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?


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.


  • Obviously hitting vs no hitting is going to reduce the injury risk…but its also common sense that the players with a year of hitting experience are going to be a very real danger to kids without hitting experience.
    So its fine to compare only the injury rates in the two years where hitting is allowed and not allowed (AB vs QC). If you look further the injury rate in Bantam in AB goes down, vs a rise injury rate in Bantam in QC…so all that is being accomplished is moving the injury bubble.

    What that injury bubble tells me is that there needs to be a year where all the first year players introduced to hitting can play only against players of that same birth year. In order to accommodate a Bantam 13 league or something of that ilk.
    Peewee 11-12 no hitting
    Bantam 13 Hitting introduced
    Bantam 14-15
    Midget 16-17
    Opportunity for Bantam 15 year olds to try out for MIdget AAA only…the way it was 7 years ago .
    If player safety comes first that would be the recommended model, along with the age change.
    Problem is dont expect HA or HC to give in to Major Junior and eliminate the Midget 15 in order to isolate a year for hitting introduction…

  • Truth

    A great breakout in no-hit hockey: Defenceman pass puck to winger on defensive half-boards, winger tips puck to far winger streaking in the middle of ice around the blueline to split defensive coverage and allow the center to get on the far side of the opposing d-man for a quick break or odd-man rush.

    This same play in hit hockey: Defenceman pass puck to winger on defensive half-boards, winger tips puck to far winger streaking in the middle of the ice around the blueline to split defensive coverage. Defenseman steps up and far winger left looking like Lars Eller.

  • I just heard they are removing keeping score in soccer up until they are 12 to avoid hurting kids feelings.

    I would be interested in taking a poll to see how many people that are anti contact are also anti spanking and anti score keeping.

    • Rocket

      What? I didn’t know they do that in children’s soccer. I played both hockey & soccer as a kid.

      I was small & weak but I still learned how to score & hit.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      You don’t find it odd, I take it, that the countries that produce the best football players use this model?

      It seems they have managed to maintain their competitive edge by developing fundamentals and leaving the parental desire for ego-victories at the door.

      • I think not keeping score when kids are young ruins their competitve spirit, which is one of the best parts of athletics. I want my kids to strive to be the best at whatever they choose to do.

        I think this also teaches kids to deal with failure.

        I think society as a whole is coddling and devloping an entire generation of soft, whimpy, whiney kids that will grow into adults that have trouble coping in the real world.

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          Yes. of course you do.

          However, as I said earlier, we are far too prone to push morality plays onto decisions like this.

          Your concerns have almost nothing to do with what is at stake here and have not bothered to take the relevant arguments into account. You are simply offering a reactionary cultural spasm.

          The stereotypical “helicopter parent” “everyone is special” vs. “feminization of culture” “decline of the manly west” yadayada debate has nothing to do with what is at stake here.

          The development models being pursued by the CSA are all about breeding winners.

          Read that again. Winners.

          They aren’t interested in giving away candy and participation ribbons to everyone, nor are they interested in parading children around as winners/losers.

          This is some kind of cultural fantasy that allows people to get angry about something very far from the matter at hand.

          What they are interested in is maximizing the time spent with kids when they are most pliable to learning skill sets needed to WIN when they are older. What they have found is that those skill sets are best developed in an environment that concentrates on them and treats the score indifferently.

          Notice that indifference is radically different from the highly invested “everyone is a winner” model.

          • There is public skating, playing pass in the driveway, stickhandling drills and all of those kinds of things to develop children’s skills.

            I would not put my kid in a sport that did not keep score, because in my opinion it is no longer a sport.

            That being said, I first and foremost want to make sure my children have fun playing sports.

            I reward good actions or hard work, not the result. To my kids, and most I have seen the result is what motivates them. They will go to the net to score a goal not because that is a good place to be later on if you happen to make it to a competitve level.

      • Tikkanese

        Why punish the 49/50 parents that want their children to learn teamwork to achieve goals, overcome failure, that effort produces results and on and on all to leave the “parental desire for ego-victories at the door” for the one bad parent out of 50, when different forms of political correctness is weeding that out on its own anyways?

