In keeping with the new directive handed down from the Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association, Oceanside Minor Hockey is banning bodychecking in all levels of recreational hockey.
Contacted on Monday, OMH president Greg Sabo said, “given the seriousness of the injuries that occur in hockey, I think this is a move in the right direction. Our first priority is the safety of the children playing hockey,” he said, adding that unless a player moves on to a professional career, “the only time in their lives where they would have been bodychecking was as Bantam and Midget aged players.”
No stranger to the rink, Greg’s son has been playing minor hockey for nine years and his going into his first year of Midget
“By taking bodychecking out of recreational hockey we allow more players the opportunity to stay in the game,” he said, adding that in years past, “we lost players as they moved into Bantam because they did not want to bodycheck, or to be hit. OMHA has a philosophy of trying to keep as many children playing hockey as possible.
Our focus is on keeping the fun in hockey.”
OMHA, like most every other minor hockey association, offers a rep program for highly skilled players wanting to pursue hockey at a more serious level, and bodychecking is still happening in that division.
ACCORDING TO HOCKEY CANADA, the difference between bodychecking and body contact is defined like this:
Bodychecking: an individual defensive tactic designed to legally separate the puck carrier from the puck. This tactic is the result of a defensive player applying physical extension of the body toward the puck carrier moving in an opposite or parallel direction. The action of the defensive player is deliberate and forceful in an opposite direction to which the offensive player is moving and is not solely determined by the movement of the puck carrier.
Body contact: an individual defensive tactic designed to legally block or impede the progress of an offensive puck carrier. This tactic is a result of movement of the defensive player to restrict movement of the puck carrier anywhere on the ice through skating, angling and positioning. The defensive player may not hit the offensive player by going in the opposite direction to that player or by extending toward the offensive player in an effort to initiate contact. There must be no action where the puck carrier is pushed, hit or shoved into the boards.