Change OWHA Teams for Competitive Girls Hockey to be by Birth Year and not Under 10/12/14
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Did you know that when girls ages 5 to 17 sign on for a competitive hockey team, they actually play with and against girls that can be up to 2 years older? My daughter has played competitively for 6 years. This last year she suffered from a broken collar bone and a dislocated knee cap. Both were as of the result of hits she took on the ice by an opposing player much larger and older than her. I hold the OWHA solely responsible for what has happened to my daughter and the situation they have forced her into. We know as parents that every time our daughters or sons steps on the ice, there is always a risk of injury. Yesterday, I was one of those parents waiting for the ambulance to come while my daughter screamed and cried while lying on the ice for 45 minutes. As a parent, a lot goes through your mind. None of it good. We accept that risk. If we didn't, we would remove her from competitive hockey. My issue is that the risk has been drastically increased due to the fact that the OWHA still has the antiquated way of categorizing teams. They dictate teams to be formed with "Under 12 or Under 14". This means you can have girls hit their birthday after December and be almost 2 years older than the minor who just went passed the age cutoff.
As a parent, I want this changed. The categorization should be done the same as boys competitive hockey (GTHL and the United States) and based on birth year with 1 year within a team. Year after year, I have seen girls play and get hurt due to them being a minor and the other player being a very senior major. Injuries are on the rise and will not stop. Kids bodies have changed since the 70's. They mature and grow at much different rates nowadays. Some girls are full size by the time they are 14, while others haven't started maturing yet. Many girls have already played with boys and then move to girls hockey. There is also the fact that many coaches are using this system to manipulate their roster and create an unfair competitive edge. They can stack with majors and end up being unbeaten in their division due to sheer size and maturity. This is why in most tournaments there will be blowout games where teams simply can't compete. This all must stop. We must ask for the OWHA to update their rules to reflect today's demographics. I want to create a fair and safe playing environment for the almost 10000 girls in Ontario that play competitive hockey. If your province or state have the same problem, join this initiative!
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