alberta's information on concussions and risks. I have not found a single coherent, well thought out argument why PeeWee hockey should have body checking. None. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but opinions are jut opinions. They don't come with statistical evidence. There is mountains of evidence that checking should be banned. If we listened to opinions, we might still think the Earth is flat, we wouldn't be washing our hands with soap and we wouldn't be wearing seatbelts. Hockey Alberta, you may take a lot of heat for this decision, but don't cave. You made the right choice and a ton of parents applaud you for taking the lead!!

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#16 The Dipstick
May 15 2013, 11:01AM
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A big change has to come from the cult of machismo. I remember as a kid getting more props for laying someone out than for scoring a goal. Body checks cause an increase in fighting and other violent acts. Most fights I got into as a minor all were a result of the other team retaliating to a body check. There is no need for youngsters to get tainted by violence at such a young age.

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#17 Oilersman
May 07 2013, 11:51PM
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Fist time for everything. I guess maybe it's time. I disagree though.

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#18 bwar
May 07 2013, 11:52PM
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I'm surprised the NHL doesn't take an approach similar to the NFL where they are teaching kids to play safer and encouraging coaches to take an active role in ensuring player safety. In my mind this is more of a "lets just deal with this later" attitude.

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#19 book¡e
May 08 2013, 12:04AM
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Well, for every kid that plays the game, that's two fewer years where they face the risks of injury from body checking. As you noted, a comprehensive study comparing one option vs the other was used as evidence.

Looks like a solid decision to me.

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#20 The Oilers Shot Clock
May 08 2013, 12:08AM
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I remember the size/weight differance between kids being at its greatest in bantam. I'm a bit surprised at the peewee ruling. Hockey is an injury filled sport with or without the checking. Refs losing control of games was the biggest issue back in my peewee,bantam days.

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#21 Travis Dakin
May 08 2013, 12:37AM
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There should be no hitting in any house division. That's when kids are just playlng for fun and exercise. At that age, immature, talentless kids with their first dose of testosterone tend to be a little reckless throwing their weight around (which can be a huge problem with teens developing at such varying rates). As a guy that was always one of the bigger, heavier, harder hitting guys growing up, I can say that it has no place in house league... At any age.

Save it for the rep players. The players that WANT to hit, better be good enough to play in a league that has hitting. If you can't play hockey well enough for a rep or select team, then you shouldn't have to worry about hitting. Skills and safety first. Check the ego at the door.

And don't give me the bs about not being fair to kids who can't afford to play rep. If they're good enough, they'll find a way to get them in. Otherwise, the poor kid will be just fine playing hockey without hitting.

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#22 Travis Dakin
May 08 2013, 12:43AM
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TheGunnShow wrote:

I posted similar comments to Gregor on twitter, but I felt like I had to say them here as well:

I come from the opposite camp of kids quitting the game because checking is too much for them.

I almost quit the game because there WASN'T checking.

Being a bigger kid in a no contact game is equally as heartbreaking and frustrating when you get punished because some kid bumps into you and falls down. There were many post game car rides that involved tears because of it.

Free the Giants.

This HAS to be a joke.

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#23 Travis Sarvas
May 08 2013, 12:48AM
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Body contact should be introduced earlier, not later! If you grow up playing full contact you will be better equipped to dealing with checking throughout your playing career, As opposed to getting a wake-up call in Bantam! Big, hormone fuelled teens given the go ahead to try checking for the first time.. great plan. Like you mentioned, give the coaches the proper tools. Teach the players to play heads up, and to properly take a check. Teach the players that checking is for removing a player from the puck, not for revenge. The earlier they learn that, the better!

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#24 Ryan2
May 08 2013, 01:01AM
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There is no clear cut answer to this issue. Granted, concussions were not monitored closely back when I played minor hockey not that long ago (who was not put back out when they had "their bell rung" to test things out and continued to play even though you were seeing spots and dizzy?), but as a coach of a Novice age player now I would rather have kids learn how to both deliver and take a hit properly from the get go. The earlier they start the better, IMHO, as the kids are so fast now thanks to power skating but they still think/react like a normal 6, 7 or 8 year old.

