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Changing The Checking Age Does Not Soften Our Sport

04/15/2011, 8:45am MDT
By Mike Milbury

I don’t want to be confused with somebody who has gone “wimpish” on the sport of hockey. I think we’ve had a lot of “soccer mom” mentality creeping into our game, and I know much of it is based in a very real concern for concussions and other types of injuries. With that said, I don’t want to take it too far.

I was honored to join USA Hockey’s subcommittee on body checking and feel that I have a broad background that allows me to bring something to the table on this important topic.

The subcommittee consisted of some very educated individuals who care deeply about the game. Nobody was getting paid or had a hidden agenda. Some were adamantly opposed to changing the rules on checking and others were fully supportive of the change. That was the starting point for the dialogue that followed.

Information was presented from many different points of view. Some focused on the competitive and skill development side while others came at it from a physiological perspective. As a parent, I listened with great interest as Dr. Michael Stuart presented information that indicated that kids under the age of 11 or even 12 were more susceptible to concussions, and also that the impact of those concussions could last for extended periods of time.

Clearly, kids at that age are not developed physically enough to enter into this kind of contact without real jeopardy to their health. That was a no brainer to begin with, but it was more than that.

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Tag(s): Body-Checking Rule