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Let's Go B-Lo

OT - USA Hockey Declaration of Player Safety, Fair Play, and Respect

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I don't remember us discussing this and a cursory search turned up nothing.

I know several of us have kids who play or who have or currently play themselves.  In June, USA Hockey published a memorandum that puts major emphasis on reducing uncessary and late hitting in youth hockey.  I'll provide the link below so you can read through it.  One highlight specifically is intended to eliminate "finishing the check" .  Body contact must be for the purpose of winning the puck, not intimidating or punishing.  If a player has taken the shot or made the pass and contact is reasonably able to be avoided the defending player has the obligation to avoid the contact.  

I have many thoughts about this but my immediate thought, which I shared with USA Hockey, is that enforcement of this mandate is going to require SIGNIFICANT oversight from USA Hockey along with major sanctions handed down for non-compliance with the new standard.  I'm sure we can all think of rinks with bad refs and outlaw programs that will push the rules as far as they can all the time.  I can name you several off the top of my head.  I have zero faith that this memorandum will carry any weight in those rinks and if you go in there trying to play this way you will be at even greater risk of injury because you are less prepared than you would have been.

At the higher levels of USA Hockey, sure, this will change quickly because those levels have oversight.  Lots of it.  The lower levels, however, do not and there isn't, IMO, a culture of following directives from governing bodies.  The regional league my son plays in has thumbed it's nose at the Atlantic District at least twice that I know about and really nothing happened. Granted, it wasn't about player safety, but one wouldn't think you could do that at all and get away with it.

My son broke his arm in a tournament in July on what was, by definition, a late check.  He made the pass, at least a "one-one thousand" went by, and got run into the boards.  No call.  It wasn't an overly bad hit at all.  Far from it.  As a parent, I think my son should have gotten himself out of the way, or at least done a better job preparing for the hit, but he's 13 and this was his 4th checking game of his life.  According to the directive it shouldn't have happened at all and it was delivered by one of the outlaw programs in our area who then proceeded to make several other, much later, hits during the game and nothing was called.  If you are trying to change the culture, don't you need to start at Bantam and be super strict so the kids learn the way you want them to play rather than allow them to run amok then try to reign them in later?  If you decide to do that, how do you discipline referees who fail to do enforce it knowing that you don't have enough refs at lower levels already?

I dunno.  Give it a read. Let me know what you think.

https://cdn1.sportngin.com/attachments/document/0ad3-1921426/Declaration-of-Safety-Fair-Play-and-Respect1.pdf

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4 hours ago, Let's Go B-Lo said:

I don't remember us discussing this and a cursory search turned up nothing.

I know several of us have kids who play or who have or currently play themselves.  In June, USA Hockey published a memorandum that puts major emphasis on reducing uncessary and late hitting in youth hockey.  I'll provide the link below so you can read through it.  One highlight specifically is intended to eliminate "finishing the check" .  Body contact must be for the purpose of winning the puck, not intimidating or punishing.  If a player has taken the shot or made the pass and contact is reasonably able to be avoided the defending player has the obligation to avoid the contact.  

I have many thoughts about this but my immediate thought, which I shared with USA Hockey, is that enforcement of this mandate is going to require SIGNIFICANT oversight from USA Hockey along with major sanctions handed down for non-compliance with the new standard.  I'm sure we can all think of rinks with bad refs and outlaw programs that will push the rules as far as they can all the time.  I can name you several off the top of my head.  I have zero faith that this memorandum will carry any weight in those rinks and if you go in there trying to play this way you will be at even greater risk of injury because you are less prepared than you would have been.

At the higher levels of USA Hockey, sure, this will change quickly because those levels have oversight.  Lots of it.  The lower levels, however, do not and there isn't, IMO, a culture of following directives from governing bodies.  The regional league my son plays in has thumbed it's nose at the Atlantic District at least twice that I know about and really nothing happened. Granted, it wasn't about player safety, but one wouldn't think you could do that at all and get away with it.

My son broke his arm in a tournament in July on what was, by definition, a late check.  He made the pass, at least a "one-one thousand" went by, and got run into the boards.  No call.  It wasn't an overly bad hit at all.  Far from it.  As a parent, I think my son should have gotten himself out of the way, or at least done a better job preparing for the hit, but he's 13 and this was his 4th checking game of his life.  According to the directive it shouldn't have happened at all and it was delivered by one of the outlaw programs in our area who then proceeded to make several other, much later, hits during the game and nothing was called.  If you are trying to change the culture, don't you need to start at Bantam and be super strict so the kids learn the way you want them to play rather than allow them to run amok then try to reign them in later?  If you decide to do that, how do you discipline referees who fail to do enforce it knowing that you don't have enough refs at lower levels already?

I dunno.  Give it a read. Let me know what you think.

https://cdn1.sportngin.com/attachments/document/0ad3-1921426/Declaration-of-Safety-Fair-Play-and-Respect1.pdf

The only thing I saw significantly different between that point of emphasis and the point of emphasis from the '13-'17 USAHockey Rulebook (sorry haven't downloaded the current version) is that the checker's stick is supposed to be on the puck now. (Which is actually a little weird if that was read correctly.)

Everything else is essentially equivalent IMHO to the guidance that has been in place since they removed checking from PeeWee.

Checking is and has supposed to be used to separate the opponent from the puck.  Nothing really has changed about that.

As for rogue organizations teaching ( and rogue refs enforcing) a different standard, we'll hopefully this will help reduce that.

But even though players don't check in games until they're Bantams they should be taught the basics of receiving and throwing a check well before that (IMHO, they should learning that 2nd year squirt at the latest.  So, they're ready for it when they get to Bantam.)

