MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s not a secret that Minnesota youth hockey players are tough on the ice, but sometimes intentionally or unintentionally that toughness makes its way into the locker room.
“We’ve seen it in our organization where a kid tore his rotator cuff and was out for the season due to rough-housing in the locker room,” said Steve Jecha of the Southwest Hockey Association.
Jecha is a hockey dad and says a new rule off the ice is having an impact. The rule requires that if a coach leaves the locker room, a parent or assistant coach has to take their place. It applies to boy and girl youth hockey players mainly ages 9 to 15. Squirts, Pee Wees, and Bantams are all affected by the rule.
Parents who want to help out with locker room monitoring have to pass a background check. The rule is aimed at preventing locker room injuries and protecting kids from both strangers and cell phones.
“With me what probably stands out the most is a player snapping photo of another player in the locker room and it gets broadcast out to the Internet,” said Randy Williamson, who is both a hockey dad and coach.
For the most part parents seem supportive of the rule.
“You would hate to see something bad happen to a child when it could have been prevented just by having an adult there,” said Erica Allenburg, whose son is in youth hockey.
But some are also concerned that the new rule allows parents to have too much control. Thus, changing the locker room dynamic and perhaps taking away from team building.
“When you put an adult in the locker room it does change the dynamics and I think it can take away a little bit from the locker room experience. It might not allow the kids to be kids,” said Williamson.