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.

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#51 mayorblaine
May 08 2013, 08:44AM
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i think it is a sensible and overdue decision based on what we know now.

we've never have had such access to information on brains and sport injury (effect over time) so readily as we do today. it is not only important that we recognize it but it is our responsibility.

i never ever wore a helmet on my bike growing up. ever. my parents also never had the internet and stories from head related injuries and death throughout the world. had they, i would have had a helmet.

denying/ignoring information for the sake of percieved "wussification" is so so dumb.

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#52 Harlie
May 08 2013, 08:45AM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

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.

My parents wouldn't pay for me for Pee Wee Rep so I had to play House League even though I could have made a rep team. I was a smaller guy and had good wheels and balance and was a big hitter and I enjoyed taking guys out much bigger than me.

Last game in the last tourney of the year, in Pee Wee. There was a Dustin Nielson type of giant on the opposing team defence. I used to get a lot if breakaway goals from rushing the defence man and blocking his shot in my pads and I was off to the races. I was able to force the giant into a couple turnovers but near the end of the second he started wishing up and side stepping me at the last second.

The voice in my head from my coaches was "if the guy is bigger than you, go low as you can and hit below the waist." So I'm taking my run at the giant, and instead of flamingoing for the puck in my shins I dive head first at his legs and make huge contact on the the quad of his leg that we had all his weight on with my right shoulder.

I bounced off the giants leg like it was a rubber band and it was a yard sale with him and me both rolling on the ice. Me, my shoulder, him his leg.

So get back to the bench and try to shake off the pain and my shoulder blows up like a balloon.

Long story short, 4 hour operation later with a pin in my shoulder and it in a sling for all of the summer and my parents (mostly Mom) said that my paying days were over.

Then I discovered beer..

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#53 Matt Henderson
May 08 2013, 08:45AM
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@FireguyD3

Good job on your first post. Hope to see many more!

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#54 justDOit
May 08 2013, 08:48AM
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Are Daniel and Henrik too old for Pee Wee?

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#55 BigOil
May 08 2013, 08:48AM
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@Travis Dakin

You and people like you are the ones ruining the game of hockey.

You probably want to give them medals just for showing up too.

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#56 book¡e
May 08 2013, 08:50AM
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The theory about 'learning to hot while young' was disproven by studies comparing leagues that follow different rules. 'Saw it good' does not stand up to the facts when tested.

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#57 book¡e
May 08 2013, 08:52AM
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The theory about 'learning to hot while young' was disproven by studies comparing leagues that follow different rules. 'Saw it good' does not stand up to the facts when tested.

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#58 mayorblaine
May 08 2013, 08:53AM
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@Travis Dakin

agreed. good points.

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#59 Romulus' Apotheosis
May 08 2013, 08:54AM
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Looks like we've got a classic case of duelling culture panics!

These kinds of cases always amuse me for the way they draw out broader cultural narratives of anxiety that inevitably get imposed on a particular situation.

In this case, we could easily see the "bubble wrap" set squaring off against the "decline of the manly west" set.

I'm not sure either of these panics have much to say to this particular case.

Empirical evidence is really the only thing that matters here.

"Skill" as a catch-all is both far more important to hockey than checking and finds a more receptive partner for learning in early development.

The risk to injury at a young age is both higher and least necessary to hockey development.

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#60 Eddie Shore
May 08 2013, 08:55AM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

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.

Parents are scared little Johnny is going to get hurt. If Johnny and his friends were taught how to properly hit from day 1 would it not seem to reason that the kids would be more properly prepared to give and receive checks?

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#61 Reg Dunlop
May 08 2013, 08:55AM
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'Oh $hit! Its pee-wee hockey, not the NHL! I think I screwed up again.' Kevin Lowe.

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#62 book¡e
May 08 2013, 08:56AM
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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.

The opinions of 'a couple of your friends' is irrelevant in the face of a scientific study comparing injury rates across two leagues with different rules

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#63 slats432
May 08 2013, 08:58AM
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Interesting point that I agree with Travis. I coach Peewee, and there are devastating hits. Many of them taken by larger players on smaller players because of the advantage.

