Re-Evaluate Body Checking Bans in Hockey
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In April of 2016 Hockey Edmonton banned body checking in Bantam and Midget levels below the "B" level. In 2013 Hockey Canada removed body checking from the level of "PeeWee." Delaying the entry of body checking into the game will create more injuries when players are bigger and stronger. Body Checking is part of the game of hockey for many years and it will never be completely removed from the game of hockey because would cause a huge loss in revenue for leagues which have many fans such as the NHL and the CHL. Players need to learn how to body check properly from a young age instead of it being thrown into the game once players reach a certain age. If players have started to body check at a younger age when the are closer to the beginning of their hockey careers they will grow up learning to body check properly, and when they are bigger and stronger they will know how to hit to get the puck not to injure the puck carrier. In the long term this will prevent having injuries in the game of hockey and bring back the passion for the game that has been lost at lower levels. Many people in the hockey world are against removing body checking, including don cherry as he stated to the Toronto Sun when body checking was removed from Peewee "Hockey Canada is on the road to Hell." Cherry also warned that by stating “You’re going to be sorry. You watch and see, you will be sorry.”
Hockey Edmonton claims that removing body checking from lower level of Bantam and Midget will stop players from quitting the game of hockey when body checking is introduced. When in reality Hockey Edmonton offers a Recreational Hockey League that is offered for players who want to continue in hockey with body checking. Even with the removal of body checking in normal streams of Hockey in Edmonton. Hockey Edmonton is still convinced that the Recreational Hockey League will still run.
In the report that Hockey Edmonton released on the change it states, "Effective in the 2016-
17 hockey season, Hockey Edmonton and its Clubs, Districts and Operating Areas will offer body checking in the Divisions of
Bantam and Midget in categories of play that
participate in Provincial Championships –
specifically AAA, AA, A, and B." They state that only A and B can participate participate in Provincial Championships, but Hockey Alberta does in fact run Championships for the C and D categories, which teams in Alberta can play down to participate in. By removing body checking from these levels they are preventing Edmonton teams from being competitive in out of town tournaments and even preventing some players from playing competitive hockey throughout the remainder of their lives.
In conclusion Hockey Edmonton should re-evaluate what are all of the sides of removing body checking from the levels that they have and take into account what parents and players want, as a Global News Poll stated that 79% of People are against the move.
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