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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!"
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.