When minor hockey re-starts, September 7, don’t expect body-checking to come back with it.
During a meeting with the Vancouver Island Health Authority, Sunday, August 7, 17 minor hockey associations voted 10 to seven in favour of banning body-checking.
The decision came as a result of a number of studies that imply that body-checking may not be the way to go.
“Logically, if you start reading some of these studies, that are fact-based, there’s likely to be some liability down the road,” Lake Cowichan District Minor Hockey Association president Jackie Cummings said.
Cummings voted against the motion to eliminate body-checking, though hindsight being 20/20 she now says that she would have voted in favour of the motion.
“I hadn’t had the opportunity to consult with my association,” she said.
“As for our association, it’s good for everyone… If it wasn’t going to happen this year, it would be sure to happen next year.”
A couple of the studies’ main assertions are as follows:
• According to one estimate, there are a maximum of 24.3 concussions per 1000 player game hours. Repeat concussions can result in long-term disabilities.
• Returning to the game after a concussion is particularly dangerous, as a second blow may cause the brain to swell rapidly, “resulting in extensive further injury, or uncal herniation and death, probably because of the loss of autoregulation of the cerebral vasculature”
Cummings said that she’s already received calls from parents that had previously not wanted their kids in hockey because of the violence involved. So far, the decision to disallow body-checking has helped increase registrations.
The elimination of body-checking doesn’t mean the elimination of all contact, Cummings clarified.
“You can pin, but you’re not allowed to make an actual body check,” she said.
The elimination of body-checking will increase not only the numbers of players that register, but the availability of younger referees, who were previously unable to ref the older age groups due to their rough game-play.
Hockey association volunteers are preparing for an influx of late registrations, as a result of the body-check ban.
“We’re not going to be turning any child away from hockey,” Cummings said.
For more information on registrations, visit the association’s website, at www.lakecowichanminorhockey.com.
Cummings encourages anyone wanting more informa—tion on this body-checking issue to phone her, at 250-932-7565, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.