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Age For Checking

Last week I asked the question about captains in youth hockey and got some good discussion about it - much better than the usual my-league-is-more-elite-than-yours stuff.

So how about this for a topic: is Bantam minor (approx. 12 years old) the right year to start checking? Should it wait until 14 when more kids have hit puberty? Or start younger so they're more physically equal and less capable of doing real damage to each other and they get used to contact sooner?

Since we all know the game changes once the hitting starts (and that the '08s are stacked) should it happen sooner or later? Or is the current age the right time?

Re: Age For Checking

Checking and tag-up off-sides should start at squirt minor...

Checking at squirt minor is no big deal with their size and body weight. They learn how to give/take hits without having to worry about too much body weight and speed coming at them. With the exception of some early puberty payers, most of them grow together through bantams and the hitting/speed increases with them over the years gradually. I would also think it would help out with skill development in be able to learn how to avoid the hits...and keeping your head up...

Re: Age For Checking

Checking is really about angling and using body to help with edging opponent off the puck. Should be allowed Squirt minor or maybe major on. Hitting has nothing to do with injuries in the game. Proper teaching and enforcement is really the issue.

Re: Age For Checking

Anon
Checking is really about angling and using body to help with edging opponent off the puck. Should be allowed Squirt minor or maybe major on. Hitting has nothing to do with injuries in the game. Proper teaching and enforcement is really the issue.
I have older boys when checking was allowed earlier (PW I believe) and my third of four who had to wait until Bantam minor. Here's my 2 cents from observation. Checking should absolutely start earlier. USA Hockey has a defined progressive body contact idea that stops short of checking as kids get older but it's often not officiated that way. In essence, the kids show up to their Bantom Minor season with no idea how to take a check, deliver a check, protect a player you are hitting, or even how to get low enough so you aren't catching their head. In Pee Wee's, one game a kid gets rubbed to the boards and no call, they next game, same play different officials and he's in the box. Same thing with taking the hands, some officials go to zero contact and others based upon age and league. Just be done with it and allow the kids to start checking in squirts. I would argue that it helps enforce skating with your head up & moving the puck & creates better players. USA Hockey boils down to "it hurts our checkbook".

Second, first few months of Bantam Minor are just short of WWE. Kids are all running around trying to make "top 10" big hits at the expense of playing the game or are so afraid they just slap at the puck to get it off their sticks. It settles down in the second half of the season to some extent but the damage is already done. Very few of the "afraid" players really recover and while the concussed kids generally come back strong, they are one step closer to a doctor not clearing them to play. It's been a few years but I believe when my third boy played Banton Minors he had 5 players on his team go down with concussions during the first half of the season and his team caused 3 or 4 as well. I don't ever recall my oldest boys losing a third of their skaters from head injuries at any point. I could go on for days about this but "hitting has nothing to do with injuries in the game" is so far from the reality I've witnessed at the youth hockey level.

You are correct that proper teaching and enforcement is the issue but the season starts after just a few practices, not nearly enough time and coaches don't want big hits during practice. You see pretty amazing size and weight differences during the Bantom years it defies logic that this is the time to start incorporating this particular skill. Hitting should NOT be removed from the game but it should be incorporated at earlier and more age appropriate levels, even if it means losing some players earlier in development the process.

Re: Age For Checking

This is a tough one. Studies have shown that taking the checking out of peewees has dramacically cut down on concussions at that level. I think Canada tried the squirt checking thing with the same thought that it would teach the kids the proper technique and not be such a big deal when they got older. But concussions went way up when they tried it.

Part of the problem is the concussion protocol. You bring your kid to the dr with any type of symptoms and the dr is most likely going to day concussion.

There is talk now of taking it out of bantams. We hit in peewees but at the same time there was not real talk of concussions back then. For me its just a tough call. Its part of the game but at the same time I think we have to look out for the kids long term health. Good question to debate on here though.

Re: Age For Checking

It can be worse in the town leagues. With two birth years playing you have second year kids just looking for smaller-size first year players for a "welcome to bantams" moment.

Re: Age For Checking

Studies scmuddies. Let's get the facts correct here. USA Hockey implemented no checking until Bantam for one reason, to keep the $ gravy train from leaving the station until after the Peewee years. Period.

No rational, independent study in the world would come-up with the concept of: 'Let's wait until the size differential in humans is at it's greatest over any possible two year span and then introduce full body contact.' 4'6 88 pounders playing with 6'2 170 pound players is a great idea? No. One is hiding trying to avoid contact and the other is chasing kids around hoping he has an edge....both not great for hockey development.

I would much prefer USA Hockey to come clean and not go out and commission 'studies' trying to prove their case. Better to say, 'how else are we going to fund all these USA Development teams and travel all over the globe, we need the revenue and those two additional years provide what we need.'

Wait until the hittin' starts!

Re: Age For Checking

It is a very interesting debate & I would be curious to learn more about the Canadian results. I'm not surprised that the number of reported concussions increased, I'm thinking t is sort of an obvious outcome. What I would be interested in learning is what is the percentage of players to reported concussions and did they do it long enough to see what the ramifications were at the older levels? Let's say 1 in 10,000 in squirts had concussions prior to hitting and it rose to 1 in 1,000, what happened at the Bantam levels, did it go from 3 in 100 to 3 in 1,000? I wonder if they tracked the severity of the concussions as well? I would think having a nationalized healthcare system, they would have much better access to real data than we do in the US.

I don't want to see kids get hurt, but if you aren't going to remove hitting, at some point it has to start. Waiting until a kid makes a high school team would even be worse than the current situation, especially at schools that already struggle with numbers and a large percentage of the team are underclassman. I'm trying to imagine that five foot nothing freshman skating down on the wing with the puck, head down, 3 feet off the boards, as he attempts to toe drag the six foot plus senior defenseman at the blue line and the likely outcome.

I may have selective memory but when USA Hockey made the change, the only reason I can recall had to do with participation numbers. My recollection was they lost a significant number of players between SQ Maj or PW Min and then another big drop the following year between PW Min & PW Maj and they attributed that to checking and by delaying it they would keep these kids involved with the hopes that they would mature enough so that it wasn't such a big deal. I could swear I even remember an official being quoted as saying "We are very concerned about what this will do to the number and severity of head injuries at the Bantam level where physical differences are at their greatest and plan to monitor that closely."

It's a great topic and one that I would love to see USA Hockey have more open dialogue about.

Although us parents are part of the problem too. I remember a kid on my sons team getting crushed from behind in Ban Min, literally knocked out cold for a good 30 to 45 seconds, it was one of the dirtiest hits I've seen in the last 10 years and I'm simply amazed the kid didn't break his neck. Anyway, the following weekend the parents tried to tell the coaches he was cleared to play. They didn't even bring the kid to the doctors because they were afraid of what it would do to his hockey career. "Yeah he's complaining of headaches, not eating much because he says he doesn't feel good but we're pretty sure he's okay, we think it's just a touch of a stomach flu." To the coaches credit, they allowed him to dress but didn't play him that weekend and maybe even the next.

Re: Age For Checking

Bingo!

"I may have selective memory but when USA Hockey made the change, the only reason I can recall had to do with participation numbers."

I don't care too much either way but they should just state the truthful reason. They want the revenue.

Re: Age For Checking

I read somewhere that it has to do with kids that went through puberty or have not gone through it yet. At the peewee level its a pretty big jump between a 111/12 year old and a 13 year old.

Kids necks are not developed enough before puberty to be able to support the head during an impact.

Look at Pop Warner football - Numbers are way down because parents do not want to risk there kids long term health.

Another issue is there is no baseline testing so whenever a kid gets rocked - goes to Dr - Dr will always say its a concussion to be on the safe side.

