Minnesota Hockey and USA Hockey are ignoring two issues ("Stricter youth hockey penalties are likely to be undone," June 20).
First, referees have a conflict of interest in calling harsh penalties. Coaches often influence which local referees get hired, so the interim safety penalties allow referees to "blame the rules" more and fear retribution less. That's good.
The second factor, which is not even being discussed to my knowledge, is that there's no accountability for penalties late in games. In the closing seconds of drama-filled games, because late penalties don't carry over to future games, players often take out their frustration on opposing players, knowing that their team will always have a clean slate the next game. That's bad.
Since few referees like being villains and coaches have limited tools to control some player misconduct, meaningful and mandatory penalties for dangerous checking and boarding are good for hockey. Period.
Change always sparks debate, but youth hockey desperately needs more accountability, as well as changes such as a neutral referee scheduling system and penalties carrying over to future games. Hockey doesn't need to be a bloodsport, at any level.
RANDY HOLLAND, LITTLE FALLS, MINN.