I saw several concussions this year, and if they take it out this year, my son, who is a great hitter, will actually have a distinct disadvantage by this rule. I support it.

Hitting should be for the highest level, because the players should be more aware, better skaters, and more able to have it a part of their game.

I have seen kids quit or not even play hockey because of the style of sport/hitting.

There is no right or wrong answer because I played to Junior, and was fine with hitting. As a hockey parent and coach, I endorse this decision.

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#64 Travis Dakin
May 08 2013, 08:58AM
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BigOil wrote:

@Travis Dakin

You and people like you are the ones ruining the game of hockey.

You probably want to give them medals just for showing up too.

That's the second stupidest thing I've read in this thread. Yes, I'm ruining the game of hockey because I want kids to focus on learning how to play with the puck before they learn how to separate others from It. Have you not been paying attention to the concussion issues plaguing the game? Do you think kids have the wherewithal to avoid delivering head shots?

Hitting can be in hockey. It has a place and it can be awesome. All I'm saying is, let the kids who play competetive hockey deal with it.

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#65 Eddie Shore
May 08 2013, 09:00AM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

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

This is not a house-league only issue though.

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#66 Travis Dakin
May 08 2013, 09:02AM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Parents are scared little Johnny is going to get hurt. If Johnny and his friends were taught how to properly hit from day 1 would it not seem to reason that the kids would be more properly prepared to give and receive checks?

You apparently forget what it like to be a kid. Or perhaps, I was the only kid who valued destroying another kid, to look awesome in front of my peers, over other kid's safety.

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#67 Travis Dakin
May 08 2013, 09:05AM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

This is not a house-league only issue though.

It should be. Taking it out of peewee is an early step in the long, slow process of people finally catching up to the scientific facts. Head injuries=bad.

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#68 Eddie Shore
May 08 2013, 09:07AM
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Taking hitting out of PeeWee will only shift the injuries to a different age group. This is an attempt at a bandaid fix, not a solution.

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#69 Romulus' Apotheosis
May 08 2013, 09:09AM
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book¡e wrote:

The theory about 'learning to hot while young' was disproven by studies comparing leagues that follow different rules. 'Saw it good' does not stand up to the facts when tested.

Tell me more about this:

"learning to hot while young"

It's like a Penthouse Forum story translated into Japanese and then back into English.

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#70 mayorblaine
May 08 2013, 09:09AM
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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.

i was a tall and gangly kid and i did quit hockey in PeeWee. Loved hockey didn't have the aggresive nature. not for me.

as a parent i can say honestly say that yes i am scared for my kids safety. i wake up every single day for them. that's the only reason, my family. so call me a scaredy cat for being concerned BASED ON FACTS AND INFORMATION that my kids safety could be at risk.

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#71 Travis Dakin
May 08 2013, 09:15AM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Taking hitting out of PeeWee will only shift the injuries to a different age group. This is an attempt at a bandaid fix, not a solution.

Eventually, hopefully, it will be taken out of all house leagues.

http://www.ucalgary.ca/knes/news/bodychecking

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#72 Eddie Shore
May 08 2013, 09:16AM
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@mayorblaine

So you will not allow your kids to play any sport with an inherent risk of injury?

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#73 Eddie Shore
May 08 2013, 09:17AM
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Travis Dakin wrote:

Eventually, hopefully, it will be taken out of all house leagues.

http://www.ucalgary.ca/knes/news/bodychecking

I have no issues with it being eliminated from house leagues.

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#74 tileguy
May 08 2013, 09:20AM
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bubble wrap vs manly west lil cricket my first rifle vs toy guns get you expelled republican democrat rich poor.

Compromise has to be the solution, stop taking the facts and twisting them for your own cause.

Bruce McCurdy had a great idea, a one year tier where everybody learns to hit at the same time.

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. Then seperate house league no hit from rep big hit.

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#75 Quicksilver ballet
May 08 2013, 09:21AM
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All these rules brought in, were intended to make the game a little safer. Looks to me like the only thing it's accomplished is paving the way for women to soon be playing in the NHL. Players can't even throw a clean stiff bodycheck now without getting suspended or having to fight.

