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NJ Youth Hockey Forum

Author Topic: USA Hockey ratifies drastic body checking changes  (Read 13350 times)


The declaration is attached for download and embedded for reading at the end of the article.

Initiative Centers Around Changing Body Checking Culture in Youth Hockey

Body checking in youth hockey as we know it is about to change, a big way.

The USA Hockey Board of Directors unanimously ratified the Declaration of Player Safety, Fair Play and Respect at its Board of Directors meeting last Saturday (June 8th) in a significant move focused on improving the game at the youth level, particularly related to player safety. The Board meeting was the culmination of the organization’s four-day Annual Congress here that included meetings among USA Hockey’s various committees, sections and councils.

The focus of the Declaration is a concentrated effort to change the culture around body checking and competitive contact at all levels of play and clearly define what is acceptable and unacceptable. The Board’s action makes clear that a body check must be an attempt to win possession of the puck and not an effort to punish or intimidate. Further, USA Hockey is committed to a culture where there are: 1) no late hits 2) no hits to the head and 3) no checking from behind.

Declaration and details regarding changes
“This Declaration was a collaborative effort of the leaders involved with safety, youth hockey, coaching and officiating and is a blueprint for shifting the mindset of body checking in youth hockey,” said Jim Smith, president of USA Hockey. “It is imperative we make some significant changes and this document outlines that way forward.”

Over the course of the summer and through the upcoming season, USA Hockey will work with all constituent groups in providing video examples and other educational materials to ensure all groups fully understand the principles of the Declaration of Player Safety, Fair Play and Respect.

“Safety is always our top priority and our Board took an extremely proactive step with this new initiative,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. “This Declaration is the culmination of a lot of hard work by many groups over many months that resulted in moving something forward that is in the best interest of our youth players.”

“USA Hockey has a strong commitment to player safety and this Declaration is an important step forward,” said Dr. Michael Stuart, chief medical and safety officer for USA Hockey, who is also the co-director of sports medicine at the Mayo Clinic. “All stakeholders in the game of hockey will work together to change culture, promote sportsmanship and ensure mutual respect.”


Reply #1:
 June 17, 2019, 05:45:38 AM
so it will be as clear as Mud just like the NHL?


Reply #2:
 June 17, 2019, 07:50:11 AM
Hopefully this will translate to fewer head injuries for children and an eventual elimination of checking in youth hockey.

Right now, any kid can play checking level just by aging into a level. There is no requirement to demonstrate a certain level of skating skills, no requirement to demonstrate an understanding of safe checking or ability to receive a check.

A good study would be to look at numbers of brain injuries in children in AAA as compared to AA or A or B or house and whether increased ability translated to fewer head injuries.

As it is now, kids who are on the ice only two or three times a week for an hour -- not enough time to develop the good skating skills for safe checking -- are still checking, same as kids who are on the ice more during the year (in colder climates and where ice time is less expensive). Still, even in Canada, a drastic reduction in head injuries in children was see at the 12U level when checking was removed, and learning checking earlier did very little to improve those numbers at higher levels, only increasing the numbers of brain injuries sustained by 11 and 12 year old children.


Reply #3:
 June 17, 2019, 08:57:20 AM
It's about time. Why isn't there any detail about what the planned changes are. Will it be shift on the fly rules like in the NHL? Kind of make them up as you go?


Reply #4:
 June 17, 2019, 10:34:05 AM
This may not save my life, but it may save my children's lives and it may save someone you love.


Reply #5:
 June 17, 2019, 06:36:40 PM
If you don’t want checking, play in a rec / house league.


Reply #6:
 June 17, 2019, 07:12:47 PM
If you don’t want checking, play in a rec / house league.

And if you want to hit people in the head, go box...
So what's your point?


Reply #7:
 June 19, 2019, 04:03:26 PM
Change the penalty if you want to fix the problem.  The 2 and 10 is the dumbest penalty for a bad hit.  We had a kid get destroyed.  The opposing player got a 2 & 10.  In the next 15 seconds we got a too many men and negated the penalty.  It happened a bunch  of times where a serious penalty is negated by an incidental penalty such as a hook, trip, etc...

The Correct penalty should be a 5 minute major and a 10.  This way the penalized team is shorthanded for a full 5 mins and any amount of goals can be scored.   Also another kid doesnt have to serve the penalty and the penalized player can serve the entire 15. 

When the “team” gets impacted for 5, the coach will do a better job disciplining a kid that takes these penalties often. 


Reply #8:
 June 25, 2019, 02:17:04 PM
Propper body contact should be taught from day one. Fewer injured if kids know that contact is coming and they are stronger on their skates.


Reply #9:
 June 25, 2019, 02:18:59 PM
You sound like someone that has never played. What about a player on the half wall protecting the puck when he sees the D pinch and he turns at the last moment? Is that truly a 5?


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