So I want to do a short follow up on Hockey Canada banning bodychecking at the Peewee level. I had a brief conversation with my brother, who has played the game at various levels, and this is what we discussed.
First, he didn’t agree with the idea. Actually called it stupid. I totally disagree. Especially at house league levels. There should be ZERO contact in any recreational league. This does not guarantee injury prevention, simply because collisions will occur or a simple trip and an awkward fall always happens. The point is, you reduce head injuries, rather injuries altogether by increasing safety. How do you increase safety? Teaching methods and being vocal. This is where my brother and I agreed.
Coaches and parents are the example setters. How can players be better prepared? Proper teaching methods and positive influences. You aren’t out there to hurt someone. Get out of the game if you are. Please do not listen to people like Don Cherry, for he is a bad influence and doesn’t understand. What my brother and I both agreed on is coaches should be teaching properly and in order to teach properly, you need to trained properly. So, and I am not sure about this, bodychecking courses are now apart of coaching courses. At least they should be.
Kids cannot develop to their absolute top potential without proper coaching and positive parents. The idea of bodyckecking is to separate your opponent from the puck. Not to separate the head from the body. This is real life, not some video game. I do not agree that teaching someone at a younger age, whose body is much more fragile, will prevent injuries. I fully believe it increases injuries. My belief is that with proper teaching methods and positive influences, injuries will be prevented. Just remember, body contact and bodychecking are not the same. Rubbing a player out and pinning someone to the boards is “body contact”. An open-ice hit is “bodychecking”.
All this being said, the world we live in is always evolving. Health and safety should always being priority number one. No excuses. Coaching and parenting are crucial to this movement, but let us not forget that each individual player knows the difference between right and wrong.