MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In a rare mid-season move, the Minnesota State High School League increased the in-game penalties for three dangerous types of hockey hits.

Effective immediately, checking from behind, boarding, and hits to the head will result in five-minute major penalties. A five-minute major means the offending player will be in the penalty box for five minutes. That player’s team will be short-handed for the full five minutes, even if they are scored upon. A typical minor penalty ends if the short-handed team is scored upon.

The rule change follows two high-profile on-ice incidents at the high school level in Minnesota.

On Dec. 30, Benilde-St. Margaret’s sophomore Jack Jablonski was hit from behind, which sent him crashing head-first into the boards. He was paralyzed as a result. Then, a week later, Jenna Privette of St. Croix Lutheran High School suffered an injury during a game, and lost feeling in both her legs.

MSHSL Executive Director Dave Stead says it was time to change the rules.

“I know our hockey coaches and our officials have been completely concerned about what’s going on,” Stead said. “We want to make sure that nothing like what happened to Jack or Jenna ever happen again to kids if we can prevent it.”

WCCO’s Adam Carter Interviews Dave Stead

Stead says Minnesota is the first state to impose the stiffer penalties in high school hockey.

“We don’t want to change the game,” he said. “We just want to make it safe for kids.”

The MSHSL board approved the rule changes with the OK from the National Federation of State High School Associations, which writes the rules for high school sports.

A safety video was filmed this past week explaining the new rules and safer hits by the MSHSL, and will be released soon.

Comments (12)
  1. xxx says:

    Why don’t they change the rules so that if any of these infractions occur, the team making the penalty forfeits the game.?

    Then, it would really make the teams work on not doing those kinds of things.

    By the way, the comment that said, ” we don’t want to change the game!” means what. If you don’t want to change the game, then simply don’t allow the penalties.

    You “need to change the game” to stop this type behavior.


    1. Sam says:

      Hockey is a hitting sport Not figure skateing

  2. Keith B Real says:

    The real problem is the poor officiating. Neither hit in question was going to have a foul called. Once the hub-bub settles down, refs will be even less likely to call these infractions, not wanting to dramatically effect the outcome of the game…so in fact there will be less calls than currently.

  3. Tom says:

    You dont change the rules of the game because of what happened to this boy. Yes it is very sad and tragic what happened, but you don’t change the rules because of “what if” this happens again.

    It would be like making changes to football because instead of letting them play tackle football you make them play flag football as that lowers the risk of injury.

    Let the kids play!

  4. kev says:

    I bet none of those people that make rules for hockey ever played in the pro’s or college Hockey. Do I need to say more??? Maybe next we will have to sing the Taliban anthome. Hockey is a hitting sport not figur skateing…….

    1. Jinx says:

      Key Kev…I agree with you, but crawl back in your trailer and put a condom on before having sex with your sister.

  5. m says:

    We know Hockey is not a figure skating guys .what if it happened to you, your son, family member. I know there are no guarantees in life but what happened to this young boy was tragic because of a game .
    games are for fun especially at that age not hitting .

  6. Will says:

    I think Kev has taken one too many blows to the head. You think the MSHSL just grabs people off the street? Do you follow college or pro hockey? Take the NHL for instance. Any injury potential hits are reviewed by the Player Safety committee lead by none other than former NHL player Brendan Shanahan. Take a look and see how many suspensions have been given out this season. For the rest of you, the MSHSL are hardly changing any rules. All they are doing is stiffening the penalties that are already in the game which needs to be done. Tom, letting the kids play has absolutely nothing to do with these kind of very serious and avoidable penalties. Also, your analogy with football is comical to say the least.

    #13 Stay Strong

    1. Frizbee says:

      MSHSL does just grab people off the street. They are incompetent, wear terrible mustaches and are fond of farm animals!

  7. Julie says:

    Five minute penalty for an illegal move that may leave someone paralyzed? These are not professional athletes, they are children. I say if a team uses or encourages this type of play, the are out for the year. As for the reference to professional sports, a move like this is compariable to a personal foul in football, where the NFL can impose a fine. The high school league is not allowed to do that as far as I know.

  8. Anita Tention says:

    Why a need for rule change, I thought the same rules were in place the last 50yrs or so? A change for a special interest? What a shame, next thing the net will be 5 times larger so the local waterhead can make a goal.

  9. Ronaldo Christiano says:

    Usually I don’t learn article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and do it! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thank you, very great post.

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