Due to the significant increase in injuries sustained at all levels of hockey age 4-18, and the devastating injury sustained by Jack Jablonski, it is our hopes that teams/associations...hockey leaders and coaches share our beliefs and help drive to safer hockey for our kids and to reinforce Jack's Way of playing hockey: by the rules, safe, smart and skillfully.
First and foremost, our purpose is to create a safe and fun environment for all hockey players on our teams and opponents alike.
We are witnessing an increase in dangerous contact in hockey.
- The injuries, while often the result of a contact between players for which a penalty is called, are commonly due to aggressive contact between players with one or both of them coming into contact with the boards.
- While these incidents are typically accidental, they occur because of aggressive physical play near the boards.
- Hockey is a physical game, but if the USA Hockey Rules were enforced more strictly, checking directly into the boards without intention of playing the puck would be called as Boarding penalties. They typically are not.
- By calling Boarding penalties as written in the USA Hockey Rules, we will assure the long-term reduction of dangerous body checks.
- We fully support and embrace the elimination of body checking from competitive play at the Peewee and younger levels. We also believe that the elimination of checking at the Peewee level still allows for physical contact in the pursuit of the puck and delivers a natural step-progression toward Jack's Way of playing hockey -- by the rules, safe, smart and skillfully. If, however, physical contact in the pursuit of the puck results in a violent collision in the board (regardless of intent), then a Boarding penalty must be called.
- We further support and embrace the directive to begin coaching and teaching proper body contact at both the Peewee and Squirt levels, as a means to foster proper habits for safe play in later years.
- We support body checking at the Bantam level, but want to clarify the purpose of body checking, which is to separate the player from the puck, or to impede the player's forward progress. A body check should never be directly delivered into the boards; body checking should be avoided if there is potential for injury to the player. Stick checking is a natural skill to directly play the puck.
- While referees are not perfect, they are the main judge and authority of the game, and we will support their calls of penalties against our teams.
- The issuance of penalties serves to remind all players of an action that was against the rules. We feel that most penalties are unintentional actions as part of the game. Penalties remind the player of the significance of the rules and deter future infractions by the individual and the team.
Our long-term development focus is to teach and reinforce positive behavior in thoughts and actions of our players and to assure a clear understanding of the USA Hockey Rules.