        The vast majority of these kids will have quit by that age anyways, whether they keep scoring or not.

        Instead let’s teach kids to just go out and have fun for yourself and do whatever you want out there with no consequences. Don’t bother being a good teammate or try to achieve anything of value. You know, have society working together to better society in other words. Instill that at a young age so that it is set in for life. But it’s ok because less than 1% of the kids using this format are doing it succesfully elsewhere being the best football players in the world. That’s all that matters, the one percenters.

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          How have you managed to conclude that not keeping score is anathema from learning “teamwork” how to “achieve goals, overcome failure… produce results” etc?

          The whole point is that there is more going in on learning than a simple, isolated and highly contingent event outcome.

          i.e., those things you covet are learned and are learned better in a context that focuses on them and treats those highly contingent and singular outcomes with indifference.

          • Tikkanese

            How is a kid is going to learn those things when the most obvious and tangible point to playing sports is treated with indifference? Care to elaborate? How does making every kid on the field touch the ball before you can shoot help teach teamwork or anything if it doesn’t matter if there is no point to taking the shot? You’re just teaching them to go through the motions with no real goals.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            1. do children engaged in an outdoors club, or Scouts, or a school band, etc. where there is no such thing as a “score” not learn those things you covet, i.e., “teamwork” how to “achieve goals, overcome failure… produce results” etc?

            your POV on learning, development, acculturation, etc. is extraordinarily narrow if you limit it to single, highly contingent event outcomes.

            2. Why do you thing treating the score with indifference = treating anything else related to the development of a athlete with indifference?

            3. why are you limiting “goals”, ie outcomes, to single, highly contingent event outcomes?

            The CSA is trying to de-emphasize singular outcomes in order to build a better process that results in better outcomes down the road.

          • Tikkanese

            Sports are sports. Scouts, band camp etc are not sports or even all that similar for that matter. Those however do all have tangible goals that require teamwork to achieve. Whether it is building camp, doing charity work together, winning a recital or whatever bands do, or simply practicing and eventually playing a song perfectly together just because. You can’t do those things in sports. Executing a set play to score a meaningless goal doesn’t mean anything to anyone.

            You are failing miserably to explain how sports without keeping score has tangible goals or how it will teach using teamwork to achieve goals and all of those other good things. You are pretty much only trolling at this point.

            YAY we each scored a goal or did our part in preventing goals! We all did our part; goalie, defence and forwards! We won the game/season/championship or saw and learned from seeing how the other team did all those things together properly and won! Wait, what? No we didn’t because we don’t keep score? It doesn’t matter if the goalie Timmy saved the shot or not? YAY nobody lost so we are all winners!

            YAY we all contributed and built this house properly and to code(because Health and Safety is keeping score) so this family can live a happy life! Wait, what? It doesn’t matter if we tried? Doesn’t matter if Timmy used glue instead of nails? Nobody’s keeping score? We showed up and swumg hammers and did stuff aimlessly! YAY we are all winners, especially this family who owns the house!

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            You are basically saying in one case the things you covet can be developed absent keeping score but in another they can’t.

            However, you’ve offered nothing other than your own sense that the drive to excel, work together and learn dies on the vine in sports. Magically apparently.

            Except that we’ve already run the test models.

            This isn’t an abstract question.

            Those models that employ a skills development orientation produce exceptional results, competitive results down the line.

            There is no evidence athletes emerge less competitive on this model.

            Read about it. You seem to know nothing about the actual arguments being used here…




            What’s happening here… despite claims to the contrary is that people are starting to take youth athletic development much more seriously.

            This isn’t some hands-off, never get dirty model. This is a laboratory for building winners. These people aren’t concerned mothers. They are trying to gain a competitive edge.

  • Rocket

    Wow people are fired up about this!

    Seriously though maybe little Johnny or Billy, when learning how to bodycheck, can teach Jordan Eberle how to hit.

    HI WAYNE!!!