Watch any higher level Novice game and you will see a number of accidental collisions that could be avoided if the kids were more aware of where they were on the ice and protecting themselves. More importantly, there are several intentional body checks (we played against two teams where the coaches encouraged it) each game that are not usually called by the refs and result in players being hurt/injured.

Look at youth football as an example. They start teaching hitting and receiving a hit techniques from the get go. Heck, in Europe they even teach kids how to "tackle" properly for soccer from an early age. There is a technique to both giving and taking hits properly, as well as recognizing when you or your opponent is vulnerable and easing up, and the earlier the proper fundamentals are drilled into the kids the better the outcomes will be.

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#25 The Oilers Shot Clock
May 08 2013, 02:25AM
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Looking back at what we got away with. Rock fights, bikes with no helmets, cars with no childseats. I used to sleep on the top bed of the camper while we went on road trips. Like a loaded torpedo in a chute.

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#26 Curcro
May 08 2013, 04:16AM
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I am of the opinion that there needs to be both.

In a place like Alberta where there are opportunities to play, there is nothing wrong with running checking leagues for those that want it, and non-checking leagues for those that don't.

Then you put a bit more time and effort into the contact leagues, with more experienced referees and better training on contact.

Half the injuries when learning to hit, are because the players don't know how to take a hit. I remember playing a team, that had an injury literally every 2 minutes because they didn't do contact in practice.

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#27 NewfoundlandOil
May 08 2013, 05:32AM
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I agree with this decision. I see a few comments that checking is a part of hockey. Well it is at most advanced levels but is generally not a part of the game at most recreational levels.

When I play rec hockey with the boys we don't check, because each of us has to go to work the next day. Now that's not to say it doesn't get chippy from time to time. Similarly I don't want my kids exposed to a higher risk of injury just so they can go out and play rec hockey. They have to go to school the next day and I just don't see the point if these kids aren't playing at an elite level where they have been properly trained.

There is a big size difference in kids at the PeeWee level in both height and weight and I just don't think kids this age have the discretion necessary to throw a clean hit versus a dirty one.

We need to stop treating minor hockey like these kids are going pro. Most are not and player safety needs to be paramount.

This isn't going to make the kids "soft" so lets stop with the Don Cherry already.

I agree with Bantam as a reasonable age and also think Travis Dakin has a good perspective on it. Leave it to the skill players if their parents feel the risk is worth the reward. Otherwise let kids have fun playing the game without unnecessary risk of injury.

Rock fights at age 8 on the other hand....have at 'er. That sh$t is just fun!

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#28 Fresh Mess
May 08 2013, 05:45AM
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Long overdue. I've been hearing psychotic dads ranting about "good clean" hits to their kids for decades. It is often an obvious code for "put him through the boards".

It's supposed to be about fun, fitness, and sportsmanship.

If you want to teach your kids controlled violence put them in boxing.

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#29 106 and 106
May 08 2013, 05:54AM
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@TheGunnShow

Sure bud. Try being the 4'7 65 pound kid who gets hits squarely crunched into the numbers time and time again by the "farm-kids."

The STOP signs were a good call on the backs of the jerseys, but officiating and coaching need to factor in too.

I agree with the decision.

(I played 3 years after Peewee but too many reckless hits pulled me out of the game).

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#30 Cody anderson
May 08 2013, 06:05AM
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I hope to god this report is wrong.

I have coached, and I have a son that is second year atom. Most of the kids have been looking forward to and talking about contact for many years.

Granted there are a few that are scared of their first year of contact, but it really seems like the minority. I would have no issue with them introducing a non contact league or deciding the lowest 3 divisions in the league would be non contact.

The percentage of kids getting hurt in their first couple years of contact hockey will sky rocket. At bantam age kids are bigger, stronger, faster and quite often not as innocent. Peewee kids generally hit to seperate another kid from the puck. There are more kids in Bantam that hit with bad intentions.

This is also another attempt to change our game. To reduce contact and reduce fighting in Bantam, Junior, and professional hockey.

Leave the game alone!

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#31 Cody anderson
May 08 2013, 06:29AM
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How long until the over protective whimpy parents of today's society change high school football to flag football?

