May 1, 2011 in Sports

Letter: Move will not help


USA Hockey will vote in June on a proposal that will delay body checking from the peewee year (age 11) to the bantam year (age 13).

The argument is that kids are suffering too many head/neck injuries because of body checking.

If this rule is changed, players coming into the bantam level will likely suffer more injuries than before.

The two bantam years are the most diverse years of youth hockey, in regard to size and strength.

Picture this: a kid who is 5-foot-4 and 110 pounds without a single hair on his body, going up against a kid who is 6 foot and weighs 200 pounds who has a hard time getting his helmet on because of his beard.

The 200-pound kid will demolish the 110-pound kid, and more often than not, the smaller kid will suffer a severe head injury, usually a concussion.

If checking were introduced at an earlier age when the kids’ size difference is minimal, at age 11 or even earlier, players would have at least two more years to learn the correct way to give and receive a body check.

Graham Gustafson


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