NYH was approached about eliciting support for a No-Check Bantam League for next season. This would be a supplemental team providing an opportunity for kids that want to keep playing but do not want to check. NYH will continue with the current Bantam format regardless. The subject was discussed at the Board and Member Meeting on January 5, 2016. The Board is interested in learning the level of interest amongst the membership. Please cast your vote in the poll at the top of this post.
If you’re interested in coaching or otherwise assisting in the effort, please let Jennifer Lo know at JLo@sll-law.com.
Below is some information provided by the organizers.
What: We are recruiting teams to participate in the opening season of non-check travel hockey for Bantams. Body contact only hockey has proven to be very successful in Canada and is approved by USA Hockey.
Where: Participating towns in Eastern MA and Southern NH. We plan to play in Valley League.
When: 2016-2017 Hockey Season
- Body contact only: This program was developed specifically for the following subsets of players, but all Bantams are welcome and eligible.
- Kids who have sustained previous concussions and should not play full checking
- Those who have tried checking and prefer body contact only to full checking
- Co-ed: Allows teams to continue as co-ed through older age groups
- Travel opportunities through our partners in Canada and Europe
Who are we?
Our committee is comprised of youth hockey parents and board members, including: a USA Hockey Board Member; Directors from MA Hockey; a local Director of Hockey Operations; all who are actively trying to keep kids in the game.
Want more information? Contact us at: 978-764-3511; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
BOSTON GLOBE STORY BEHIND THE INCEPTION
Link to the Boston Globe story requires scrolling down to “Hitting on an Idea”.
HITTING ON AN IDEA
No-check option has its purpose
Nicole de Moulpied of Dunstable had a dilemma. Her son Brenner likes to play hockey. But outside of the sport, he has suffered two concussions. The first injury, which his parents didn’t know was a concussion right away, left him with headaches, nausea, and sensitivity to light. Doctors have concluded that patients diagnosed with multiple concussions are at greater risk of sustaining more.
Per USA Hockey guidelines, boys 12 and under play no-check hockey. This changes once they turn 13, when they are eligible to begin body checking. Brenner, now 12 years old, is on the threshold.
De Moulpied is in a tough situation. She does not want her son to suffer more head trauma. But she also isn’t keen on denying the oldest of her three children the opportunity to play a sport he enjoys.
So she is trying to launch a no-checking option for boys like Brenner.
“He loves the game. He wants to keep playing,” said de Moulpied. “When I see him playing, after games and after practices, he’s so excited. It’s so much fun. So it motivates me to make this happen.”
“He’s pretty realistic. He has some big career aspirations, like being a pilot or a scientist. He understands he would be better off in a no-checking program.”
In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended all boys 16 and under play no-check hockey. Dr. Alan Ashare, chief of the division of nuclear medicine at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, serves as chair of USA Hockey’s Safety and Protective Committee. Ashare doesn’t agree with across-the-board no-checking, but he believes there should be no-checking options for bantams and midgets.
“We don’t want the coaching to be any less,” Ashare said. “We want good coaches. The only thing missing would be the body checking.”
De Moulpied’s initiative began with an inquiry to USA Hockey about creating a no-checking division for boys 13 to 17. USA Hockey allows any house league to prohibit checking at any age. But parents like de Moulpied would have to start their own leagues.
Through word of mouth, de Moulpied’s initiative is gaining traction. Players from five towns in the Dunstable area have expressed interest in creating a no-checking league. An existing local league has offered to host de Moulpied’s program.
The objective is to expand the game to retain players like de Moulpied’s son, who don’t have other options. But in her research, de Moulpied has come across parents whose children started hockey late. They didn’t have enough time to develop foundational components such as skating, puck skills, and hockey sense to play safely in checking leagues once they turned 13. So they left the sport.
With a no-checking alternative, perhaps more kids would stay in the game.
“There’s kids who don’t like checking,” de Moulpied said. “They’re smaller than their peers. When checking starts, it’s a little less fun for them. So there’s quite a few kids excluded from hockey between 13 and 17.
“When you look at the big picture, there’s so much hockey being played without checking. There’s no checking until 13. For all the guys who play in rec leagues, there’s no checking. So it seems a little odd not to have that option.”