    (This thread is good at distracting us from the complete suckitude of The Oilers)

  • Lego

    I bet if you did a study you would find that injuries from bicycle accidents increase dramatically when training wheels are removed, should we mandate that kids under 13 must have training wheels?

    Hockey is a physical sport injuries will happen, but I think the sooner body checking is introduced the better kids will be at keeping their head up and avoiding the big blow up hits. Ever wonder how a skinny kid like Gretzky or a runt like St Louis made it so far when the game was much more physical and dirtier than it is today?

    I remember my son’s first year peewee tryouts his friend who was the fastest player on the team had a habit of skating full speed with his head down up the middle of the ice. Us coaches had tried to break him of this habit since he started in novice but it fell on deaf ears. In the first try out scrimmage he got caught by a second year player with a huge but clean hit. Luckily he wasn’t hurt and didn’t miss a shift but he certainly learned the lesson that we had been trying to teach him for 4 years.

    Had it been bantam instead of peewee where the size, speed and force would have been greater I’m not sure he would have escaped injury.

    In Edmonton there has been an alternative for players and parents that don’t want body contact for several years, it’s called the NHL (no hit league) I’m not sure why we have remove the choice for all players.

  • Tikkanese

    I’m one of the kids who quit hockey right before joining pee wees because I was scared of the hitting. I grew up and by no means a “wimp” now or small either but back then I was always the smallest on the teams so there was a large mental factor. I really loved playing hockey and still do, but wish I could have kept playing. Who knows, I could have developed into the soft winger with size(penner) that some of you think is all the Oilers need, haha.

    If hitting was in hockey from day one (was called Richard back then, not sure what it’s called now) I wouldn’t have been scared of it as most kids are on their butts half the game then anyways, most times from accidental collisions. I don’t think that is the answer though as our now bleeding hearts politically correct society wouldn’t allow it.

    I like the idea of separating kids on size/skill rather than just age. I also like the idea of having hitting leagues and non-hitting leagees for the same groups.

  • I like the idea of having a 1 yr age bracket for the 1st year of hitting so everyone is within 1 yr of the other players and they all have the same amount of experience taking and giving hits.

    I also like the idea of having more training and resources available for coaches and would even be receptive to a mandatory Hockey Alberta course before the first season of contact for every kid to learn about safe clean contact.

    These are steps I could see reducing injuries to young players. Moving the age out until the kids are bigger, faster, and stronger is a recipe for more injuries at that age, and at that age the injuries are going to be more serious. Then they are going to be faced with a bigger problem.

    There is also the option of changing the leagues. Istead of having boy’s hockey and girl’s hockey just have contact and non-contact and every kid can play in the league they want to play in.

  • Truth

    @ Romulus’ Apotheosis

    I have!

    They tell me that hitting in hockey causes more injury than no-hit hockey and that hockey causes more injuries than soccer. Big surprise! I don’t see that as relevant to the introduction of hitting in hockey. What age is it best to introduce hitting into hockey? When the players are smaller and less severe impacts are probable, while they are still learning the game? Or when the players are larger and more sever impacts are probable, when the players have already learned how to play the game (incorrectly)?

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      You haven’t.

      All these studies recommend introducing hitting at an older age to reduce injury and long term effects of injury.

      You simply don’t accept these findings or aren’t bothering to read them.

    • Ducey

      There is merit to your position that introducing hitting earlier will teach kids how to avoid hits. I hold the same view.

      However, the thing that it ignores is that kids who have learned to play with contact, (and even those who initiate the contact), at the lower levels are going to suffer more injuries with contact than without.

      So you will have higher rates of injuries at novice, atom, Pee wee and so on.

      It also ignores the fact that the process of learning how to avoid hits is going to be a dangerous process, not matter what the level. There are kids at all levels that cruise around looking to blow people up.

      So what you are advocating is that we should repeatedly expose out younger kids to higher rates of brain injuries so that they may more easily avoid a more severe injury when they play Bantam. From that perspective its a little non-sensical.

      The bottom line is that parents are not willing to put up with the risk of injury to their kid’s brains just so they can learn to deal with hitting. Its just not worth it.