Will we allow them to make boxing and MMA illegal?

If you are too scared to allow your kids to get hit then put them in non contact sports. Don't put them in contact sports and then try changing the sport.

My obvious prediction: Without contact in Peewee hockey injuries to Peewee players will go down. Then at Bantam age when the kids are bigger and faster injuries will increase. Instead of reinstating contact in Peewee they will look at removing contact from Bantam.

Pathetic!

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#32 DrunkGuyTy
May 08 2013, 06:29AM
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@@Oilanderp

X 2

I'm of the belief you bring it into the game sooner rather than later. It is one of the skills of the game that some people at some point was less important. But is is a skill that is part of this great game.

And the pussification continues.

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#33 K_Mart
May 08 2013, 06:56AM
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I agree that house league shouldn't have hitting. For kids who are only playing for fun there is no need.

Also, with teens developing at such varying rates, hitting in rep leagues should be introduced earlier when there isn't a huge gap in size between the youngest smallest kid and the oldest and biggest kid. Furthermore, hockey leagues from novice to bantam should be divided better as far as age is concerned. Ever wonder why 80% of NHLers were born between January and April?

If you're a January baby you probably remember how dominant you were in second year atom or second year novice. And if you're a December baby I bet you remember struggling in first year novice and first year atom. The difference between a 12yr old and a 9 yr old is dramatic and I'm sure the prospect of being hit by a 6'0 180lb enigma when you're only 4'8" 100lbs is quite intimidating.Not only that, but the other guy has already had 365 extra days to practice hitting.

Bottom line is that hitting should be introduced earlier when there isn't such a huge variety in size between peers, and only in the rep leagues(A AA and AAA). The leagues can minimize size variation between peers by having hockey cutoff dates be only one year apart instead of two. Currently there is a 3yr gap between second year January babies and first year December babies.

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#34 Cody anderson
May 08 2013, 07:31AM
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K_Mart wrote:

I agree that house league shouldn't have hitting. For kids who are only playing for fun there is no need.

Also, with teens developing at such varying rates, hitting in rep leagues should be introduced earlier when there isn't a huge gap in size between the youngest smallest kid and the oldest and biggest kid. Furthermore, hockey leagues from novice to bantam should be divided better as far as age is concerned. Ever wonder why 80% of NHLers were born between January and April?

If you're a January baby you probably remember how dominant you were in second year atom or second year novice. And if you're a December baby I bet you remember struggling in first year novice and first year atom. The difference between a 12yr old and a 9 yr old is dramatic and I'm sure the prospect of being hit by a 6'0 180lb enigma when you're only 4'8" 100lbs is quite intimidating.Not only that, but the other guy has already had 365 extra days to practice hitting.

Bottom line is that hitting should be introduced earlier when there isn't such a huge variety in size between peers, and only in the rep leagues(A AA and AAA). The leagues can minimize size variation between peers by having hockey cutoff dates be only one year apart instead of two. Currently there is a 3yr gap between second year January babies and first year December babies.

This is a nice idea in theory. The problem with it is your grinders, checkers, and role players are not usually the players that made the rep leagues early on. My first year making a AA team was in bantam. I was the hardest worker on every team I was on and a good penalty killer.

The problem is at the younger ages a lot more emphasis is put on puck skills which I did not develop until later on.

If I was not allowed to hit until Bantam there is a good chance I would have never made that team and never developed into a good role player.

Why not make it an entirely different sport. Have contact hockey, and if there is enough call for it start a non contact league.

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#35 Cody anderson
May 08 2013, 07:39AM
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K_Mart, for the record my son was born December 28th.

3 days later and he would be in a different league.

It made a huge difference his 1st year as he played with and against all 2nd and 3rd year players. He was one of the smallest, slowest weakest players out there.

There is still a noticable hight difference between him and a lot of the kids, but he certainly holds his own in the corners and along the boards.