Feel sorry for the generation of hockey fans that weren't able to witness the 80's version of the NHL. Every team had half a dozen good players, and the players policed themselves. The NHL isn't what it used to be, thanks to all these agents and lawyers. Death by paper cut appears to be imminent.

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#76 tileguy
May 08 2013, 09:21AM
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ps, best thread in 3 months, hope this one keeps going for a couple of days.

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#77 Ducey
May 08 2013, 09:22AM
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I coach three teams every year including a Bantam team.

I used to be of the mindset of many of you that hitting should be part of the game, but I am not anymore.

I grew up hitting from a young age and I loved hitting.

But the reality is that we now know that concussions cause long term brain damage. We also know that 99.5% of the kids that play will never play professional hockey.

I have seen kids get multiple concussions over a number of years. Their ability to deal with life and school is diminished for weeks or sometimes more. We now know this can impact them later in life too.

Why are we putting our kids at risk of long term brain damage? I would hope that someone has a better argument than "because its part of the game".

I coach my daughters Pee Wee team and the hockey is just as good, if not better, than the boys at the same level. There are lots of rub outs and physical play (go watch the Pandas sometime). There are just no bone jarring hits.

Good decision by Hockey Alberta.

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#78 mayorblaine
May 08 2013, 09:26AM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

So you will not allow your kids to play any sport with an inherent risk of injury?

no i will just take the information presented and available and make the best decisions i can. i will support them whatever they choose. but their safety is foremost.

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#79 VK63
May 08 2013, 09:31AM
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Although I find the checking clinic and subsequent drills available through hockey alberta and other sources effective and quite thorough. The only thing that fully illustrates the cause and effect of improper technique associated with hitting is getting hit. Its a conundrum that simply cannot be replicated in a drill as most of the malice and intensity that comes from game play is exclusive to the adrenaline that exists during the course of play.

All the keep your head up talk in the world is weak prattle compared to getting hit with your head down. That act, in and of itself is the teaching tool that drives home the point.

Personally I think bantam is rather late to get that education. Many kids will have been in "pussy" hockey for as long as 8 years before they are placed in a real on ice situation. The bad habits associated with head down, toe drag, puck hog styles of play that are concurrent with "rec" style approaches will be even more ingrained than they currently are coming out of atom hockey.

I understand the Hockey Alberta motivation as numbers are shrinking for a plethora of reasons and hitting is one of many. Being the easiest to justify, champion and mandate it has a predictability to it.

This also affords AMH the opportunity to use kids to ref peewee hockey as it now becomes a non contact division. This is a predictable extension of the abuse that more senior officials take at the hands of coaches, players and parents in contact hockey. As much as player numbers are shrinking, adults interested in taking on the abuse associated with reffing minor hockey has cratered. AND.. I don't blame them a bit.

If hockey alberta would actually enforce the respect in sports protocols that they have for parents and coaches you would find parking lots full of non compliant violators waiting for their kids to finish their games. And frankly. The kids would probably be better off without the cancerous elements in the building..... but alas... then the numbers would shrink even more.

And in the end.... if there is an element of any decision with a financial element attached to it... there are agendas at work.

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#80 Ducey
May 08 2013, 09:32AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

All these rules brought in, were intended to make the game a little safer. Looks to me like the only thing it's accomplished is paving the way for women to soon be playing in the NHL. Players can't even throw a clean stiff bodycheck now without getting suspended or having to fight.

Feel sorry for the generation of hockey fans that weren't able to witness the 80's version of the NHL. Every team had half a dozen good players, and the players policed themselves. The NHL isn't what it used to be, thanks to all these agents and lawyers. Death by paper cut appears to be imminent.

We are talking about 11 and 12 year old kids, FFS.

Maybe ONE of them in the City playing PeeWee this year will make the NHL someday.

What goes on in Pee Wee hockey and the NHL are completely seperate issues.

There a plenty of '80's NHL players that can't enjoy their retirement because of long term brain injury. Was it worth it just so you could be entertained?

Things have changed due to science, not lawyers.