This past year in peewees my kid ran into another kid head on. My kid was not right for 3 weeks. Constant headaches, sensitive to bright light. It was a real eye opener as to how much an effect this had on him.

Yes hitting is eventually going to happen. Not really sure what the right answer is and there might not even be one.

The other issue is that the long term effects of hitting usually come way after your kid is done playing so its hard to correlate the cause.

Re: Age For Checking

This argument is a moot point. The wheels on the checking bus are already being loosened. Checking will be banned at all levels of youth hockey except maybe the A or Elite levels. Look at the CTE issue in football. Kids migrating to Flag football instead of pop warner in huge numbers.

Head injuries are no joke and the science behind them is just starting to come to light.

Re: Age For Checking

I agree with your assumption that hitting will continue to be removed from the game as it certainly has a causatory impact on enrollment numbers. I don't think that was really the question though, it was what age SHOULD checking be introduced? However if you are right, and unfortunately I think you are, no way they can limit checking to only Tier-1 players, it's just not practical. It's either going to be gone all together or continue the way it is now.

If USA Hockey decides to ban hitting all together, MIAA will almost certainly have to follow suit or will have to change grade requirements for varsity hockey (11th & 12th grade only perhaps). For a host of reasons, HS hockey already struggles with numbers at many schools. More and more publics are having to skate underclassman, create co-op teams, etc. No reasonable parent would put a 14 year old kid on the ice at HS and have him learn checking on the fly by getting hit by 17 & 18 year old young men.

If USA Hockey thinks they can generate more revenue by eliminating hitting, they will. If club teams can generate more $ by self insuring and allowing checking, you will see another explosion in U14-U18 teams looking to take advantage of it.

Re: Age For Checking

The self insuring thing is the kicker. What insurance company is going to touch this especially if the major governing body of youth hockey in the US says no checking. Insurance companies are dropping coverage for inflatables now because a few kids got taken away in the wind. What happens when parents really start taking programs to court because there kid has life long issues due to repeated concussions and frankly an online course for coaches really isn't adequate training to deal with a brain injury.

Re: Age For Checking

I've thought for a while that they should allow checking at squirts and peewee at the "AAA" level (New England "elite" level). This enables your strongest players to develop the skills needed to play at the higher levels (high school/college) while providing a place for recreational hockey that will maintain high enrollment numbers for USA Hockey. In New England, I would draw the line at EHF Elite and E9. This would also bring us in line with the rest of the country by drawing a distinct line between AAA and AA hockey.

Re: Age For Checking

Wait till the hittin' starts!!!

About 75% of all high end kids age 13-14 disappear and then all the "trees" who can't skate, have no hockey IQ and stone hands are finally appreciated and get all the coveted spots.



Re: Age For Checking

anon
I've thought for a while that they should allow checking at squirts and peewee at the "AAA" level (New England "elite" level). This enables your strongest players to develop the skills needed to play at the higher levels (high school/college) while providing a place for recreational hockey that will maintain high enrollment numbers for USA Hockey. In New England, I would draw the line at EHF Elite and E9. This would also bring us in line with the rest of the country by drawing a distinct line between AAA and AA hockey.
Certainly a thought but I'm guessing you haven't actually looked at the rosters of high schools lately, especially D-2 and D-3. Hell even my local D-1 HS had two freshman on the team. (BTW, only one had played EHF Elite/E9). Point being, MA Hockey, USA Hockey would have a heck of time drawing a line like that.

Re: Age For Checking

Anon
The self insuring thing is the kicker. What insurance company is going to touch this especially if the major governing body of youth hockey in the US says no checking. Insurance companies are dropping coverage for inflatables now because a few kids got taken away in the wind. What happens when parents really start taking programs to court because there kid has life long issues due to repeated concussions and frankly an online course for coaches really isn't adequate training to deal with a brain injury.

Not sure but somehow they've managed to do it for mites since MA Hockey went to the mandatory ADM model. Not to get too far off the original topic but let's say USA Hockey eliminates checking, MIAA follows but NCAA leaves everything as is. Do you believe most parents wouldn't be willing shell out the cash to keep their superstar in a league that allows him to develop the skills necessary to play prep or beyond HS? Of course they would, it's the reason why so many U16, U18 and Tier 3 junior programs exist around here. We are all crazy and trying to help our kids chase their dreams!! BTW, since our local Tier-2 junior league isn't sanctioned by USA Hockey, I'm guessing they are already self insuring, so U-8 is self insured and U-20 is self insured, not hard to believe that they could do the same at U14-U18.

Re: Age For Checking

Sorry you may have missed my point on the insurance. U8 and U20 are completely different than U12. I think if USA hockey got rid of checking and you tried to get an insurance policy on an U12 for concussions, you could run into problems. This is just my opinion being on the board in other sports and dealing with insurance companies. This is a good debate. Insurance companies are going to consult data and medical experts. And having insurance doesn't limit your liability. Remember, coaches are not doctors. They are getting trained via safesport for a few hours on concussion protocol. As a league and team your going to stake your future on that. One lawsuit could end your organization. Not even the damages but just the legal costs alone.

Re: Age For Checking

I didn't miss the point, I was simply trying to point out if checking were eliminated from HS and below, some private enterprise will try and fill the void. I agree, risk is there but it will happen.

You are right about coaches not being well trained as I've experienced it myself with one of my middle kids. Coach didn't see the hit, kept rolling him out. After the game, first thing I started asking my son was about his head, balance, etc. because he was clearly not right for the rest of the game. Coach overheard me and asked "He hit his head?". Long story short, fairly severe concussion, season over, missed weeks of school and months of sports. Also he never played another game for that coach.

Here's an interesting side topic that I started thinking about in context with this question: What can be done to reduce the head trauma, short of eliminating checking?

Re: Age For Checking

anon
I didn't miss the point, I was simply trying to point out if checking were eliminated from HS and below, some private enterprise will try and fill the void. I agree, risk is there but it will happen.

You are right about coaches not being well trained as I've experienced it myself with one of my middle kids. Coach didn't see the hit, kept rolling him out. After the game, first thing I started asking my son was about his head, balance, etc. because he was clearly not right for the rest of the game. Coach overheard me and asked "He hit his head?". Long story short, fairly severe concussion, season over, missed weeks of school and months of sports. Also he never played another game for that coach.

Here's an interesting side topic that I started thinking about in context with this question: What can be done to reduce the head trauma, short of eliminating checking?
More rigorous enforcement of the existing guidelines about concussions. You can't leave it in the hands of the coaches to decide how a kid feels. With some exceptions, after an obvious concussion, coaches want the kid to play, the kid wants to play, and the parents are told not to intervene. I was sick to my stomach on several occasions this year (PW Major) when a concussed kid (not mine) got sent back into a game. Never once saw a kid kept out of the remainder of a game.

Unless there is a requirement to put a medical person on each game, unfortunately, it leaves the play/no play decision in the hands of the officials. You think the (under-appreciated) officials take abuse now, wait until Little Johnny, who's in outer space, gets taken out of a game because he took a "little hit."

Just wait until the hitting starts. Indeed.

Re: Age For Checking

Bnon
anon
I didn't miss the point, I was simply trying to point out if checking were eliminated from HS and below, some private enterprise will try and fill the void. I agree, risk is there but it will happen.

You are right about coaches not being well trained as I've experienced it myself with one of my middle kids. Coach didn't see the hit, kept rolling him out. After the game, first thing I started asking my son was about his head, balance, etc. because he was clearly not right for the rest of the game. Coach overheard me and asked "He hit his head?". Long story short, fairly severe concussion, season over, missed weeks of school and months of sports. Also he never played another game for that coach.