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#36 clyde
May 08 2013, 07:42AM
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Travis Sarvas wrote:

Body contact should be introduced earlier, not later! If you grow up playing full contact you will be better equipped to dealing with checking throughout your playing career, As opposed to getting a wake-up call in Bantam! Big, hormone fuelled teens given the go ahead to try checking for the first time.. great plan. Like you mentioned, give the coaches the proper tools. Teach the players to play heads up, and to properly take a check. Teach the players that checking is for removing a player from the puck, not for revenge. The earlier they learn that, the better!

You make some very good points. I am coaching our PEE WEE Major AA team as my son moves into 1st year. We have been introducing removal from the puck concepts, rolling off checks and driving through since 1st year atom to prepare the kids. We do need more education as right now a coach only need an 8 hour hitting course that really is not enough. If it is removed, I will adjust and keep the skill of puck removal as part of my on going developmental plan in order for these kids to be ready in a further 2 years.

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#37 Archaeologuy
May 08 2013, 07:55AM
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I fall in line with the Pro Hitting camp, but I understand why some would want it out. Some kids at that age are Man-Children and some look like twigs. That said, Hockey is a Contact sport. Period.

I would love to see a stream where parents could put their kids into and know that it's safer, but I also think there should be one where kids learn how to play the actual game that includes contact.

I wouldnt put my son or daughter into a Contact sport and be upset when one gets injured, but maybe I'm weird that way.

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#38 oliveoilers
May 08 2013, 07:59AM
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Ok, so it's likely that checking will be banned in pee-wee. I would still like to see it coached however. Just the basics of taking a check, when to give a check and what to absolutely not do when checking. Kids still get train-tracked, so teaching them to lessen the impact can't hurt for those unavoibable collisions. Clean checking is a part of hockey. All those people saying "bigger kids put me out of hockey".....well maybe hockey at a high level wasn't for you. I love rugby but am aware that my size puts me at a disadvantage. I still enjoy it from the sidelines, and playing at a very amatuer level. Having an astronaut suit doesn't make you an astronaut.

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#39 Eddie Shore
May 08 2013, 08:04AM
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I never heard of anyone quitting hockey because of hitting while I was growing up. Sounds to me like the parents are the ones that are scared.

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#40 JonnyK
May 08 2013, 08:12AM
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Instead of moving the hitting age back, remove it completely. Let the kids start in flyweight. By doing this you remove the big shock of playing contact hockey, because let's face it there's a pile of kids who shy away from hockey once hitting is involved. I'm not saying lets let 6 year olds kick the snot out of each other, instead show them the proper way to take and recieve a hit when they're young. How much damage could these kids do anyways? All you do by moving the hitting age to bantam is create more seperation from the kids who want to hit and the kids who don't, or are too scared. I could get more in depth on why this idea is terrible but as a hockey player who's played organized hockey since I was 4 I've already noticed that it isn't hockey players who make decisions, it's the uppity city folk and yuppie soccer moms who run the show. I'm 22 and even though I don't have any kids of my own yet, I don't see a future for my kids the way hockey is becoming, not because its too violent, but because too many people are controlling the game who shouldn't be. This is probably just a big waste of typing but moving the hitting age back is a complete joke.

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#41 Travis Dakin
May 08 2013, 08:27AM
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Cody anderson wrote:

This is a nice idea in theory. The problem with it is your grinders, checkers, and role players are not usually the players that made the rep leagues early on. My first year making a AA team was in bantam. I was the hardest worker on every team I was on and a good penalty killer.

The problem is at the younger ages a lot more emphasis is put on puck skills which I did not develop until later on.

If I was not allowed to hit until Bantam there is a good chance I would have never made that team and never developed into a good role player.

Why not make it an entirely different sport. Have contact hockey, and if there is enough call for it start a non contact league.

They can start hitting as early as they want in rep leagues. Taking and delivering hits are the EASIEST thing to learn. The bigger kids like you and I were would be just fine if we were introduced later. If a coach put you on a rep team because you were a good "grinder" then I'd wager he didn't make it far as a coach. Hockey skills first.

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#42 Travis Dakin
May 08 2013, 08:31AM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

I never heard of anyone quitting hockey because of hitting while I was growing up. Sounds to me like the parents are the ones that are scared.

That's a huge part of it. You're still thinking old school. Old timey hockey. But talk to a lot of parents with kids who aren't on hockey and ask them why. I'll bet that many will cite fear of injuries due to hitting their kid as the reason.