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#81 Eddie Shore
May 08 2013, 09:32AM
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mayorblaine wrote:

no i will just take the information presented and available and make the best decisions i can. i will support them whatever they choose. but their safety is foremost.

I don't see how this minimizes the risk, all it does is transfer it to a different age group of players. To me, this is more of an education/coaching/attitude issue.

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#82 MarcusBillius
May 08 2013, 09:33AM
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I was set on making my kids play soccer and lacrosse rather than hockey. Partly the equipment cost, partly the more convenient schedules, but mostly due to the concussion issues. I'd rather my son come home with a broken finger or fractured arm from a vicious slash than suffer concussions. Bones heal. Brains... it's hit and miss.

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#83 MarcusBillius
May 08 2013, 09:34AM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

I don't see how this minimizes the risk, all it does is transfer it to a different age group of players. To me, this is more of an education/coaching/attitude issue.

Yeah, and if you have one jackass coach who likes it when his players run the other team, what are you going to do about it?

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#84 madjam
May 08 2013, 09:34AM
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Taking body checking out of all recreational hockey is fine . The top end , of which there are very few to begin with can be introduced to the physical game beyond PeeWee, and only to those few that are good enough to maybe look to a career in the sport .

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#85 Chaz
May 08 2013, 09:35AM
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Bruce McCurdy wrote:

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.

Totally agree, although changing the entire structure of how the age groups are organized might be a non-starter.

I also agree that there should be two stream available; hitting and non-hitting.

It's a tough issue and the Old Time Hockey part of me wants to say keep it as it is and teach the kids to hit, but it would be negligent not to address the issue.

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#86 Truth
May 08 2013, 09:36AM
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Horrible decision. Body contact is an integral part of the game and always should be. The size, speed, and strength difference of the kids in Bantam is exponentially greater in Bantam than Peewee. The game is totally different without contact in it, players will develop habits in Peewee that will get them in serious trouble in Bantam, especially the newcomers getting hit by the second (and I believe third) year players.

After playing competitive hockey for most of my young life I now play no contact men's league. I am absolutely positive if I changed back into contact hockey now I would have my clock cleaned due to the fact that the game is played much differently if the threat of being hit is absent.

True story: I know of parents that do not allow their children in the school parks due to the height of some of the apparatus'. Could it be these people be making these ridiculous rules?

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#87 Eddie Shore
May 08 2013, 09:39AM
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MarcusBillius wrote:

Yeah, and if you have one jackass coach who likes it when his players run the other team, what are you going to do about it?

What does this have to do with what I said? What am I supposed to do, either way?

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#88 mayorblaine
May 08 2013, 09:45AM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

I don't see how this minimizes the risk, all it does is transfer it to a different age group of players. To me, this is more of an education/coaching/attitude issue.

you are absolutely right those are very pertinent issues.

what is a reasonable age to introduce something that cannot be controlled (no amount of education will change that) that has real potential to cause long term health issues?

i think todays announcement is a acknowledgement of that. a very good step.

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#89 YFC Prez
May 08 2013, 09:48AM
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This is a very interesting thread. I agree with Trut that hitting should be introduced when the size speed and strength of these kids is at a lower level. This notion that introducing hitting in bantam would cause less injuries is rubbish. Let the kids learn when they are younger and teach them properly.

On the flip side I would also LOVE to see kids get the chance to play in a no contact league. I quit hockey in pee wee cause I couldn't stand the parents screaming at me to hit my friends. Some kids don't want to play a overly physical game..I was one. Hitting took a lot of the fun out of the game for me, A lot of kids will not admit this because the pressure of playing hockey growing up is insane.

I have more fun playing as a man in beer leagues than I ever did playing as a kid...there's something wrong with that.

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#90 TigerUnderGlass
May 08 2013, 09:55AM
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You guys are so right. Screw that 10 year old kid who forgot to keep his head up for a moment while some little prick decided to run him. It's his own fault if his life gets ruined from concussions right?

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#91 Matt Henderson
May 08 2013, 10:19AM
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Cant we all just agree that Travis is ruining hockey?