Here's an interesting side topic that I started thinking about in context with this question: What can be done to reduce the head trauma, short of eliminating checking?
More rigorous enforcement of the existing guidelines about concussions. You can't leave it in the hands of the coaches to decide how a kid feels. With some exceptions, after an obvious concussion, coaches want the kid to play, the kid wants to play, and the parents are told not to intervene. I was sick to my stomach on several occasions this year (PW Major) when a concussed kid (not mine) got sent back into a game. Never once saw a kid kept out of the remainder of a game.

Unless there is a requirement to put a medical person on each game, unfortunately, it leaves the play/no play decision in the hands of the officials. You think the (under-appreciated) officials take abuse now, wait until Little Johnny, who's in outer space, gets taken out of a game because he took a "little hit."

Just wait until the hitting starts. Indeed.
Any coach that KNOWINGLY allows a kid suspected of having been concussed to remain in the game should be suspended by USA Hockey, and enforced by the team. Kid should have no say.

I saw a play this year, obvious the kid was concussed. Skated about 15 second on his next shift, had no idea where he was, glided into the bench doubled over. I sent word to the locker room between periods to be sure the coach was aware, just in case he missed it (it happens). Nope, kid played the rest of the game.

And missed the next three with a concussion.

Re: Age For Checking

anon
Bnon
anon
I didn\'t miss the point, I was simply trying to point out if checking were eliminated from HS and below, some private enterprise will try and fill the void. I agree, risk is there but it will happen.

You are right about coaches not being well trained as I\'ve experienced it myself with one of my middle kids. Coach didn\'t see the hit, kept rolling him out. After the game, first thing I started asking my son was about his head, balance, etc. because he was clearly not right for the rest of the game. Coach overheard me and asked \"He hit his head?\". Long story short, fairly severe concussion, season over, missed weeks of school and months of sports. Also he never played another game for that coach.

Here\'s an interesting side topic that I started thinking about in context with this question: What can be done to reduce the head trauma, short of eliminating checking?
More rigorous enforcement of the existing guidelines about concussions. You can\'t leave it in the hands of the coaches to decide how a kid feels. With some exceptions, after an obvious concussion, coaches want the kid to play, the kid wants to play, and the parents are told not to intervene. I was sick to my stomach on several occasions this year (PW Major) when a concussed kid (not mine) got sent back into a game. Never once saw a kid kept out of the remainder of a game.

Unless there is a requirement to put a medical person on each game, unfortunately, it leaves the play/no play decision in the hands of the officials. You think the (under-appreciated) officials take abuse now, wait until Little Johnny, who\'s in outer space, gets taken out of a game because he took a \"little hit.\"

Just wait until the hitting starts. Indeed.
Any coach that KNOWINGLY allows a kid suspected of having been concussed to remain in the game should be suspended by USA Hockey, and enforced by the team. Kid should have no say.

I saw a play this year, obvious the kid was concussed. Skated about 15 second on his next shift, had no idea where he was, glided into the bench doubled over. I sent word to the locker room between periods to be sure the coach was aware, just in case he missed it (it happens). Nope, kid played the rest of the game.

And missed the next three with a concussion.
Yeah - it's a problem....

Re: Age For Checking

anon
I didn't miss the point, I was simply trying to point out if checking were eliminated from HS and below, some private enterprise will try and fill the void. I agree, risk is there but it will happen.

You are right about coaches not being well trained as I've experienced it myself with one of my middle kids. Coach didn't see the hit, kept rolling him out. After the game, first thing I started asking my son was about his head, balance, etc. because he was clearly not right for the rest of the game. Coach overheard me and asked "He hit his head?". Long story short, fairly severe concussion, season over, missed weeks of school and months of sports. Also he never played another game for that coach.

Here's an interesting side topic that I started thinking about in context with this question: What can be done to reduce the head trauma, short of eliminating checking?
Nothing outside of eliminating checking can dramatically reduce concussions in hockey. People are asking the same questions about tackle football and it is becoming readily apparent there is no magic solution.

I'm not saying checking should be eliminated. I'm just saying it would be the only sure way of taking a majority of the risk out of the game. If you let your kid play hockey in bantams or above you have to assume some risk. It's called contact sports for a reason.

Re: Age For Checking

Anon
anon
I didn\'t miss the point, I was simply trying to point out if checking were eliminated from HS and below, some private enterprise will try and fill the void. I agree, risk is there but it will happen.

You are right about coaches not being well trained as I\'ve experienced it myself with one of my middle kids. Coach didn\'t see the hit, kept rolling him out. After the game, first thing I started asking my son was about his head, balance, etc. because he was clearly not right for the rest of the game. Coach overheard me and asked \"He hit his head?\". Long story short, fairly severe concussion, season over, missed weeks of school and months of sports. Also he never played another game for that coach.

Here\'s an interesting side topic that I started thinking about in context with this question: What can be done to reduce the head trauma, short of eliminating checking?
Nothing outside of eliminating checking can dramatically reduce concussions in hockey. People are asking the same questions about tackle football and it is becoming readily apparent there is no magic solution.

I'm not saying checking should be eliminated. I'm just saying it would be the only sure way of taking a majority of the risk out of the game. If you let your kid play hockey in bantams or above you have to assume some risk. It's called contact sports for a reason.
More concussions result from bad hits than from clean ones. So, increase the penalties for bad hits.

And, if you REALLY want to see bad hits reduced, introduce penalties on COACHES (ejections, escalating suspensions). Right now they pat the kid on the butt for a hit from behind on the vulnerable area or a cross check to the head. "Good hard-nosed hockey, son. That's the way to let him know you're there!"

It won't eliminate them, but it will reduce them.

Re: Age For Checking

Anon
anon
I didn\'t miss the point, I was simply trying to point out if checking were eliminated from HS and below, some private enterprise will try and fill the void. I agree, risk is there but it will happen.

You are right about coaches not being well trained as I\'ve experienced it myself with one of my middle kids. Coach didn\'t see the hit, kept rolling him out. After the game, first thing I started asking my son was about his head, balance, etc. because he was clearly not right for the rest of the game. Coach overheard me and asked \"He hit his head?\". Long story short, fairly severe concussion, season over, missed weeks of school and months of sports. Also he never played another game for that coach.

Here\'s an interesting side topic that I started thinking about in context with this question: What can be done to reduce the head trauma, short of eliminating checking?
Nothing outside of eliminating checking can dramatically reduce concussions in hockey. People are asking the same questions about tackle football and it is becoming readily apparent there is no magic solution.

I'm not saying checking should be eliminated. I'm just saying it would be the only sure way of taking a majority of the risk out of the game. If you let your kid play hockey in bantams or above you have to assume some risk. It's called contact sports for a reason.
I respectfully disagree. You are never going to eliminate all the risk & I don't want hitting taken out of the game. You will still have concussions from hitting heads on the ice, on the dasher, but I think the following "tweaks" would lead to fewer head injuries.

1) Enforce existing rules. Many a kid, especially 1st year Bantams lead with their arms vs. angling with shoulders. Every Bantam game I've seen players take an elbow to the head because the kid initiating contact instinctually raised his hands at the last second. Make it a "point of emphasis" if you will with officials. Hands come up, it's a penalty, even if you didn't catch their head.

2) Reduce or eliminate the "finish" rule. Essentially make it, if the kid doesn't have the puck, he's not eligible to be hit or withing one or two tenths of a second. What is essentially a 1 second rule has turned into 2 to 3 seconds. If you start calling interference or roughing on these hits, the kids will figure it out pretty quick and create fewer opportunities for the mistakes.

3) Go to "soft shell" only shoulder pads. You can keep the hard cap on the chest and back for protection but make the shoulder cap soft. When my kids don't make the illegal check from #1, they tell me their barely feel the hit. No wonder, they are essentially wearing football shoulder pads at this point. Now imagine if it actually hurt when you skated 20 feet at full speed to blow that kid up.

