Allow Body Checking in Girl's/Women's Hockey

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  I would like to start off by introducing myself. My name is Rylee Langdon, and I am a thirteen year old female that plays hockey in Western New York. This year, I'm entering Bantam. I had my heart set on being on a boy’s team, and being able to begin body checking. But recently, my parents and I have decided I would be a better fit on a girl’s team, which I agreed to. Boys begin to get more athletic, usually starting in Bantam, and in no means am I going to deny that boys, on average, are stronger than girls, it's biology. However, I don't see why a team of girls, the same age as their male counterparts, cannot be physical with each other to the same extent that boys are able to. Some may argue that girls are weaker than boys, and on an average scale (according to www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov ‘s article “Gender differences in strength and muscle fiber characteristics.”), that holds true. Number one, we're not talking about boys versus girls, and second, why are are we being taught the game of hockey in a different manner than boys in the same age group, just because we’re girls? You may also say that parents may not want to sign their girls up, now that the game is more physical. You are the parent, and you make decisions for your child, but if the parents are educated and their child is taught how to check and get checked safely, it isn't any less dangerous, than say, driving your children in a car. Yes, they are very safe, if you have the right precautions put in place (seat belt, airbag, etc.), but accidents can happen. You wouldn’t put a seat belt on your daughter and not your son solely because of the fact that he is stronger than she is. Changing the rules for a game for a different gender that does not have a scientific or educated reason in which it would, in fact, “level the playing field” and in turn make the game more equal than it would be if rules remained the same for both genders, shouldn’t be a rule at all. I also do not stand alone on this matter, countless friends and family members, girls on my team, even professional hockey players, both male and female, believe that hockey should be adapted to provide an equal game and equal opportunity for all hockey players, regardless of gender. In this day in age when society is progressing with teaching girls that they “can be equal” to boys, or women to men later in life in a work force and social setting, why would we contradict this now, at an age where we are building our foundation? Wouldn’t it only be fair retract a stone-age rule that places boys/men in a place that is perceived as more powerful than girls/women? In conclusion,  I would like to request USA Hockey to change Rule 604, that states that girls and women are not aloud to check at all, to allowing girls and women to check, starting bantam and up, just like the boys.



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