      • Truth

        I am advocating that young players learn the game properly from a young age. Yes, this will expose them to a higher quantity of events that have a higher risk of injury, but it is being done in the effort that risk for serious injury is reduced overall.

        No one wants to see their child injured, but if parents are not willing to risk injury to their kid’s in any way why enroll them in any sport?

        Imagine life as a kid with parents that completely minimize any and all risks for you. I honestly don’t know if I’d be the same person. I was involved in hockey, lacrosse, motocross, watersports (skiing/wakeboarding), sking/snowboarding, etc. All relatively “high risk” activities. Would I be the same if I had been not allowed in those but only into soccer, basketball, and board games?

        100% it was worth it for me. And yes, I have broken a dozen bones, separated both shoulders, too many sprains and strains to count, and concussion wasn’t even a word when I was younger. There are risks in everything, it is to which extent are you willing to expose yourself or your children to for their enjoyment/betterment. The risks are high in hockey compared to other sports but incredibly low overall. I don’t think anyone is advocating for children’s base jumping to go mainstream.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    It’s stupid to ban hitting. I played minor hockey about 3 years ago, and I definitely feel that I was safer after having started hitting at a younger age. First of all the effects of concussions is overstated, as your average joe doesn’t take the same number of head blows as a pro football player. And if we are scared of concussions, why wait until the kids are big and fast enough to cause damage intentionally. Bantam is the biggest size descrepency, as half the kids have hit puberty, and therefore it is the most dangerous. All the extra two years will accomplish is give the kids more time to get accustomed to skaing with their head down, and playing recklessly. At the younger levels, the big hits are the accidental collisions away from the puck, not those tied to hitting directly. I liken the situation to just giving a sixteen year old their liscence with having had a learners. Its stupid. The injuries in bantam will skyrocket, as the kid are thrown into the fire.

    Plus there is a no hit league.

  • Tikkanese

    Article 1 only talks about LTPD based on biological age. I said in an earlier post that it’s a good solution to the actual topic of this article we’re going off topic on.

    Article 2 does not prove or explain anything. It says there’s some magical study done somewhere but doesn’t explain or show any of this study. It does say there is a problem with some coaches and coaching styles. I’m not disputing that, but the fixes to that can also be done while keeping scores. It also says that the players, coaches and parents are all going to still keep score for themselves. This article does have this quote “Are we doing a disservice to our children by not allowing them the experience of losing? I don’t know the answer to that.” Shouldn’t that be proven in this magical evidence?

    Article 3 same as above.

    All taking scoring out does is instantly change coaching strategies of poorly in the first place trained coaches. Yes that bad coaching needs to be changed but that can all be done without the drastic measure of taking scoring out. It’s a quick solution that isn’t necessary and may be doing more harm than good in the long run.

    I’ve proven keeping scores has tangible goals and promotes all of those good things we want kids learning. You’ve proven taking scoring away might be doing a disservice by not allowing them the experience of losing. All of the other changes these articles are talking about should be done anyways and keeping score doesn’t affect those changes one way or the other.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      you don’t read very carefully apparently.

      1. if you agree with their plans, including no scorekeeping for younger kids, what is your objection?

      2/3 you seemed to know so little about it, I figured I should start you out slow.

      First. there is a lot of empirical evidence. As you seem to elide it, I’ll state it again:

      In every single place this model has been adapted all your doomsday scenarios are absent.

      As far as studies on LTPD, here is some literature:

      • Tikkanese

        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.

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          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.

  • Isn’t the topic of discussion here hitting in pee wee? Why are people still talking about about eliminating scores?

    “I know, I don’t have a really valid reason to keep hitting around for little kids, so I’ll quickly change the topic to something almost entirely unrelated.”

      • Except that you have the rationale entirely wrong for eliminating scores.

        Removing hitting is about protecting children, eliminating scores is about allowing the kids to focus on developing their skills and teamwork without the distraction of keeping score for a few years. It has nothing to do with “hurt feelings”. Kind of like how sushi chef trainees don’t get to even touch fish for the first three years of their training. The idea that it’s done to protect feelings is an invention of those who disagree.

