If a kid is strong decent size, A "smart" player that keeps head up, skilled enough and assuming the coach will use him in situations that are fitting, why hold him back. Yes there's a chance he could get hurt but there's a chance they can all get hurt. What a about those kids that didn't even start playing hockey till 7th or 8th grade and then get on a HS team skating with head down and don't know the game. That's an even worse scenario! I'de rather see a skilled 8th grader with good hockey sense out there.
I have no idea what school your kid goes to but "What a about those kids that didn't even start playing hockey till 7th or 8th grade and then get on a HS team skating with head down" doesn't happen at our H.S. Kids that start in the 2nd or 3rd grade are late bloomers for most average to good teams.
so 8th graders are asked only if the sport is in danger of failing (due to player count not wins). and i agree. no HIGH SCHOOL student should be excluded because their parents did not have the foresight to start them years ago.
This is the crux of it ^
Again, this is only going ON in my area because the team/school demonstrated that the entire program would fold because they could not field a team, and therefore got the 8th grade waiver. Maybe two 8th graders are playing.
So the high school participation is nice, but there would be zero participation due to the lack of kids