Another great Minnesota boys’ hockey tournament is behind us. I celebrate the effort of the players, the strategy of the coaching and the unshakable spirit of the loyal fans.

I wonder, however, if it isn’t time to eliminate checking from the game. With growing evidence of the disabling effects of concussions, sensitivity to the damage that violence inflicts across our society and several highly publicized injuries of late, I submit that the Great State of Hockey would be better for this civilizing change.

As a longtime supporter of girls’ and women’s hockey — as a fan, a parent and a former player — I assure you that the game can be fast, thrilling and just as spectator-friendly without potentially paralyzing blows. Along with the score, the shots on goal and the time remaining on the clock, boys’ hockey still includes one chilling statistic: hits. As one TV announcer boasted during the Wayzata-Eden Prairie game: “If you’re on the ice, you either hit, or you’re gonna be hit.”

Let’s let these athletes’ explosive speed, puck-handling finesse, and undeniable grace and power under pressure be their lasting legacy. Let’s leave the roughneck bashing behind. These boys are too good not to be able to walk off the ice with their heads high and their bodies and futures intact.

Tracy Nordstrom, Minneapolis


Sentence of community service, probation was insufficient

How incredibly unfortunate that the 17-year-old who killed a father and daughter while recklessly texting and driving will not see any prison time (Minnesota section, March 5). We imprison people for years for possession of drugs, yet we offer community service for killers. We will see real changes with our legal and prison system when we begin to value human life once again.

Michael Burakowski, Golden Valley


Legislative session start invites the perennial misinterpretation

State Rep. Jim Knobach is quoted in Lori Sturdevant’s March 6 column as stating: “It’s no secret that this is one of the worst states in the country when it comes to our tax climate, our business climate.” Typical Republican comment during the weeks before the Legislature begins meeting. CNBC’s annual review of all top states for business in 2015 had Minnesota at No. 1. This is a very respected review published annually by the network.

There are many factors that CNBC uses for its study. See the following story for the information:

Bill Ojile, Lino Lakes


If we’re going to switch, we have a few things to consider

It cannot be denied that every eighth year the Minnesota caucuses become extremely chaotic. So, what is the answer? Are the taxpayers OK about picking up the $3 million tab for the cost of a state presidential primary rather than letting each party foot the bill for the caucus system? If so, will the state’s voters prefer an open or closed primary? Should any voter be able to decide whom a political party chooses as its candidate, or should only the supporters of that party make that decision? When one party has an incumbent president, would the members of that party feel free to “cross over” to the other side and choose the weakest opponent?

Anyone who has talked to voters has heard Minnesotans say: “I don’t consider myself a Democrat or a Republican; I vote for the individual!” As someone who was an observer at the recounts for both governor and senator, I can affirm that Minnesota voters do indeed vote “for the individual.” As the ballots swiftly went past my eyes, it was clear that many Minnesotans split their votes between people of two or three parties! Would they be comfortable registering as a member of one political party as required in a closed primary? Simply some things to consider.

Carole Rydberg, Plymouth

• • •

As voter turnout in Kansas reached a record on Saturday, many caucus sites were forced to print more ballots at local copying shops. Although most states have not been running out of ballots, many states have seen record turnout this election cycle. Many people say that the enormous voter turnout is good for the country. I agree, but the massive wave of voters has magnified the problem of our current voting system. At many voting sites, citizens have had to wait for hours, have been turned away at the door or, at a Kansas voting site, were lined up in greater numbers outside than inside the building. All of this is because the current voting method is extremely inefficient and disgustingly slow. Why, in the 21st century, don’t we vote electronically?

There are considerable benefits to electronic voting. First, it would tremendously help America’s abysmal turnout rate and would allow almost universal access to voting. Second, it would dramatically reduce the costs of elections. In the status quo, elections cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but with an electronic vote, we could eliminate many costs of voting machines, election staff and ballots. Some say it would threaten American democracy, but many democratic countries have employed it, including France, Canada, Brazil and Finland.

With all of the issues witnessed in the primaries and caucuses, it has never been clearer that America needs to make the switch to an electronic vote.

Daksh Goel, Eden Prairie


Don’t go backward, editorial says, but forward kind of stinks

The March 5 editorial (“Don’t go backward on health coverage”) was predictable. First, to cite reports from Minnesota Department of Health and the University of Minnesota as arbitrators of fact on this issue is troubling, for there are no other two entities who are more incapable of refusing the taxpayer dollar for any program under the guise of improving health care or higher education. After all, who can be against those two noble causes? But I presume it is easy when it isn’t their money. There also is no reference to cost increases for the Affordable Care Act in the editorial. I believe that is integral to the conversation, too.

The Editorial Board also wrote: “The state’s health insurance marketplace, MNsure, contributed by raising awareness of coverage assistance and through its strong outreach to underserved communities.” These underserved communities are also aware that MNsure is incapable of sending necessary tax documentation to approximately 50 percent of enrolled citizens so they can file their taxes in a timely fashion. But I presume that point doesn’t matter, because it deals with fiscal responsibility. Being “transparent” is the new positive phrase today. In this case, the Editorial Board’s transparency is laughable.

David Mann, Eden Prairie

• • •

I want to make sure my voice is heard loud and clear: I am benefiting because of the Affordable Care Act and MNsure. Before MNsure, I paid $789 per month to cover my daughter and me. After MNsure, I pay $259 per month for this. I am an ophthalmic assistant with two part-time jobs performing a needed service in the health care industry. I do all of the testing before an ophthalmologist sees a patient, including the determination of a glasses prescription, for a wage of about $21 an hour. Because I work part time, I do not qualify for medical benefits in either of my jobs. The new law has made health care more affordable to me.

Patricia Walsh, Minneapolis