The kids love the checking drills and we've always taught them that "they check to separate the puck from their opponents, not their opponents from reality." 😉

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The stick on the puck/below the knees is an interesting concept.  I disagree, but whatever.

They might as well ban checking now, it's the path they are heading on and frankly, I'm fine with it. They'll be forced to take it out at some point simply from an insurance standpoint.

My favorite quote?

The concept of “finishing the check” is an unacceptable action as it is one that is meant to intimidate or punish the  opponent with no intent to gain possession of the puck.  The responsibility is on the player delivering the check to avoid  forceful contact (minimize impact) to a vulnerable or defenseless player who is no longer in control of the puck.

Would that be no intent to gain IMMEDIATE possession of the puck?  I could argue that slowing a player from the pace of play has a possession advantage probability factor. If you just let the player skate then they remain in the play.  Usually the checking player will recover from the check and be engaged in the flow of play quicker than the player who is checked.

But whatever.  Our first games are this weekend.  I can't wait for the bench to be warned about banging on the boards when a hit is made.

Sigh.

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13 minutes ago, LTS said:

The stick on the puck/below the knees is an interesting concept.  I disagree, but whatever.

They might as well ban checking now, it's the path they are heading on and frankly, I'm fine with it. They'll be forced to take it out at some point simply from an insurance standpoint.

My favorite quote?

The concept of “finishing the check” is an unacceptable action as it is one that is meant to intimidate or punish the  opponent with no intent to gain possession of the puck.  The responsibility is on the player delivering the check to avoid  forceful contact (minimize impact) to a vulnerable or defenseless player who is no longer in control of the puck.

Would that be no intent to gain IMMEDIATE possession of the puck?  I could argue that slowing a player from the pace of play has a possession advantage probability factor. If you just let the player skate then they remain in the play.  Usually the checking player will recover from the check and be engaged in the flow of play quicker than the player who is checked.

But whatever.  Our first games are this weekend.  I can't wait for the bench to be warned about banging on the boards when a hit is made.

Sigh.

USAH has technically had banging on the boards for any reason an unsportsmanlike penalty for a while now.  Haven't ever seen it called but have received warnings about it in the past.

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42 minutes ago, LTS said:

The stick on the puck/below the knees is an interesting concept.

Keeps you from winding up to drive your shoulder and/or elbow through the opponent.  

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20 hours ago, Taro T said:

USAH has technically had banging on the boards for any reason an unsportsmanlike penalty for a while now.  Haven't ever seen it called but have received warnings about it in the past.

Agreed, these are their points of focus for the season.  The rules have been there but now they want to focus on this.  It's still stupid. You can't legislate emotion out of the game. 

20 hours ago, Let's Go B-Lo said:

Keeps you from winding up to drive your shoulder and/or elbow through the opponent.  

Yeah.  But let's examine the reality of that.

If you are a defender taking a rushing forward into the boards, you do NOT want your stick getting caught up in the player when you take them out.  You want to be putting your shoulder into them and spinning away to get the puck.

The same is true if you are taking a player into the boards while skating along side them and also if you are delivering a hit on a player who is stopped.  When you hit that player you will carry past the puck and they will be moved away from it.  You don't want your stick anywhere near the player so that it doesn't get caught up in the check leaving you unable to play the puck.

It's simply attempting to over define what and how to check.  You can advise that hits that are delivered for a reason other than to separate the player from the puck are going to be called. It doesn't matter HOW you do it.  But with this, they are saying, even if you hit a player and it's considered a good hit from a separation purpose, it can be called because you didn't have your stick on the puck.  That's just ridiculous.

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Had another game this weekend. Not one late check called. To their credit, they called a bunch of head contact.  They handed out something like six 2 and 10s; this rink tends to be one of the more highly officiated ones in my experience (Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ).  The opposing coach was besides himself (even though it was in his own rink).

Tournament coming up next weekend in one of the more free for all rinks (Twin Ponds East in Harrisburg, PA). We'll see how that goes.  This is the rink that allowed a player to wind up over their head and chop the legs out from a player who had beaten them, no call. No exaggeration, Brooks Koepka would have been proud of the swing.

This is also the rink where we had an opposing mother go into our locker room and threaten one of our players then try to fight his mother when she came out.

My hopes are not high. The boy's cast comes off Thursday.  First tourney game is Friday night.

Edited by Let's Go B-Lo

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We had a game last weekend.  Late checks were not called at all.  The game was in Buffalo and the refs handed out a lot of penalties but none were for the new areas of focus.  Our second game was canceled as the power went out at the rink (and on the street) right as the warm-up period started.

🙂

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Bummer about 2nd game!  Same here re: checks @  Dwyer for tournament - disgusting match penalty in one game, many cross checks (called and uncalled), and a couple "fights".  It looked like it usually looks for High School / U18. Hitting was fine and no weird calls.  Our boys had some fun with it on the bench - teammate had a big hit, they all removed their gloves to applause (no stick taps permitted).  Good stuff.  I was told one ref admitted he wasn't up on the rule changes and was calling it as per usual. 

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Tournament this weekend. Not one late hit called. Not one head contact called.  One checking from behind called.  I watched 7 games and one of my son's games started to get pretty feisty.  Kids taking obvious runs on both sides, no calls.

As expected in that rink. It's always a free for all there.

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11 hours ago, Let's Go B-Lo said:

Tournament this weekend. Not one late hit called. Not one head contact called.  One checking from behind called.  I watched 7 games and one of my son's games started to get pretty feisty.  Kids taking obvious runs on both sides, no calls.

As expected in that rink. It's always a free for all there.

Yup, ink doesn't mean anything unless put into action... yawn... Sounds about right for USA Hockey... Use to join because our rink required for insurance.... now they don't bother enforcing and I don't bother joining.  

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