HOCKEY ALBERTA TO ELIMINATE BODY CHECKING FROM ALL CATEGORIES OF PEEWEE
Hockey Alberta, acting on a decision made by its Board of Directors, is eliminating body checking from the Peewee division beginning in the 2013-14 season.
“Our players’ safety is the foundation in making this decision,” said Hockey Alberta’s Chair of the Board, Rob Virgil. “There is overwhelming evidence that body checking is the single most consistent risk factor for injuries and concussions in youth ice hockey.”
In 2012, the Board of Directors established a Body Checking Review Committee and tasked them with reviewing relevant scientific research, member feedback from past AGMs and a recent survey and the positions of other Hockey Canada branches as they developed recommendations on options for body checking in Minor Hockey.
Over the course of the past year, the Committee debated and decided upon the following recommendations
which were recently presented to and approved by the Board:
1. Create an overall Player Safety Strategy that includes a focus on the reduction of serious injuries in the game at all levels.
2. Continue to work within the guiding principles of the Long Term Player Development (LTPD) and allow these principles to frame the decision-making process around player development programs at all levels.
3. Remove body checking from all categories of the Peewee age group (11-12 years old).
The Board of Directors felt strongly based on the research and information presented that the organization make this policy level change without delay.
“Hockey Alberta should be commended for taking a leadership role in creating a safer playing environment for our youth,” said Dr. Brian Benson, director of the Sport Concussion Clinic at the University of Calgary Sport Medicine Centre. “Recent evidence suggests removing body checking at the Peewee level will reduce players' risk of concussions and injuries overall by more than three-fold."
Starting next season, the rules of play for the Atom age category will also apply to the Peewee age division. There will be no body checking in all categories of Peewee hockey, and there will be a penalty assessed for players who body check. Coaches will still be required to take the Checking Skills Program in Peewee and encouraged to teach safe checking skills in a practice environment.
Body Checking Seminar Panelists:
Rob Litwinski – General Manager, Hockey Alberta
The seminar also featured a question and answer period between the membership and the panel, and a breakout session where members had the opportunity to brainstorm possible solutions for how and when body checking should be implemented in the province. As part of the workshop, members were asked to fill out a 10-question survey to indicate their position on body checking.
About Hockey Alberta
Hockey Alberta is the governing body for amateur hockey in the province of Alberta ranging from the levels of minor hockey to senior hockey including the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Hockey Alberta has approximately 450 member organizations representing over 90,000 participants. Hockey Alberta is responsible in providing education, development and leadership to all players, coaches and officials.
Hockey Alberta's High Performance Coach Mentor, Barry Medori, speaks on the decision to remove body checking from the peewee level, Body Contact & Body Checking Definitions and the Progression Model of Checking. He also touches on what the decision means to coaches in Alberta.
Hockey Alberta's Executive Director, Rob Litwinski presents on the process taken in the removal of body checking at the peewee level during the Body Checking Seminar held at the 2013 Hockey Alberta AGM.
Member of the Hockey Alberta's Body Checking Committee, Jerrold Lemko, speaks about the committee's research and findings and how the committee came to their recommendations.