UPDATED: Body checking banned from peewee hockey

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Jason Malloy - TC Media

Hockey Canada

Body checking has been removed from peewee hockey across Canada.

Delegates to Hockey Canada's annual general meeting in Charlottetown on Saturday voted overwhelmingly in favour of removing body checking for 11- and 12-year-old players.

While the vote was not recorded it appeared to be 42-2 in favour of the change. Saskatchewan voted against the motion and there were two votes unaccounted for.

“The change, in our opinion, creates a safer environment for kids and will help with development,” said Hockey P.E.I. executive director Rob Newson.

He added it was a big decision, but knows there will be those opposed to the change, which starts in the 2013-14 season.

“Change is not easy. People don’t like change and there will be people who don’t agree with us,” he said.

But after reviewing the research, which showed there is three times greater risk of injury and four times the risk of concussions in body checking environments at the peewee level, Hockey P.E.I. made its decision to support the motion.

“Priority one to us, is safety and development of young hockey players,” Newson said. “If we can make the game safer for our kids, it’s a big step for everyone.”

The issue has been discussing for decades, but really attracted a lot of interest earlier this year when Alberta and Nova Scotia both made the change.

A province, or branch, can strengthen a national policy, but not weaken one.

Hockey Nova Scotia executive director Darren Cossar said he was unsure how the vote was going to go Saturday afternoon.

“It’s exciting and I think it’s great for our game going forward,” he said. “It really was like an elation of a vciotry or a championship.”

Before lunch the former NHL coach Jacques Demers said he supported increasing the body checking level to bantam.

"I'm all for it," the former Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings coach said. "Why not protect our young kids?"

He admitted to changing his own view from his coaching days. He said the evidence of concussions in the sport helped in his decision.

"We need a change, especially at the peewee level," Demers said. "You could have a six-foot-four, six-foot-three, and we see that in tournaments, and you could have another peewee that's five-foot-five and he has no chance to compete."

Geographic location: Saskatchewan

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Recent comments

  • Lisa
    May 26, 2013 - 14:41

    A good call; there are too many old school, uneducated head hunters out there that don't know how to teach kids respect and how to check. The equipment and size of these competitive players are not the same as 'back in the day'. It's not the same game. The really great players are going to be less and less if they are told by midget they have to give up hockey because of too many concussions. And lets be serious, for the vast majority, we want these kids to be playing until their retirement and after, not retiring from hockey when their 16.

  • Townie
    May 26, 2013 - 14:22

    Good one Sam! You are bang on........thanks for making me laugh!

  • bubby hall
    May 26, 2013 - 14:16

    i bet you will see outlaw leagues popping up that don't follow hockey nova scotia rules. and this is where the talented/gutsy kids will play in order to get noticed/drafted.

  • Sam
    May 26, 2013 - 12:16

    Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Johnny Smoke-The man with nothing to do and all day to do it!

    • Johnnie smoke
      May 26, 2013 - 20:06

      Why thanks for the recognition, if someday you are as fortunate as myself you too may be able to partake in such activities, however in the meantime please be advised that the comments on this paper are mine and mine alone. If for some reason you find that your nose is out of joint then maybe that is the result of putting it where it does not belong, or better still submit intelligent and valuable information for all to read, drivel is easy, intelligent contributions are not and out of the reach of some eh Sam?

  • Johnny smoke
    May 26, 2013 - 08:16

    It will not be long before pink skates and ear rings will be mandatory for pee wee hockey players. I watched an all female team recently in Ontario, and they would put this gang of sissies to shame, it was a free for all and it was real entertaining hockey. What will he have now? Mommy and daddy will have to take them to the game and Mommy and Daddy will have to take them home again. Gone are the days of the frozen ponds and backyard rinks. Now we have scores of adults who were too inept or timid to play with their peers in their younger days telling the rest of the parents what is best for their kids. Gee I hope none of them fall down and split their lip's that would be a medical emergency for sure. Oh and leave the athletic support cups in the kit bag, they are definitely not needed.