4) Introduce hip checking in Pee Wee's. The hip check is an effective tool but a nearly lost art. Let the kids get proficient at this before they go all "all star wrestling" in Bantams. In fact, I think this plays nicely into the USA Hockey progressive body contact model and generally produces less force than the shoulder check. (Although this has a real potential to result in more knee injuries.)

5) Back to enforcement, start calling the charging, boarding, and elbows that didn't result in injury. It amazes me how if the kid lays on the ice, it's a penalty but if the kid pops back up, they just play on. In addition to calling them, make them 10 minute automatic game misconducts. If a kid ends up suspended for too many misconducts, I bet the coaches and parents stop saying "nice hit" and start teaching him.

6) Stop allowing crappy helmets to pass inspection. For example, the Bauer 4500 has been around for how many years yet is still readily available and worn far too often and has little ability to absorb the secondary hit of the head. Much like USA Baseball does with bats, start introducing some real and stringent testing with helmets. Warrior/CCM/Bauer: Here is the criteria you have to meet, don't meet this, USA Hockey won't certify them and kids can't wear them. Permanent sticker on the back of the helmet that's easy to see..easy to enforce for on ice officials.

7) Start holding coaches accountable. If your team receives X number of game misconducts during a game, you are sitting a game. If it happens a second time you are suspended 20% of the season, third time you lose your certification for 1 year and have to attend on ice remedial training before being reinstated. I get it, town coaches are volunteers and club coaches aren't really getting paid much either & I sincerely appreciate all they do for the kids. However, they are the best line of defense and in my experience, either don't know how to teach checking or just don't care to.

Last and not least, a mandatory USA Hockey sanctioned clinic before the start of Bantom season that all players MUST attend before they can play a game. I'm trying to give some love to the coaches.

Re: Age For Checking

anon
Anon
anon
I didn\\\'t miss the point, I was simply trying to point out if checking were eliminated from HS and below, some private enterprise will try and fill the void. I agree, risk is there but it will happen.

You are right about coaches not being well trained as I\\\'ve experienced it myself with one of my middle kids. Coach didn\\\'t see the hit, kept rolling him out. After the game, first thing I started asking my son was about his head, balance, etc. because he was clearly not right for the rest of the game. Coach overheard me and asked \\\"He hit his head?\\\". Long story short, fairly severe concussion, season over, missed weeks of school and months of sports. Also he never played another game for that coach.

Here\\\'s an interesting side topic that I started thinking about in context with this question: What can be done to reduce the head trauma, short of eliminating checking?
Nothing outside of eliminating checking can dramatically reduce concussions in hockey. People are asking the same questions about tackle football and it is becoming readily apparent there is no magic solution.

I\'m not saying checking should be eliminated. I\'m just saying it would be the only sure way of taking a majority of the risk out of the game. If you let your kid play hockey in bantams or above you have to assume some risk. It\'s called contact sports for a reason.
I respectfully disagree. You are never going to eliminate all the risk & I don't want hitting taken out of the game. You will still have concussions from hitting heads on the ice, on the dasher, but I think the following "tweaks" would lead to fewer head injuries.

1) Enforce existing rules. Many a kid, especially 1st year Bantams lead with their arms vs. angling with shoulders. Every Bantam game I've seen players take an elbow to the head because the kid initiating contact instinctually raised his hands at the last second. Make it a "point of emphasis" if you will with officials. Hands come up, it's a penalty, even if you didn't catch their head.

2) Reduce or eliminate the "finish" rule. Essentially make it, if the kid doesn't have the puck, he's not eligible to be hit or withing one or two tenths of a second. What is essentially a 1 second rule has turned into 2 to 3 seconds. If you start calling interference or roughing on these hits, the kids will figure it out pretty quick and create fewer opportunities for the mistakes.

3) Go to "soft shell" only shoulder pads. You can keep the hard cap on the chest and back for protection but make the shoulder cap soft. When my kids don't make the illegal check from #1, they tell me their barely feel the hit. No wonder, they are essentially wearing football shoulder pads at this point. Now imagine if it actually hurt when you skated 20 feet at full speed to blow that kid up.

4) Introduce hip checking in Pee Wee's. The hip check is an effective tool but a nearly lost art. Let the kids get proficient at this before they go all "all star wrestling" in Bantams. In fact, I think this plays nicely into the USA Hockey progressive body contact model and generally produces less force than the shoulder check. (Although this has a real potential to result in more knee injuries.)

5) Back to enforcement, start calling the charging, boarding, and elbows that didn't result in injury. It amazes me how if the kid lays on the ice, it's a penalty but if the kid pops back up, they just play on. In addition to calling them, make them 10 minute automatic game misconducts. If a kid ends up suspended for too many misconducts, I bet the coaches and parents stop saying "nice hit" and start teaching him.

6) Stop allowing crappy helmets to pass inspection. For example, the Bauer 4500 has been around for how many years yet is still readily available and worn far too often and has little ability to absorb the secondary hit of the head. Much like USA Baseball does with bats, start introducing some real and stringent testing with helmets. Warrior/CCM/Bauer: Here is the criteria you have to meet, don't meet this, USA Hockey won't certify them and kids can't wear them. Permanent sticker on the back of the helmet that's easy to see..easy to enforce for on ice officials.

7) Start holding coaches accountable. If your team receives X number of game misconducts during a game, you are sitting a game. If it happens a second time you are suspended 20% of the season, third time you lose your certification for 1 year and have to attend on ice remedial training before being reinstated. I get it, town coaches are volunteers and club coaches aren't really getting paid much either & I sincerely appreciate all they do for the kids. However, they are the best line of defense and in my experience, either don't know how to teach checking or just don't care to.

Last and not least, a mandatory USA Hockey sanctioned clinic before the start of Bantom season that all players MUST attend before they can play a game. I'm trying to give some love to the coaches.
You and your kid should not be playing hockey. If it doesn't work for you and your kid there are always street hockey leagues they can play in. If it's too physical for you and your kid, pick up a golf club. I'm tired of listening to you snowflake and helicopter parents...

Re: Age For Checking

Anon
anon
Anon
anon
I didn\\\\\\\'t miss the point, I was simply trying to point out if checking were eliminated from HS and below, some private enterprise will try and fill the void. I agree, risk is there but it will happen.

You are right about coaches not being well trained as I\\\\\\\'ve experienced it myself with one of my middle kids. Coach didn\\\\\\\'t see the hit, kept rolling him out. After the game, first thing I started asking my son was about his head, balance, etc. because he was clearly not right for the rest of the game. Coach overheard me and asked \\\\\\\"He hit his head?\\\\\\\". Long story short, fairly severe concussion, season over, missed weeks of school and months of sports. Also he never played another game for that coach.

Here\\\\\\\'s an interesting side topic that I started thinking about in context with this question: What can be done to reduce the head trauma, short of eliminating checking?
Nothing outside of eliminating checking can dramatically reduce concussions in hockey. People are asking the same questions about tackle football and it is becoming readily apparent there is no magic solution.

I\\\'m not saying checking should be eliminated. I\\\'m just saying it would be the only sure way of taking a majority of the risk out of the game. If you let your kid play hockey in bantams or above you have to assume some risk. It\\\'s called contact sports for a reason.
I respectfully disagree. You are never going to eliminate all the risk & I don\'t want hitting taken out of the game. You will still have concussions from hitting heads on the ice, on the dasher, but I think the following \"tweaks\" would lead to fewer head injuries.

1) Enforce existing rules. Many a kid, especially 1st year Bantams lead with their arms vs. angling with shoulders. Every Bantam game I\'ve seen players take an elbow to the head because the kid initiating contact instinctually raised his hands at the last second. Make it a \"point of emphasis\" if you will with officials. Hands come up, it\'s a penalty, even if you didn\'t catch their head.

