Hockey Quebec has decided to expand its ban on body checking for the 2015-2016 season to include more players.
In a statement two weeks ago, it was announced that the rule changes will mean that there will be no body checking at the Bantam CC and Midget BB levels. Body contact will still be allowed, as it is body checking which poses the biggest threat. In the official presentation, it is clearly stated that:
“Body contact is defined as a defensive tactic to block the progression of a puck-holding opponent. The tactic involves the action of the defensive player which will restrain the movement of the puck-holder, using positioning, angling and while continuing to skate. The contact can only happen during during open play if the defending player goes for the puck first. […] Physical contact will be deemed illegal if the players have a face-to-face collision, or if the body contact takes place after a ‘dump in’.”
This means that players will still be allowed to initiate contact, but only while “angling” opponents off of the puck. This means that the defending player must be skating in the same direction as the attacking player.
The decision to expand the ban is part of an initiative to prevent concussions. Quebec has been the only province to ban body checking for peewee level players, a decision praised by some and criticized by others. According to La Presse, the new rules are not sitting well with some regional leagues, who claim that the change could decrease the number of players making it to the elite levels of hockey.
Hockey Quebec claims that recent studies on concussions had an influence on their decision.
“The security of our players have always been at the forefront of our policies. It is clear that the issue of concussions has a direct impact on our players, and the likelihood of concussions is lower in age groups and divisions where body checking is not allowed.”
Hockey Quebec also stated that the reason they chose to only ban Bantam CC and Midget BB because few players in these levels rarely make it to the elite teams. Putting their safety of all players at risk because a select few may move to higher levels is not a risk Hockey Quebec is willing to take.
For a Q&A on the new rules and how they will be implemented, Click Here