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June 3, 2013

Hockey Canada Bans Peewee Bodychecking

Hockey Canada has finally decided to ban bodychecking at the peewee level to protect 11- and 12-year-olds from concussions and brain injury.

Carolyn Emery is an associate professor at the University of Calgary who studied the relationship between bodychecking and concussions (CBC News). She found that bodychecking triples the risk of concussion and other injuries among peewee players.

Emery praises Hockey Canada’s decision, saying that it will “prevent at least 5,000 injuries and over 1,500 concussions in 11- and 12-year-old hockey players next season.”

And yet the new policy is causing mixed reactions across the country.

Well-known hockey analyst Don Cherry says Hockey Canada may have good intentions, but is actually on a “road to hell.” He believes the ban could result in more injuries because young players will not learn how to protect themselves. “When you’re not hitting,” says Cherry, “you have your head down.”

Windsor Minor Hockey’s president Dean Lapierre believes that injuries are a part of hockey whether bodychecking is permitted or not. “I think it’s ridiculous [that] they’re taking it out…you get injuries in any sport doing anything,” says Lapierre.

The bodychecking ban comes into effect in September for the start of the 2013/14 season.

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