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Checking Banned In Calgary Lower Level Bantam And Midget Programs

For all the times we all like to point our fingers at various organizations for not being proactive in developing ways to protect our children, we also need to recognize those that take the road less traveled to protect them.

A few months ago, Hockey Edmonton banned body checking in its lower level, or more recreational leagues.  This in the long run will keep more players in the game while eliminating injuries.  The real byproduct will not only be player safety, but young people staying involved as athletes and fans longer.

Included in there decision is one very important and troubling statement.  “HC (Hockey Canada) does not track injuries.”  If that statement does not trouble you, not much will.

How can any governing body not track injuries?  Its easy enough to do.  I am sure the company that underwrites the Hockey Canada insurance program could pull the injury numbers from claims.  I am just as sure that those numbers would be incomplete as people in many cases forget or don’t use the coverage their membership provides.

I know that when I worked in pro hockey, we could get injury numbers from our insurance carrier within a day of requesting them.  We always tracked those numbers because they effected our policy premiums.  So I have to wonder if “not tracking” injuries is a way of burying heads in the sand or simply not knowing how to do it.

Hockey Calgary has now taken very similar steps to those taken in Edmonton.  Citing the following in their decision;

Evidence suggests that including checking potentially increases the rate of injury by a multiple of 3.75 times.  Those injuries are 3.3 times more likely to take a week or more to recover from.

Body checking accounts for 45% to 86% of injuries at those levels.

The player drop out rate increases dramatically when body checking is involved in recreational play.

While Hockey Canada may not be tracking injuries, they are tacking penalties.  What do those numbers show when checking is removed from recreational play?

Head Contact penalties down 67%, Roughing down 25%, Cross Checking down 28%, Boarding down 88%, Checking from behind down 87%, Charging down 95%, Unsportsmanlike down 40%.

Those are astonishing numbers.  Somewhere, some insurance analytics person is crunching those numbers and thinking they wont be able to get away with charging those high fee’s for much longer.

Once again, TJHN supports this move for recreational players.  Its good for the game, and good for families.

Joseph Kolodziej – Publisher

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