2) Reduce or eliminate the \"finish\" rule. Essentially make it, if the kid doesn\'t have the puck, he\'s not eligible to be hit or withing one or two tenths of a second. What is essentially a 1 second rule has turned into 2 to 3 seconds. If you start calling interference or roughing on these hits, the kids will figure it out pretty quick and create fewer opportunities for the mistakes.

3) Go to \"soft shell\" only shoulder pads. You can keep the hard cap on the chest and back for protection but make the shoulder cap soft. When my kids don\'t make the illegal check from #1, they tell me their barely feel the hit. No wonder, they are essentially wearing football shoulder pads at this point. Now imagine if it actually hurt when you skated 20 feet at full speed to blow that kid up.

4) Introduce hip checking in Pee Wee\'s. The hip check is an effective tool but a nearly lost art. Let the kids get proficient at this before they go all \"all star wrestling\" in Bantams. In fact, I think this plays nicely into the USA Hockey progressive body contact model and generally produces less force than the shoulder check. (Although this has a real potential to result in more knee injuries.)

5) Back to enforcement, start calling the charging, boarding, and elbows that didn\'t result in injury. It amazes me how if the kid lays on the ice, it\'s a penalty but if the kid pops back up, they just play on. In addition to calling them, make them 10 minute automatic game misconducts. If a kid ends up suspended for too many misconducts, I bet the coaches and parents stop saying \"nice hit\" and start teaching him.

6) Stop allowing crappy helmets to pass inspection. For example, the Bauer 4500 has been around for how many years yet is still readily available and worn far too often and has little ability to absorb the secondary hit of the head. Much like USA Baseball does with bats, start introducing some real and stringent testing with helmets. Warrior/CCM/Bauer: Here is the criteria you have to meet, don\'t meet this, USA Hockey won\'t certify them and kids can\'t wear them. Permanent sticker on the back of the helmet that\'s easy to see..easy to enforce for on ice officials.

7) Start holding coaches accountable. If your team receives X number of game misconducts during a game, you are sitting a game. If it happens a second time you are suspended 20% of the season, third time you lose your certification for 1 year and have to attend on ice remedial training before being reinstated. I get it, town coaches are volunteers and club coaches aren\'t really getting paid much either & I sincerely appreciate all they do for the kids. However, they are the best line of defense and in my experience, either don\'t know how to teach checking or just don\'t care to.

Last and not least, a mandatory USA Hockey sanctioned clinic before the start of Bantom season that all players MUST attend before they can play a game. I\'m trying to give some love to the coaches.
You and your kid should not be playing hockey. If it doesn't work for you and your kid there are always street hockey leagues they can play in. If it's too physical for you and your kid, pick up a golf club. I'm tired of listening to you snowflake and helicopter parents...
i didn't get that at all from the post you're responding to.

What I got from your reply is that you must go through ah lot of band-aids with your knuckles dragging around so much.

Re: Age For Checking

Anon
anon
Anon
anon
I didn\\\\\\\'t miss the point, I was simply trying to point out if checking were eliminated from HS and below, some private enterprise will try and fill the void. I agree, risk is there but it will happen.

You are right about coaches not being well trained as I\\\\\\\'ve experienced it myself with one of my middle kids. Coach didn\\\\\\\'t see the hit, kept rolling him out. After the game, first thing I started asking my son was about his head, balance, etc. because he was clearly not right for the rest of the game. Coach overheard me and asked \\\\\\\"He hit his head?\\\\\\\". Long story short, fairly severe concussion, season over, missed weeks of school and months of sports. Also he never played another game for that coach.

Here\\\\\\\'s an interesting side topic that I started thinking about in context with this question: What can be done to reduce the head trauma, short of eliminating checking?
Nothing outside of eliminating checking can dramatically reduce concussions in hockey. People are asking the same questions about tackle football and it is becoming readily apparent there is no magic solution.

I\\\'m not saying checking should be eliminated. I\\\'m just saying it would be the only sure way of taking a majority of the risk out of the game. If you let your kid play hockey in bantams or above you have to assume some risk. It\\\'s called contact sports for a reason.
I respectfully disagree. You are never going to eliminate all the risk & I don\'t want hitting taken out of the game. You will still have concussions from hitting heads on the ice, on the dasher, but I think the following \"tweaks\" would lead to fewer head injuries.

1) Enforce existing rules. Many a kid, especially 1st year Bantams lead with their arms vs. angling with shoulders. Every Bantam game I\'ve seen players take an elbow to the head because the kid initiating contact instinctually raised his hands at the last second. Make it a \"point of emphasis\" if you will with officials. Hands come up, it\'s a penalty, even if you didn\'t catch their head.

2) Reduce or eliminate the \"finish\" rule. Essentially make it, if the kid doesn\'t have the puck, he\'s not eligible to be hit or withing one or two tenths of a second. What is essentially a 1 second rule has turned into 2 to 3 seconds. If you start calling interference or roughing on these hits, the kids will figure it out pretty quick and create fewer opportunities for the mistakes.

3) Go to \"soft shell\" only shoulder pads. You can keep the hard cap on the chest and back for protection but make the shoulder cap soft. When my kids don\'t make the illegal check from #1, they tell me their barely feel the hit. No wonder, they are essentially wearing football shoulder pads at this point. Now imagine if it actually hurt when you skated 20 feet at full speed to blow that kid up.

4) Introduce hip checking in Pee Wee\'s. The hip check is an effective tool but a nearly lost art. Let the kids get proficient at this before they go all \"all star wrestling\" in Bantams. In fact, I think this plays nicely into the USA Hockey progressive body contact model and generally produces less force than the shoulder check. (Although this has a real potential to result in more knee injuries.)

5) Back to enforcement, start calling the charging, boarding, and elbows that didn\'t result in injury. It amazes me how if the kid lays on the ice, it\'s a penalty but if the kid pops back up, they just play on. In addition to calling them, make them 10 minute automatic game misconducts. If a kid ends up suspended for too many misconducts, I bet the coaches and parents stop saying \"nice hit\" and start teaching him.

6) Stop allowing crappy helmets to pass inspection. For example, the Bauer 4500 has been around for how many years yet is still readily available and worn far too often and has little ability to absorb the secondary hit of the head. Much like USA Baseball does with bats, start introducing some real and stringent testing with helmets. Warrior/CCM/Bauer: Here is the criteria you have to meet, don\'t meet this, USA Hockey won\'t certify them and kids can\'t wear them. Permanent sticker on the back of the helmet that\'s easy to see..easy to enforce for on ice officials.

7) Start holding coaches accountable. If your team receives X number of game misconducts during a game, you are sitting a game. If it happens a second time you are suspended 20% of the season, third time you lose your certification for 1 year and have to attend on ice remedial training before being reinstated. I get it, town coaches are volunteers and club coaches aren\'t really getting paid much either & I sincerely appreciate all they do for the kids. However, they are the best line of defense and in my experience, either don\'t know how to teach checking or just don\'t care to.

Last and not least, a mandatory USA Hockey sanctioned clinic before the start of Bantom season that all players MUST attend before they can play a game. I\'m trying to give some love to the coaches.
You and your kid should not be playing hockey. If it doesn't work for you and your kid there are always street hockey leagues they can play in. If it's too physical for you and your kid, pick up a golf club. I'm tired of listening to you snowflake and helicopter parents...
Interesting.

I have to wonder if you would hold to this opinion if your kid ever lost a good part of his season to a dirty hit?

(btw, we all know the answer to this)

Re: Age For Checking

Anon
Anon
anon
Anon
anon
I didn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t miss the point, I was simply trying to point out if checking were eliminated from HS and below, some private enterprise will try and fill the void. I agree, risk is there but it will happen.

