Hockey Canada Bans Bodychecking For Peewee Players

Image: Guibaume
Hockey Canada’s Board of Directors made a tough decision earlier this month. Image: Guibaume

Hockey Canada – the organization that sets the rules for amateur hockey leagues in Canada – has voted to eliminate bodychecking for peewee players across the country. (Peewee players are usually 11 or 12 years old.)

The ban will start in September 2013.

One of the main reasons for the ban is safety, says Paul Carson, vice-president of hockey development for Hockey Canada.

Last year, researchers at the University of Calgary found that young players are three times more likely to be injured in leagues where bodychecking is allowed than in leagues with no bodychecking.

The study showed that peewee players in Alberta, where bodychecking was allowed, suffered 209 injuries and 73 concussions. In Quebec, where bodychecking is not allowed, there were 70 injuries and 20 concussions.

In another study, published in March, researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto looked at sports-related brain injuries in youths between the ages of five and 19. They found that nearly half of these injuries – 44 per cent – occurred while playing hockey.

Many coaches are in favour of the ban. They say it will allow young players to work on other skills without worrying about bodychecking. It will also give kids a chance to learn how to give and take bodychecks properly so they will be prepared when they reach the bantam level (for 13- and 14-year-olds) where bodychecking is allowed.

Some people are against the ban, however. Don Cherry, a hockey commentator for CBC TV, thinks that players who don’t learn how to handle bodychecks when they are younger will be more likely to be injured when they reach the bantam level.

Cherry thinks there should be separate leagues – one where bodychecking is allowed, and one where it isn’t.

Darryl Wolski, a hockey agent and promoter, is already planning to set up a private peewee-level league where bodychecking will be allowed.

He says he will organize about five teams in the Brandon, Manitoba, area which will operate independently and will not follow the rules of Hockey Canada.

Related links
TKN story: Banning Bodychecking Makes Hockey Safer For Kids


By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
There are many different opinions expressed in this article about whether bodychecking should be banned in hockey leagues for younger players. Identify all of the different people’s viewpoints and their arguments. Decide which viewpoint you agree with and explain your thinking.

Reading Prompt: Responding to and Evaluating Texts
Don Cherry thinks that separate leagues should be created – some that allow bodychecking and some that don’t. Do you think this is a good solution? Why or why not?

Make judgements and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Evaluate the effectiveness of both simple and complex texts based on evidence from the texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Grammar Feature: Em dash and En dash 
Two types of dashes are used in this article: an em dash and an en dash.

An em dash is a longer dash (it is about the size of the letter m) and it is used to replace commas or brackets. For example, an em dash can separate information in a sentence that interrupts a thought. 

An en dash is a smaller dash (approximately the size of the letter n) and it is used to join words or numbers together. 

Read through the article and identify all of the em dashes and all of the en dashes. How do you know which is an em dash and which is an en dash?