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#43 FireguyD3
May 08 2013, 08:33AM
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Long time reader first post.

My son just finished Pee-Wee and will be in Bantam next year. I have been a coach since Novice. No need to take hitting out of the game, Education and awareness are the keys. I teach my kids when to hit and when not to hit. Granted they don't always listen but for the most part it works. Also hitting was part of our practice from day one. Yes we had injuries, but more due to the fact that other kids would take the "dirty" hit, not so much the kid not being ready for it. Refs need to be better educated so they can put a stop to the bad hits early in the game. Kids see that refs are not making calls and they feed off that, and as the game goes on the hits get worse, my kids were no better, you can preach clean hits on the bench all game, if they get a chance and they know they are not getting a penalty they will take it. Don't take hitting out of the game, educate sooner, give coaches more tools to teach the game and educate young ref's to make the calls sooner. Keep the game fun for everyone!

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#44 Travis Dakin
May 08 2013, 08:33AM
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I just don't understand people, hitting isn't necessary. Let kids develop hockey skills and have fun. Those that want to hit, play rep. That's where it's more competetive and has a place. Check your egos and cool the testosterone a bit there boys.

God, I used to try to injure guys because I was big, it looked awesome and impressed my buddies.... And because I was an immature, testosterone filled moron. I look back now and just can't see what value that ever had. I should have been working on my hands and learning how to play better defensively.

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#45 Harlie
May 08 2013, 08:34AM
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Another nail added to the No Hitting League coffin.

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#46 the yak
May 08 2013, 08:39AM
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A couple of my best friends are from BC. They grew up playing hockey where hitting is introduced in Bantam, and we have had several conversations about hitting. They both like the Alberta system better. Why should we introduce the physical game when kids are much stronger and faster. It's Chaos, and kids do get hurt more.

People who played in BC have the gift of hindsight in regards to this idea, and most will tell you hitting should be introduced as soon as possible. Not after these boys gave grown another 2 years. Bantam players are too fast too strong to be learning how to give and more importantly take a hard check.

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#47 Travis Dakin
May 08 2013, 08:42AM
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the yak wrote:

A couple of my best friends are from BC. They grew up playing hockey where hitting is introduced in Bantam, and we have had several conversations about hitting. They both like the Alberta system better. Why should we introduce the physical game when kids are much stronger and faster. It's Chaos, and kids do get hurt more.

People who played in BC have the gift of hindsight in regards to this idea, and most will tell you hitting should be introduced as soon as possible. Not after these boys gave grown another 2 years. Bantam players are too fast too strong to be learning how to give and more importantly take a hard check.

Because they are playing for fun! It's friggin house league. Let the actual good hockey players hit. The ones in rep.

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#48 j
May 08 2013, 08:43AM
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It is interesting how people are waxing poetic about their youth and how we have become so protective. Kids weren't allowed to hit in pee wee until 2003. Before that, kids had to wait until bantam. Wasn't hockey entertaining in the 80s? This decision is reverting us to previous practices which had served us pretty well I would say. Comparisons to other sports are invalid and impossible. Kids on skates = forces that can cause serious harm given the height/weight discrepancies. At least when they are older, most have developed foundational strength, coordination and some on-ice awareness. Let the kids play for fun. Some of the dads posting here are demonstrating where the real problem lies - parents' unfulfilled glory.

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#49 YFC Prez
May 08 2013, 08:43AM
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Oh and I also like the idea of no hitting leagues. I was a big kid and I quit in Pee wee cause I didn't like the pressure checking added to my game. Hitting was no fun for me and I quit playing. So I guess add contact as early as possible or not at all.

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#50 Bruce McCurdy
May 08 2013, 08:44AM
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Whatever age they introduce hitting at, in my opinion it should be a one-year category so that everybody at that level is learning to hit and take a hit at the same time. The way it stands, be it Pee Wee or Bantam, you have some kids with a whole year of hitting under their belt playing against other kids who are just getting introduced to it. A two-year group especially at that age is also likely to have more size mismatches between the older and younger kids.

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