You are right about coaches not being well trained as I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'ve experienced it myself with one of my middle kids. Coach didn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t see the hit, kept rolling him out. After the game, first thing I started asking my son was about his head, balance, etc. because he was clearly not right for the rest of the game. Coach overheard me and asked \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"He hit his head?\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\". Long story short, fairly severe concussion, season over, missed weeks of school and months of sports. Also he never played another game for that coach.

Here\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s an interesting side topic that I started thinking about in context with this question: What can be done to reduce the head trauma, short of eliminating checking?
Nothing outside of eliminating checking can dramatically reduce concussions in hockey. People are asking the same questions about tackle football and it is becoming readily apparent there is no magic solution.

I\\\\\\\'m not saying checking should be eliminated. I\\\\\\\'m just saying it would be the only sure way of taking a majority of the risk out of the game. If you let your kid play hockey in bantams or above you have to assume some risk. It\\\\\\\'s called contact sports for a reason.
I respectfully disagree. You are never going to eliminate all the risk & I don\\\'t want hitting taken out of the game. You will still have concussions from hitting heads on the ice, on the dasher, but I think the following \\\"tweaks\\\" would lead to fewer head injuries.

1) Enforce existing rules. Many a kid, especially 1st year Bantams lead with their arms vs. angling with shoulders. Every Bantam game I\\\'ve seen players take an elbow to the head because the kid initiating contact instinctually raised his hands at the last second. Make it a \\\"point of emphasis\\\" if you will with officials. Hands come up, it\\\'s a penalty, even if you didn\\\'t catch their head.

2) Reduce or eliminate the \\\"finish\\\" rule. Essentially make it, if the kid doesn\\\'t have the puck, he\\\'s not eligible to be hit or withing one or two tenths of a second. What is essentially a 1 second rule has turned into 2 to 3 seconds. If you start calling interference or roughing on these hits, the kids will figure it out pretty quick and create fewer opportunities for the mistakes.

3) Go to \\\"soft shell\\\" only shoulder pads. You can keep the hard cap on the chest and back for protection but make the shoulder cap soft. When my kids don\\\'t make the illegal check from #1, they tell me their barely feel the hit. No wonder, they are essentially wearing football shoulder pads at this point. Now imagine if it actually hurt when you skated 20 feet at full speed to blow that kid up.

4) Introduce hip checking in Pee Wee\\\'s. The hip check is an effective tool but a nearly lost art. Let the kids get proficient at this before they go all \\\"all star wrestling\\\" in Bantams. In fact, I think this plays nicely into the USA Hockey progressive body contact model and generally produces less force than the shoulder check. (Although this has a real potential to result in more knee injuries.)

5) Back to enforcement, start calling the charging, boarding, and elbows that didn\\\'t result in injury. It amazes me how if the kid lays on the ice, it\\\'s a penalty but if the kid pops back up, they just play on. In addition to calling them, make them 10 minute automatic game misconducts. If a kid ends up suspended for too many misconducts, I bet the coaches and parents stop saying \\\"nice hit\\\" and start teaching him.

6) Stop allowing crappy helmets to pass inspection. For example, the Bauer 4500 has been around for how many years yet is still readily available and worn far too often and has little ability to absorb the secondary hit of the head. Much like USA Baseball does with bats, start introducing some real and stringent testing with helmets. Warrior/CCM/Bauer: Here is the criteria you have to meet, don\\\'t meet this, USA Hockey won\\\'t certify them and kids can\\\'t wear them. Permanent sticker on the back of the helmet that\\\'s easy to see..easy to enforce for on ice officials.

7) Start holding coaches accountable. If your team receives X number of game misconducts during a game, you are sitting a game. If it happens a second time you are suspended 20% of the season, third time you lose your certification for 1 year and have to attend on ice remedial training before being reinstated. I get it, town coaches are volunteers and club coaches aren\\\'t really getting paid much either & I sincerely appreciate all they do for the kids. However, they are the best line of defense and in my experience, either don\\\'t know how to teach checking or just don\\\'t care to.

Last and not least, a mandatory USA Hockey sanctioned clinic before the start of Bantom season that all players MUST attend before they can play a game. I\\\'m trying to give some love to the coaches.
You and your kid should not be playing hockey. If it doesn\'t work for you and your kid there are always street hockey leagues they can play in. If it\'s too physical for you and your kid, pick up a golf club. I\'m tired of listening to you snowflake and helicopter parents...
Interesting.

I have to wonder if you would hold to this opinion if your kid ever lost a good part of his season to a dirty hit?

(btw, we all know the answer to this)
Snowflake, it happens in the game of hockey and YES my kid has lost time because of it. He fully understands what can happen in a hockey game (good or bad). Now have your kid go pickup a golf club and take tennis lessons before he breaks a finger nail...

Re: Age For Checking

Anon
Anon
Anon
anon
Anon
anon
I didn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t miss the point, I was simply trying to point out if checking were eliminated from HS and below, some private enterprise will try and fill the void. I agree, risk is there but it will happen.

You are right about coaches not being well trained as I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'ve experienced it myself with one of my middle kids. Coach didn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t see the hit, kept rolling him out. After the game, first thing I started asking my son was about his head, balance, etc. because he was clearly not right for the rest of the game. Coach overheard me and asked \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"He hit his head?\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\". Long story short, fairly severe concussion, season over, missed weeks of school and months of sports. Also he never played another game for that coach.

Here\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s an interesting side topic that I started thinking about in context with this question: What can be done to reduce the head trauma, short of eliminating checking?
Nothing outside of eliminating checking can dramatically reduce concussions in hockey. People are asking the same questions about tackle football and it is becoming readily apparent there is no magic solution.

I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'m not saying checking should be eliminated. I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'m just saying it would be the only sure way of taking a majority of the risk out of the game. If you let your kid play hockey in bantams or above you have to assume some risk. It\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s called contact sports for a reason.
I respectfully disagree. You are never going to eliminate all the risk & I don\\\\\\\'t want hitting taken out of the game. You will still have concussions from hitting heads on the ice, on the dasher, but I think the following \\\\\\\"tweaks\\\\\\\" would lead to fewer head injuries.

1) Enforce existing rules. Many a kid, especially 1st year Bantams lead with their arms vs. angling with shoulders. Every Bantam game I\\\\\\\'ve seen players take an elbow to the head because the kid initiating contact instinctually raised his hands at the last second. Make it a \\\\\\\"point of emphasis\\\\\\\" if you will with officials. Hands come up, it\\\\\\\'s a penalty, even if you didn\\\\\\\'t catch their head.

2) Reduce or eliminate the \\\\\\\"finish\\\\\\\" rule. Essentially make it, if the kid doesn\\\\\\\'t have the puck, he\\\\\\\'s not eligible to be hit or withing one or two tenths of a second. What is essentially a 1 second rule has turned into 2 to 3 seconds. If you start calling interference or roughing on these hits, the kids will figure it out pretty quick and create fewer opportunities for the mistakes.

3) Go to \\\\\\\"soft shell\\\\\\\" only shoulder pads. You can keep the hard cap on the chest and back for protection but make the shoulder cap soft. When my kids don\\\\\\\'t make the illegal check from #1, they tell me their barely feel the hit. No wonder, they are essentially wearing football shoulder pads at this point. Now imagine if it actually hurt when you skated 20 feet at full speed to blow that kid up.

4) Introduce hip checking in Pee Wee\\\\\\\'s. The hip check is an effective tool but a nearly lost art. Let the kids get proficient at this before they go all \\\\\\\"all star wrestling\\\\\\\" in Bantams. In fact, I think this plays nicely into the USA Hockey progressive body contact model and generally produces less force than the shoulder check. (Although this has a real potential to result in more knee injuries.)