        In other words – one is only about safety, the other is a difference of opinion about how to teach kids a sport.

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          That’s completely right.

          There are definitely helicopter parents out there supporting both these things… but that’s not the reasoning behind either of them and they are both quite different things.

          It is only when we place these debates into the cultural panic blender that we get these kind of side-shows… which I need to stop encouraging by arguing against…

  • 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

  • Zamboni Driver

    Im not 100% in favour with this for this one and only reason.

    When I played peewee thats when we learned how to protect ourselves from being hit. How to absorb the check etc. etc.. When I moved up to the next level I was very small (never hit puberty) and I was playing agianst kids that had already outweighed me by 30 pounds and had a couple inches. The only reason I wasnt sent in to the stand from a hit was learning how to take and give hits with kids the same size and the same maturity level as me.

    I think there are going to be alot more injuries in older age groups because of this. The only way to get rid of injuries is to get rid of hitting which I dont like.

  • @Jason Gregor

    “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…..

    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.”

    I can’t believe a journalist does not do their research before posting absolute garbage. Here’s some light reading for you Jason:

    Excerpts listed below:

  • #ThereGoesTheOilers

    “Bodychecking is the predominant mechanism of injury among youth hockey players at all levels of competition where it is permitted, accounting for 45% to 86% of injuries.[8][16]-[18] Several published studies, including two recent systematic reviews, reported on risk factors for injury (including bodychecking) in youth hockey.[19][20] Emery and colleagues conducted a systematic review of 24 studies and a meta-analysis including only studies which examined policy allowing bodychecking as a risk factor for injury. Policy allowing bodychecking was found to be a risk factor for all hockey injuries, with a summary incidence rate ratio (IRR) of 2.45 (95% CI 1.7 to 3.6). Furthermore, policy allowing bodychecking was found to be a risk factor for concussion, with a summary OR of 1.71 (95% CI 1.2 to 2.44). These data confirm that bodychecking increases the risk of all injuries and the risk of concussion specifically.[20] Nine of ten studies examining policy allowing bodychecking provided evidence to support a greater risk in bodychecking leagues.[20] The second systematic review found the RR of injury associated with policy allowing bodychecking ranged from 0.6 to 39.8; all but one of these studies found an increased risk of injuries associated with body checking.[19]”

    Summary: Allowing body checking at ANY LEVEL of youth hockey increases risk for concussion. So skill level or age seem to be relatively insignificant in studies, and the mere presence of a policy of no body checking is currently the most effective proven way of reducing injury.

    “Since the publication of these systematic reviews there have been five additional studies. A Canadian prospective cohort study compared injury rates between peewee ice hockey players in a league where bodychecking is permitted at age 11 years (Alberta) versus players in a league where bodychecking is not permitted until age 13 (Quebec).[21] During the 2007/2008 season, a validated injury surveillance system was used to capture all injuries requiring medical attention and/or time loss from hockey (ie, time between injury and return to play) in 2154 players. There was a threefold increased risk of all game-related injuries (IRR =3.26 [95% CI; 2.31 to 4.60]) and of injury resulting in >7 days time lost from sport (IRR=3.30 [95% CI; 1.77 to 6.17]) in 11- to 12- year-old peewee players from Alberta when compared with Quebec. There was also an almost fourfold increased risk of game-related concussion (IRR=3.88 [95% CI; 1.91 to 7.89]) in Alberta peewee players.[21] Further evidence was reported in a five-year cohort study (2002 to 2007) including all age groups, which demonstrated that injury risk increases 3.75 times (IRR=3.75 [95% CI; 1.51 to 9.74]) in leagues that allow bodychecking compared with those that do not.[22]”

    Summary: Direct evidence in Alberta that we can protect peewee players better. I recently heard on CBC, through a psychologist who has been studying concussions in hockey, that there is roughly a 12% concussion rate in peewee hockey. That is not an insignificant proportion, and a 3-4 fold reduction by removing body checking is obviously a smart move, at least one that you can partly agree with.

