Feb 22, 2011
The issue: USA Hockey is considering moving the age to allow checking from PeeWee to Bantam
I think USA hockey should rethink this. Checking is the quickest way to teach players to skate with their heads up and pass the puck, less contact promotes hogging the puck, dangling, poking at the puck instead of playing the body. Boys going through puberty need outlets to be physical. Eliminating checking will push many of our more aggressive boys to Lacrosse and football.
Concerned about injuries? The way to address this is to emphasize proper technique, crack down completely on cheap shots, and hits to the head. Force every player to learn the proper way to take and receive a check by promoting technique, and training.
I have played, coached, and watched, thousands of youth hockey games, and I can’t remember watching a game where there wasn’t a hit or multiple hits where the hands or sticks come up. Train our refs to Call it! and Call it. Coaches will learn to teach their kids to bend their knee’s, keep their hands and sticks down, and hit properly.
Furthermore, nothing is more frustrating than watching a very talented player go the first 190 feet and then lose it the last 10 feet. Very hard to break a kid who can go thru 3 guys from doing this, especially when many of their fathers are encouraging it. But as long as they aren’t getting hit, it continues. Now for defense, they need to accept that it is a lot harder to score than if they were a forward, how long should they have to endure not being allowed to hit, who is going to want to be a defensemen? It’s a hard enough position to play as it is, but eliminate checking promotes poor play?
I hope common sense prevails here.