5) Back to enforcement, start calling the charging, boarding, and elbows that didn\\\\\\\'t result in injury. It amazes me how if the kid lays on the ice, it\\\\\\\'s a penalty but if the kid pops back up, they just play on. In addition to calling them, make them 10 minute automatic game misconducts. If a kid ends up suspended for too many misconducts, I bet the coaches and parents stop saying \\\\\\\"nice hit\\\\\\\" and start teaching him.

6) Stop allowing crappy helmets to pass inspection. For example, the Bauer 4500 has been around for how many years yet is still readily available and worn far too often and has little ability to absorb the secondary hit of the head. Much like USA Baseball does with bats, start introducing some real and stringent testing with helmets. Warrior/CCM/Bauer: Here is the criteria you have to meet, don\\\\\\\'t meet this, USA Hockey won\\\\\\\'t certify them and kids can\\\\\\\'t wear them. Permanent sticker on the back of the helmet that\\\\\\\'s easy to see..easy to enforce for on ice officials.

7) Start holding coaches accountable. If your team receives X number of game misconducts during a game, you are sitting a game. If it happens a second time you are suspended 20% of the season, third time you lose your certification for 1 year and have to attend on ice remedial training before being reinstated. I get it, town coaches are volunteers and club coaches aren\\\\\\\'t really getting paid much either & I sincerely appreciate all they do for the kids. However, they are the best line of defense and in my experience, either don\\\\\\\'t know how to teach checking or just don\\\\\\\'t care to.

Last and not least, a mandatory USA Hockey sanctioned clinic before the start of Bantom season that all players MUST attend before they can play a game. I\\\\\\\'m trying to give some love to the coaches.
You and your kid should not be playing hockey. If it doesn\\\'t work for you and your kid there are always street hockey leagues they can play in. If it\\\'s too physical for you and your kid, pick up a golf club. I\\\'m tired of listening to you snowflake and helicopter parents...
Interesting.

I have to wonder if you would hold to this opinion if your kid ever lost a good part of his season to a dirty hit?

(btw, we all know the answer to this)
Snowflake, it happens in the game of hockey and YES my kid has lost time because of it. He fully understands what can happen in a hockey game (good or bad). Now have your kid go pickup a golf club and take tennis lessons before he breaks a finger nail...
I love how people like you think concern over cheap shots means we're trying to ruin the game. Anyone who has a kid in bantams or above is well aware what can happen in a hockey game. You're not alone there, chippy. I'm fine with my kid taking a hit. He's fine with taking a hit. What I don't want to see is any serious injury because some lunkhead idiot from a knuckle-dragging, loud mouth dad thinks destroying kids with cheap shots is "real hockey".

Re: Age For Checking

Anon
Anon
Anon
anon
Anon
anon
I didn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t miss the point, I was simply trying to point out if checking were eliminated from HS and below, some private enterprise will try and fill the void. I agree, risk is there but it will happen.

You are right about coaches not being well trained as I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'ve experienced it myself with one of my middle kids. Coach didn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t see the hit, kept rolling him out. After the game, first thing I started asking my son was about his head, balance, etc. because he was clearly not right for the rest of the game. Coach overheard me and asked \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"He hit his head?\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\". Long story short, fairly severe concussion, season over, missed weeks of school and months of sports. Also he never played another game for that coach.

Here\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s an interesting side topic that I started thinking about in context with this question: What can be done to reduce the head trauma, short of eliminating checking?
Nothing outside of eliminating checking can dramatically reduce concussions in hockey. People are asking the same questions about tackle football and it is becoming readily apparent there is no magic solution.

I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'m not saying checking should be eliminated. I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'m just saying it would be the only sure way of taking a majority of the risk out of the game. If you let your kid play hockey in bantams or above you have to assume some risk. It\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s called contact sports for a reason.
I respectfully disagree. You are never going to eliminate all the risk & I don\\\\\\\'t want hitting taken out of the game. You will still have concussions from hitting heads on the ice, on the dasher, but I think the following \\\\\\\"tweaks\\\\\\\" would lead to fewer head injuries.

1) Enforce existing rules. Many a kid, especially 1st year Bantams lead with their arms vs. angling with shoulders. Every Bantam game I\\\\\\\'ve seen players take an elbow to the head because the kid initiating contact instinctually raised his hands at the last second. Make it a \\\\\\\"point of emphasis\\\\\\\" if you will with officials. Hands come up, it\\\\\\\'s a penalty, even if you didn\\\\\\\'t catch their head.

2) Reduce or eliminate the \\\\\\\"finish\\\\\\\" rule. Essentially make it, if the kid doesn\\\\\\\'t have the puck, he\\\\\\\'s not eligible to be hit or withing one or two tenths of a second. What is essentially a 1 second rule has turned into 2 to 3 seconds. If you start calling interference or roughing on these hits, the kids will figure it out pretty quick and create fewer opportunities for the mistakes.

3) Go to \\\\\\\"soft shell\\\\\\\" only shoulder pads. You can keep the hard cap on the chest and back for protection but make the shoulder cap soft. When my kids don\\\\\\\'t make the illegal check from #1, they tell me their barely feel the hit. No wonder, they are essentially wearing football shoulder pads at this point. Now imagine if it actually hurt when you skated 20 feet at full speed to blow that kid up.

4) Introduce hip checking in Pee Wee\\\\\\\'s. The hip check is an effective tool but a nearly lost art. Let the kids get proficient at this before they go all \\\\\\\"all star wrestling\\\\\\\" in Bantams. In fact, I think this plays nicely into the USA Hockey progressive body contact model and generally produces less force than the shoulder check. (Although this has a real potential to result in more knee injuries.)

5) Back to enforcement, start calling the charging, boarding, and elbows that didn\\\\\\\'t result in injury. It amazes me how if the kid lays on the ice, it\\\\\\\'s a penalty but if the kid pops back up, they just play on. In addition to calling them, make them 10 minute automatic game misconducts. If a kid ends up suspended for too many misconducts, I bet the coaches and parents stop saying \\\\\\\"nice hit\\\\\\\" and start teaching him.

6) Stop allowing crappy helmets to pass inspection. For example, the Bauer 4500 has been around for how many years yet is still readily available and worn far too often and has little ability to absorb the secondary hit of the head. Much like USA Baseball does with bats, start introducing some real and stringent testing with helmets. Warrior/CCM/Bauer: Here is the criteria you have to meet, don\\\\\\\'t meet this, USA Hockey won\\\\\\\'t certify them and kids can\\\\\\\'t wear them. Permanent sticker on the back of the helmet that\\\\\\\'s easy to see..easy to enforce for on ice officials.

7) Start holding coaches accountable. If your team receives X number of game misconducts during a game, you are sitting a game. If it happens a second time you are suspended 20% of the season, third time you lose your certification for 1 year and have to attend on ice remedial training before being reinstated. I get it, town coaches are volunteers and club coaches aren\\\\\\\'t really getting paid much either & I sincerely appreciate all they do for the kids. However, they are the best line of defense and in my experience, either don\\\\\\\'t know how to teach checking or just don\\\\\\\'t care to.

Last and not least, a mandatory USA Hockey sanctioned clinic before the start of Bantom season that all players MUST attend before they can play a game. I\\\\\\\'m trying to give some love to the coaches.
You and your kid should not be playing hockey. If it doesn\\\'t work for you and your kid there are always street hockey leagues they can play in. If it\\\'s too physical for you and your kid, pick up a golf club. I\\\'m tired of listening to you snowflake and helicopter parents...
Interesting.

I have to wonder if you would hold to this opinion if your kid ever lost a good part of his season to a dirty hit?

