CULTURE CHANGE IN MINNESOTA HOCKEY
DEC. 30, 2011
Benilde-St. Margaret's forward Jack Jablonski is paralyzed by a check from behind into the boards in a junior varsity game.
Minnesota State High School League makes unprecedented midseason change -- stiffer penalties on dangerous hits in boys' and girls' hockey. Checking from behind, boarding and contact to the head penalties all result in 5-minute major penalties. The opposing team can score as many power-play goals as possible in that span.
National Federation of State High School Associations tables Minnesota's request to make 5-minute major penalty model standard throughout the country, citing need for more data. However, NFHS strengthens language for hits into the boards or goal frame. Those penalties draw automatic ejections. Minnesota is not affected.
Minnesota Hockey, which oversees 40,000 youth players, votes 18-6 to maintain stiffer penalties for dangerous hits. The group's safety committee had recommended going back to its previous structure, igniting a passionate debate.
First full season of tougher penalties in Minnesota high school hockey begins.
DAVID LA VAQUE