National body strengthens checking from behind hockey rules

  • Updated: May 14, 2012 - 7:52 PM
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Jack Jablonski

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The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Ice Hockey Rules Committee announced changes Monday that will strengthen the language for checking from behind.

Players who push, charge, cross-check or body-check an opponent from behind in open ice will draw a minor and misconduct penalty. Players who deliver those hits from behind into the boards or goal frame will draw a flagrant violation and receive a game disqualification.

Dan Schuster, NFHS staff liaison to the ice hockey rules committee, said player safety was the main factor in the rules change.

"Because of the attention being given to dangerous play, the committee really took a hard look at the severity of injuries caused by these hits," he said. "The reason behind the rule is more about addressing a change of culture in high school hockey, and players, coaches, officials and fans need to understand the consequences of these hits."

Benilde-St. Margaret's sophomore Jack Jablonski was paralyzed by a check from behind into the boards during a junior varsity game last December. In the wake of Jablonski's injury, the Minnesota State High School League made penalties for head contact, boarding and checking from behind five-minute major penalties.

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