(btw, we all know the answer to this)
Snowflake, it happens in the game of hockey and YES my kid has lost time because of it. He fully understands what can happen in a hockey game (good or bad). Now have your kid go pickup a golf club and take tennis lessons before he breaks a finger nail...
I bet you think the liberals want to take away your guns too, right? It's a common argumentative tactic when someone is either not intelligent enough to engage in a civil discussion or is forced to defend a ridiculous position. Fabricate a straw man argument by the opposition, and call it wimpy or un-American, to try and distract everyone from focusing on the real issue at hand. Good lord I'm tired of this tactic.

Re: Age For Checking

anon
Anon
Anon
Anon
anon
Anon
anon
I didn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t miss the point, I was simply trying to point out if checking were eliminated from HS and below, some private enterprise will try and fill the void. I agree, risk is there but it will happen.

You are right about coaches not being well trained as I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'ve experienced it myself with one of my middle kids. Coach didn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t see the hit, kept rolling him out. After the game, first thing I started asking my son was about his head, balance, etc. because he was clearly not right for the rest of the game. Coach overheard me and asked \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"He hit his head?\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\". Long story short, fairly severe concussion, season over, missed weeks of school and months of sports. Also he never played another game for that coach.

Here\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s an interesting side topic that I started thinking about in context with this question: What can be done to reduce the head trauma, short of eliminating checking?
Nothing outside of eliminating checking can dramatically reduce concussions in hockey. People are asking the same questions about tackle football and it is becoming readily apparent there is no magic solution.

I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'m not saying checking should be eliminated. I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'m just saying it would be the only sure way of taking a majority of the risk out of the game. If you let your kid play hockey in bantams or above you have to assume some risk. It\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s called contact sports for a reason.
I respectfully disagree. You are never going to eliminate all the risk & I don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t want hitting taken out of the game. You will still have concussions from hitting heads on the ice, on the dasher, but I think the following \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"tweaks\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" would lead to fewer head injuries.

1) Enforce existing rules. Many a kid, especially 1st year Bantams lead with their arms vs. angling with shoulders. Every Bantam game I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'ve seen players take an elbow to the head because the kid initiating contact instinctually raised his hands at the last second. Make it a \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"point of emphasis\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" if you will with officials. Hands come up, it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s a penalty, even if you didn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t catch their head.

2) Reduce or eliminate the \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"finish\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" rule. Essentially make it, if the kid doesn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t have the puck, he\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s not eligible to be hit or withing one or two tenths of a second. What is essentially a 1 second rule has turned into 2 to 3 seconds. If you start calling interference or roughing on these hits, the kids will figure it out pretty quick and create fewer opportunities for the mistakes.

3) Go to \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"soft shell\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" only shoulder pads. You can keep the hard cap on the chest and back for protection but make the shoulder cap soft. When my kids don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t make the illegal check from #1, they tell me their barely feel the hit. No wonder, they are essentially wearing football shoulder pads at this point. Now imagine if it actually hurt when you skated 20 feet at full speed to blow that kid up.

4) Introduce hip checking in Pee Wee\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s. The hip check is an effective tool but a nearly lost art. Let the kids get proficient at this before they go all \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"all star wrestling\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" in Bantams. In fact, I think this plays nicely into the USA Hockey progressive body contact model and generally produces less force than the shoulder check. (Although this has a real potential to result in more knee injuries.)

5) Back to enforcement, start calling the charging, boarding, and elbows that didn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t result in injury. It amazes me how if the kid lays on the ice, it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s a penalty but if the kid pops back up, they just play on. In addition to calling them, make them 10 minute automatic game misconducts. If a kid ends up suspended for too many misconducts, I bet the coaches and parents stop saying \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"nice hit\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" and start teaching him.

6) Stop allowing crappy helmets to pass inspection. For example, the Bauer 4500 has been around for how many years yet is still readily available and worn far too often and has little ability to absorb the secondary hit of the head. Much like USA Baseball does with bats, start introducing some real and stringent testing with helmets. Warrior/CCM/Bauer: Here is the criteria you have to meet, don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t meet this, USA Hockey won\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t certify them and kids can\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t wear them. Permanent sticker on the back of the helmet that\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s easy to see..easy to enforce for on ice officials.

7) Start holding coaches accountable. If your team receives X number of game misconducts during a game, you are sitting a game. If it happens a second time you are suspended 20% of the season, third time you lose your certification for 1 year and have to attend on ice remedial training before being reinstated. I get it, town coaches are volunteers and club coaches aren\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t really getting paid much either & I sincerely appreciate all they do for the kids. However, they are the best line of defense and in my experience, either don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t know how to teach checking or just don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t care to.

Last and not least, a mandatory USA Hockey sanctioned clinic before the start of Bantom season that all players MUST attend before they can play a game. I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'m trying to give some love to the coaches.
You and your kid should not be playing hockey. If it doesn\\\\\\\'t work for you and your kid there are always street hockey leagues they can play in. If it\\\\\\\'s too physical for you and your kid, pick up a golf club. I\\\\\\\'m tired of listening to you snowflake and helicopter parents...
Interesting.

I have to wonder if you would hold to this opinion if your kid ever lost a good part of his season to a dirty hit?

(btw, we all know the answer to this)
Snowflake, it happens in the game of hockey and YES my kid has lost time because of it. He fully understands what can happen in a hockey game (good or bad). Now have your kid go pickup a golf club and take tennis lessons before he breaks a finger nail...
I bet you think the liberals want to take away your guns too, right? It's a common argumentative tactic when someone is either not intelligent enough to engage in a civil discussion or is forced to defend a ridiculous position. Fabricate a straw man argument by the opposition, and call it wimpy or un-American, to try and distract everyone from focusing on the real issue at hand. Good lord I'm tired of this tactic.
Buddy, give it a rest. Let's face it, your kid got lit up in a game and he was out for a while. Boo hoo. Happened to mine too...

Back to the original point.....checking should start at squirts....

Re: Age For Checking

Now that's the way to add value to a reasonable discussion! I mean why have a real conversation about tweaking the sport before USA Hockey steps in and removes hitting all together & fundamentally changes the nature of the game. No it's not going to go anywhere, but it's enjoyable topic. Any more than the original question of "what age should they start checking?" is going to go anywhere.

No my kids didn't get cut, yes my kids played and play "elite" hockey. My oldest played through HS (public than prep), my middle two currently play HS and I'm not a snowflake. It's an interesting discussion, I'm sorry you are too obtuse to follow along and limit yourself to the enriching topic of E9 vs EHF.

So please go back to your cash register and "No, I don't want fries with that!"

Re: Age For Checking

Anon
I read somewhere that it has to do with kids that went through puberty or have not gone through it yet. At the peewee level its a pretty big jump between a 111/12 year old and a 13 year old.

Kids necks are not developed enough before puberty to be able to support the head during an impact.

Look at Pop Warner football - Numbers are way down because parents do not want to risk there kids long term health.

Another issue is there is no baseline testing so whenever a kid gets rocked - goes to Dr - Dr will always say its a concussion to be on the safe side.

This past year in peewees my kid ran into another kid head on. My kid was not right for 3 weeks. Constant headaches, sensitive to bright light. It was a real eye opener as to how much an effect this had on him.

Yes hitting is eventually going to happen. Not really sure what the right answer is and there might not even be one.

The other issue is that the long term effects of hitting usually come way after your kid is done playing so its hard to correlate the cause.
If your kid recovered completely in three weeks you should consider him and yourself lucky. I know kids that lost 2+months.

A lot of parents are casual on this issue because they figure it will only happen to someone else's kid.

Re: Age For Checking

I read an article that Canada is thinking about only allowing checking to continue in Tier 1 level hockey. The argument was that Tier 1 players might continue playing the sport at a high level but Tier 2 and below is mainly for recreation and fun. Some of the Jr B leagues are blood bath leagues.