Hockey Canada bans hitting in peewee


Proper instruction is a better means to reducing injuries

Christian Petersen/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Hockey Canada, the body that oversees how the game is played across the country,  issued a ruling on Saturday banning body checking at the peewee level and below. Until Saturday hitting started in peewee but now one more level must be achieved and players in bantam will have their first experience with body checking. The decision was made based on the number of recent concussions and injuries. But the move wasn’t welcomed by all.

The first is how to deliver a body check properly, the second and perhaps more important is how to take a body check

Unless the goal of Hockey Canada and, for that matter, the NHL, is to remove all manner of physical contact, essentially making hockey resemble soccer, then developing players should be taught two things early on. The first is how to deliver a body check properly, the second and perhaps more important is how to take a body check.

When kids reach the age where physical contact begins, formerly peewee, now bantam, all they want to do is go out and hit an opponent. The notion of being hit themselves doesn’t strike home until, well, they get hit. It is up to coaches to explain the proper way to body check an opponent and the proper way to take a check. Is this a new concept? Hardly, it used to be a standard part of coaching young players.

The sports that are popular in North America; football, baseball, basketball and hockey, all have built into the rules, to varying degrees, an element of physical contact and intimidation

Removing an aspect of the game, or delaying its introduction to players, isn’t the way to go. Proper instruction and, of course, adequate  equipment, is the road to take.

The sports that are popular in North America; football, baseball, basketball and hockey, all have built into the rules, to varying degrees, an element of physical contact and intimidation. Not rogue actions of violence that should be, and usually are, treated as infractions, but within the rules. An integral part of hockey, as played in North America, is body contact. Players should be taught how to properly give and take body checks from a relatively early age. Peewee seemed like a good starting point, but whether it’s peewee, bantam or another level the most important thing is proper training. Merely postponing the introduction of body checking is tantamount to putting off the possible mayhem when untrained players engage in physical play for the first time, that is when injuries occur.

Keep the contact in the game, but teach the players how to engage in it.

Me DCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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