    “A second prospective cohort study by Emery et al examined whether the introduction of bodychecking at 11 years of age (Alberta) or 13 years of age (Quebec) affected injury rates in later years (at 13 to 14 years of age).[23] During the 2008/09 season, the same injury surveillance system cited above was used to study 1971 bantam players (13- to 14-year-olds). There was NO REDUCTION in game-related injury risk (all injuries) for this age group (IRR=0.85 [95% CI 0.63 to 1.16]), of concussion specifically (IRR=0.84 [95% CI 0.48 to 1.48]), or of concussions resulting in >10 days time lost from sport (IRR=0.6 [95% CI 0.26 to 1.41]) in the Alberta league, compared with Quebec. IN FACT, THE CONCUSSION RATE FOUND IN ALBERTA PEEWEE PLAYERS WAS HIGHER THAN IN THE BANTAM PLAYERS IN EITHER PROVINCE.[22][23]”

    Sum: Evidence that quite frankly disproves your belief that inevitable injuries will only be delayed. The rate of concussions in peewee hockey in Alberta can be reduced substantially and in this age group it is apparent there is the most to gain by a no body checking policy. Effects of a concussion also seem to be most significant in the developing brain, so there is also a theoretical argument to attempt to delay brain injury from body checking.

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

    I absolutely agree with you in principle. This is probably the most sense you make. But there is no evidence from studies that this makes a difference in outcomes in the more vulnerable younger players, and certainly nowhere near the evidence out there that supports an outright ban on body checking in earlier age groups.

    Hockey Alberta got it right, and idiotic articles like this that cast doubt on a calculated and well-thought out decision only serve to misinform individuals as uneducated as yourself, and question the obvious merit in this brave but easy decision.

  • vagmittens

    One last point to those who think that body checking and hockey are inseparable (and this from a hockey fan) – If 12/100, or 1/8 of all peewee players in Alberta are suffering concussions during game play, this represents a significant burden to Albertans. So forget the “helicopter parent” taunts, this is a health issue that we must understand and advocate better. A concussion means the child must take complete mental rest until the symptoms have resolved. In some cases, significant symptoms last months or longer, and in the last year alone, I have seen many adolescents who have suffered terribly for this length of time, unable to last an hour in class without nausea, severe headaches, or unable to walk at times due to dizziness, or unable to concentrate on reading. Concussions often are disruptive to families, especially ones where parents cannot afford to take time away from work to look after their children.

    And let me ask those who disagree with this policy a couple more questions to put this into perspective. Why does removing checking from peewee hockey make competitive hockey at a later age less enjoyable? And what percentage of peewee players end up playing competitive hockey as adults?

  • When you watch a teammate die after being taught to spear an opponent as in football , you get a better perspective at how dangerous hits to the head are .Yes , eventually most are taught dirty tactics down the line somewhere , without being responsible for those hits and action /repercushions . What kid even at high school level does not try to please the coaches and inadvertently endanger themselves and the opponents ? Your responsible for your kids safety , as are the coaches , until such time as they are mature enough to make those educated decisions on their own . The kids need to be taught to be more responsible for their actions .

    How to get back at an opponent(dirty tactics ) is far to prevalent in most sports -pressing the envelop . Taught and developed far to frequently . I want to see your kids enjoy the sport of hockey safely not be a victim of the cult of violence that infests the sport .

  • Zamboni Driver

    I am absolutely certain those worrying about the “P*ssification” of hockey (or whatever Cherry nonsense you want to spew) DO NOT HAVE KIDS.

    Do this geniuses.

    Remove the word “hockey player” from your vocabulary.

    Try this one instead.


    These are 11 year old CHILDREN

    Really think they NEED body contact being taught mostly by Dads who were too dumb not to stare longer at their shoes when they asked for more volunteer coaches?!

    They’re 11 year olds.
    Not hockey players.


    Get over yourselves.

  • vagmittens

    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.

  • Tikkanese


    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.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    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!

  • Travis Dakin

    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!!

  • Quicksilver ballet

    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.