Without checking at younger levels, players don’t learn the correct way to body-check.
After watching a Bantam hockey game, I realized that the recent rule against body-checking for the sport’s younger participants is having an effect opposite of what was intended. Instead of teaching kids how to hit at younger ages, the governing bodies for amateur hockey took the privilege away, moving it from the Peewee level (ages 11 to 13) to the Bantams (ages 13 to 15). This leads to stronger and more “developed” players who cannot correctly throw a clean hit and end up hurting themselves or other players.
The age should have been lowered instead. I do not know any 9- and 10-year-olds who can give each other concussions; however, I know quite a few 14- and 15-year-olds who are 200 pounds and up and who could knock me into tomorrowland. Especially now, when concussions are acknowledged as a serious concern, I would have thought such an obvious outcome could have been predicted.
MATTHEW TYLER SELMAN, Eden Prairie
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