USA Hockey Says No Checking For Kids Until Bantams

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There is now a big change in hockey rules for Pee Wees, which is the level for kids 11 and 12 years old.

U.S.A. Hockey has decided there will be no more checking in boys hockey games untill the Bantam level, which is for players 13 years and older.

“I think… I don’t think it’s a bad thing, I think it’s part of the game, and if they learn to do it properly, it’s a good part of the game,” said Shalaine Seymore, a local hockey mom.

A concerned hockey parent said injuries are happening more often as a result of young players checking, and some can’t play the game anymore because of concussions and other severe injuries.

“People are getting hurt all the time, and I know several kids who have had concussions due to checking from behind, and one or two who can’t play anymore because of it,” said Bob Riley, a hockey dad.

Checking, according to hockey rules, is considered body contact between opposing players. The idea is to make the player with the puck lose control of it.

The rule change only affects boy’s hockey. Girls’ and women’s hockey is already played without checking.

Some said the elimination of checking will help kids concentrate on other skills, like skating and puck handling. Others think “proper” checking should be learned at an early age.

“But I also feel there is the danger of, now that they haven’t been taught the skill and they get into Bantams, you might have Johnny who is 5 foot 2, 130 pounds, playing against Jimmy who is 6 foot 2, 210 pounds, and neither one of them have learned how to check properly or correctly, you could be asking for a little bit different result now at the Bantam level,” said retired NHL Player Shjon Podein.

While at a hockey camp Tuesday, Seymore said she recognized the concern for more younger players getting hurt playing hockey, but also said it’s simply part of the sport.

“You always worry about hockey injuries, it’s any sport though, football, my kids play football, lacrosse, baseball, it’s part of being an athlete,” Seymore said.

Podein, now a high school hockey coach, also told us the speed and skill of young hockey players is amazing because they can practice all year.

  • Coach

    This is absolutely terrible! There will be more serious injuries in Bantams now and this is coming form a Bantam coach. Way to go USA Hockey…Another terrible mistake to ruiin the game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  • betty

    MN Hockey will most likely overrule the USA Hockey decision for MN players. If MN bans checking at the peewee level, our players won’t be able to compete against Canadian teams in tournaments. Proper checking should be taught early and correctly.

    • ref guy

      And there lies the problem. No one is “PROPERLY” teaching checking. The majority of coaches in youth hockey are morons.

    • Kirk

      When I was a first year peewee (age 12), I was like 4′ 6″ and 80 pounds, but my skill level put me into A hockey. Also on my team was a kid who was 5′ 9″ and 165 pounds, with practically a full beard. When I was paired with him for checking drills in practice it was a joke, and in games, opposing players with similar size differentials cleaned my clock often. In my case, I may have benefited from this new rule. Being so small was very frustrating for me, since in squirts I had skated circles around the people who were now sending me flying every time they hit me. I almost got to the point where I didn’t like hockey because of the hitting. Luckily, I stuck it out and now at age 18 I’m 5′ 11″ 200 pounds and very strong on my skates. I’m sure other late bloomers quit because of frustration, late bloomers who turn out to be some of the best athletes later on. Hopefully the new rules will help to change this.

  • Played all my life

    Coach and Betty are both right on. Checking is a learning experience, and that experience should happen before kids start growing and there is an even larger gap in the size of players. When people sign up to play hockey they sign up for the physical aspect of it. I loved getting hurt and showing off my cuts and bruises as a kid. Just another step toward the pussification of America…

  • jpf55122

    I agree with this decision based on the safety and well being of the kids. At the Pee Wee level, you can have the same aged kids at over a year apart in physical growth and development. You’ll find 1 kid at 5’9″ 150 lbs and another at 5’0″ and 100 lbs. I’ve been to may Pee Wee tournaments and games where I’ve witnessed an ambulance being called upward to 4 times in a single game due to a serious on-ice checking injury, from broken bones to head/neck/spinal injuries, and even serious internal organ injuries. As a parent, I hate to see any young kid injuried and would rather error on the side of safety.

  • rcam

    They are going to ruin the game. If the kids don’t check till bantams they will be that much bigger and hit that much harder while learning how to check. The canadians will really take over the hockey world now.

  • jpf55122

    Regrets to posting a seond time, but a couple of additonal points to ponder; First, most local hocey association do not allow a kid to advance to the next level (ie. Squirt to Pee Wee to Batam) based on their policies of age (birthdate) restriction. Probably a good thing due to the constant politics, but mostly for the saftery issues. Secondly, there is a huge fall-out of players from Pee Wee to Batam levels, which is a good thing, because generally you’re left better skilled skaters. I believe a person skating skill enables them to be in more control and able to deliver and/or absorb checks properly. At the Pee Wee level you will still have some novice skaters who joined hockey late and can’t even do backward cross-overs, beside even controlling their forward momentum.

    • Don't like the change

      The problem is that most boys don’t start maturing and hitting there huge growth spurt until freshman year which is that second year of bantams, in bantams you could have some one who is 5’2” now who doesnt know how to check or even take a check going up against some one who is 6’6″ or bigger who can clean your clock. Heck, when i was in bantams we had a player who was almost 6’8″, in reality this is just delaying the problem, and i think it’s just making it worse.

  • Me

    We’re turning our children into a bunch of wussies. No tackling in football, no checking in hockey. What’s next? No punching in boxing? Bottom line is that all sports are dangerous, if you want to keep your kids perfectly safe just put them in bubble wrap and hide them in a closet until they are 18.

  • Enough is enough

    Just don’t forget to give every kid a trophy, God forbid if their team loses and they don’t get a trophy.

  • maverick

    it bothers me so much that they would do this!!! i think that now kids are just going to hit anyways!!! im 5’8 150 pounds and i can almost bench 135 i love hitting!!! but that doesnt mean im a cheap hitter who goes after little 4’9 80 pound kids wich there are at the A level! if you dont want to get hurt dont play!!!!

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