Sports

Bodychecking banned from house-league hockey

A decision to ban bodychecking from ‘C’ division hockey goes into effect next season. - File photo
A decision to ban bodychecking from ‘C’ division hockey goes into effect next season.
— image credit: File photo

Hoping to make the game safer for thousands of players from the Sunshine Coast to Hope, the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association (PCAHA) has overwhelmingly voted to eliminate bodychecking at the recreational (house or C) level.

At an extraordinary meeting Sunday (Jan. 22) in Cloverdale, representatives of the 42 minor hockey associations under the umbrella of PCAHA voted 123-39 in favour of the resolution. The decision affects more than 300 minor hockey teams in the Pee Wee (11-12 year-olds), Bantam (13-14) and Midget (15-17) divisions.

The executive of Semiahmoo Minor Hockey “voted unanimously in favour of the rule change,” said president Ian Maguire.

In an online poll conducted on the association’s website, 60 per cent of voters were in favour of the no-checking rule.

“It reflects how people want to see hockey played. With concussions and things like that, people are worried,” Maguire added.

The decision does not affect A-level (rep) hockey, or the Juvenile (18-20) division.

Sunday’s meeting was called to deal with a report submitted by a committee struck to address the issue.

The committee – comprised of a number of minor hockey presidents and managing directors – noted that registration in minor hockey is declining and the risk of injury is one of the reasons.

“There are a lot of people within our association with deep hockey backgrounds, and some are against the change, and some are for it,” said Maguire.

“But you talk to any parent whose kid has had a concussion, and ask them if they support it.”

The decision by PCAHA follows the lead of several districts within BC Hockey. Five of the other seven districts do not allow body checking at the recreational level.

PCAHA members dealt with the issue this month as opposed to the annual general meeting in May in order to have the rule change in effect before minor hockey associations begin registration for next season in the spring.

Another possible bodychecking ban may be in place before the puck drops on the 2012-13 season next September.

A second resolution passed Sunday calls for PCAHA members to support any resolution brought forward at BC Hockey’s annual general meeting in June that would prohibit bodychecking at the Pee Wee A level.

“It doesn’t make sense to ban it (bodychecking) at Pee Wee A within Pacific Coast if the rest of the province doesn’t,” said George Windsor, president of North Delta Minor Hockey.

“It would put our teams at a disadvantage at provincials.

“We don’t have provincials in house hockey.”

- with files from Nick Greenizan

 

 

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