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#92 TigerUnderGlass
May 08 2013, 10:23AM
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Matt Henderson wrote:

Cant we all just agree that Travis is ruining hockey?

That consensus was reached in 2009.

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#93 Tyler
May 08 2013, 10:30AM
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This is a terrible. I understand not wanting children to be injured, however, this is not the correct way to fix the problem. By Bantam the height and strength difference is the largest issue. Some kids are men, others are still boys. This, combine with the fact that hitting is new, and bad habits of taking/making suicide passes, skating with head down, etc, are already in place. The penalty that children will pay in unlearning these habits will be massive with the size differential. Let children learn how to play, with contact, from Atom or even Novice on, when the children are largely the same size and the ability to injure each other is much less. This would be a much better route in my opinion.

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#94 Truth
May 08 2013, 10:38AM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

You guys are so right. Screw that 10 year old kid who forgot to keep his head up for a moment while some little prick decided to run him. It's his own fault if his life gets ruined from concussions right?

10/11 year olds are Atom I believe.

If you are saying that an 75 lbs 12 year old getting hit by a 85 lbs 13 year old is more damaging than a 90 lbs 14 year old getting hit by a 160 lbs 15 year old I do not understand the point.

Contact in hockey is inevitable. Delaying the proper education and ingraining of the proper style of play necessary to safely play the game of hockey until the kids are bigger stronger and faster is a mistake. The only instance it would not be a mistake is if contact is not to be introduced at all.

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#95 Benson
May 08 2013, 10:39AM
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@K_Mart

Spot-on brother.

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#96 madjam
May 08 2013, 10:43AM
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Times are changing , go with safety first . Womens hockey , even at pro level does not allow the sort of hits some refer to . Physical hockey should be restricted to the very few that ( less than 5% ) that are good enough to make a career attempt . Develop your other skills first and foremost . You'll get plenty of other opportunity in growing up to develop getting hit and how to receive and take . Like most I suspect , I left competitive hockey and other sports when I was expected to use my tuffs to initiate , rather than just protect myself or teammates . Not my disposition to do so . Keep the sport of hockey , it does not have to be overly physical to enjoy and flourish . Pro level is a different level .

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#97 TigerUnderGlass
May 08 2013, 10:59AM
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Truth wrote:

10/11 year olds are Atom I believe.

If you are saying that an 75 lbs 12 year old getting hit by a 85 lbs 13 year old is more damaging than a 90 lbs 14 year old getting hit by a 160 lbs 15 year old I do not understand the point.

Contact in hockey is inevitable. Delaying the proper education and ingraining of the proper style of play necessary to safely play the game of hockey until the kids are bigger stronger and faster is a mistake. The only instance it would not be a mistake is if contact is not to be introduced at all.

FFS - fine. The 11 year old. Some of those kids won't turn 12 until December. Better?

Can you show me where I said anything of the sort?

I do love the way so many of you believe your own opinions hold more weight than detailed studies on the issue.

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#98 jamelan4
May 08 2013, 11:07AM
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Kids should be brought up hitting when they are still in novice, this way they learn to respect hitting growing up. In bantam puberty starts setting in horemones are going crazy and many teenage kids want to impress their buddies by taking someones head off. Don't increase the age.... lower it. Hockey is a physical sport that is why we Albertans love it.

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#99 YFC Prez
May 08 2013, 11:10AM
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@TigerUnderGlass

do you know where I can find some of these detailed studies?

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#100 Steve
May 08 2013, 11:11AM
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Those that think this will somehow transfer the injuries to Bantam are flat out wrong, and I don't understand how you can actually think that.

For arguments sake, let's say the current number of hit-related injuries in League A Peewee is 100, and the number of injuries in League B Bantam is 150. If they change the rule, do you think the number of concussions in Bantam will go up to 250? That's greater than a 50% increase. The notion is absurd!

I can accept that injuries in Bantam might go up by 5% or so, but the total number of injuries between the two leagues will most definitely go down. By a lot.

My daughter like to watch the older teenage girls play, and it's really good hockey. Hitting is not necessary to play hockey. It's a way to expel aggression.

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