Bodychecking eliminated from pee wee

A pee wee bodychecking ban approved by the Hockey Canada board is fully supported by the SMHA.

A pee wee bodychecking ban approved by the Hockey Canada board on Saturday  is fully supported by the Smithers Minor Hockey Association.

The decision came at Hockey Canada’s AGM in Charlottetown and comes into effect for the 2014-2015 hockey season.

Only Saskatchewan voted against the ban.

The vote reflected a concern too many injuries and concussions were being experienced by young hockey players, Hockey Canada spokesperson Andre Brin said.

The issue has been on the SMHA radar for a few years, president Dave Turko said, and last year at the BC Hockey AGM a motion was narrowly defeated to ban bodychecking in pee wee.

SMHA voted in favour of the motion.

“I personally don’t think kids will not be lacking by not having checking at that age,” Turko said.

“I don’t think they will be delayed in their hockey development whatsoever.

“I think they will probably end up being better hockey players.

“It will be safer for the kids.”

Additionally, Terrace Minor Hockey decided last year to take bodychecking out of all of their house-league levels.

Some concern has been raised about the ban, in the belief that when kids are older and bigger and playing bantam hockey, they will not know how to bodycheck properly.

Turko said he agrees this is an area that needs improvement.

“I think we’ve kind of fallen apart a bit on teaching checking to kids,” Turko admitted.

To deal with this scenario, the Hockey Canada board of directors also decided to develop a body checking standard for coaching that will also be implemented during the 2014-2015 hockey season.