Despite tragedies, hockey reformer finds resistance to change

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 9, 2012 - 10:45 PM

Coach and hockey reformer Hal Tearse does not expect swift, meaningful change in the teaching of checking and the enforcing of rules, even in the wake of grave injuries to two young players in the span of eight days.

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hockeybiasJan. 9, 1210:16 PM

Don't you think it starts with the parents, Hal?

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Lifeguard06Jan. 9, 1210:32 PM

I ejected a coach sunday for arguing a 5 minute major for Checking from Behind. Player X launched himself into a defenseless Player Y waiting for a breakout pass with his back square to X when X took a stride and half and cross checked Y in the small of the back. Also the moving checking from Pee Wee to Bantam was a mistake no coaches are teaching contact and how to receive a check.

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scottjeJan. 9, 1210:53 PM

This is all due to the "professionalization" of youth sports, and nowhere in MN is it more evident than in the hockey world. Hockey is a year-round sport here and we justify it under the protection of claiming we live in the "state of hockey." Rare is the three-sport athlete anymore. And while I and many others of like mind lament this fact, we all feel helpless to do anything about it. At some point we realize that if we want our own kids to be successful, or to at least keep up, we capitulate. The momentum is moving with the money as private facilities open up for off-season training and AAA hockey clubs abound. The worst byproduct of this professionalization is the glorification of the big hit and the intimidation factor. There is hope. Professional hockey is missing its biggest star - Sidney Crosby - and he's a skilled player; not a goon. The entire world of hockey could take firm collective stand against violence without taking the physical part of the game away. It would be no different than what the NFL did with its no tolerance policy for late/illegal hits on quarterbacks. Do refs occasionally make a mistake with these calls? Sure they do. But the message they're sending is a strong one. The fact that the NHL is trailing the NFL in protecting its own is truly sad. I love hockey, including the legitimate physical part of the game - using the body to separate an opponent from the puck. But there is no room in a kid's game for injury-inducing hits that leave a black mark on a game that should be played for fun. The current tragedies may now have created enough momentum for change. Let's all stop being part of the problem and insist on a solution!

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oscarfallsJan. 10, 12 6:12 AM

Teach, don't preach

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hockeybiasJan. 10, 12 7:08 AM

With all due respect scottje, I think the two issues are 'apples and oranges'.

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william16Jan. 10, 1210:16 AM

If you...regularly check players from behind...fail to teach players how and when to check correctly...encourage your players to make illegal hits...fail to call "checking from behind" penalties...complain about referees who correctly call "checking from behind"...see hockey as a chance to bludgeon your opponent, as opposed to the game of skill and speed it's meant to be...then YOU are behind the injuries to Jack, Jenna and the players to come under the current "culture" of hockey. The players who hit Jack and Jenna are simply extensions of the world of hockey in which they operate.

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hotrodlinkinJan. 10, 1210:51 AM

Much of hockey is trying to clean up dirty/violent hits, but go to a high school game. It is brutal. High sticks and violent hits...the refs let a lot of it go. As said, checking should be seperating the player from the puck, not trying to put the player in the upper row of the arena. I've been invovled with youth hockey for over 25 years. In my opinion, eliminating checking at the pee wee level is not the answer. Along with helmets for coaches, it is motivated by USA hockey's insurance carriers. I feel for the kids that will be moving up to bantams (where you can check), 5 foot (130lbs) first year player Johnny Smith meets 6 foot (185 lbs)second year player Jimmy Johnson

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irc218Jan. 10, 12 1:12 PM

Don't forget hotrodlinkin that Jimmy J has hair and Johnny has none! Milk versus Red Bull..... Personnally, I go back and forth on the checking issue. High school hockey can be (not always) terrible. One of the local television stations should do an investigative report into how refs are rewarded and/or punished for their work during high school games and what impact coaches and AD's have on the process. Maybe the new checking rule is a good thing where players will finally learn how to seperate rather than annihilate.

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rickybobbyedJan. 10, 12 1:33 PM

Youth hockey is controlled by the underemployed hockey dad with too much time on his hands and too little to currently live for in his life so he makes his whole life a game for kids. As a child he was usually a big dumb kid with low self esteem and modest hockey skills so he hit people and now his kids are usually big and dumb and he teaches them to hit people. Anybody with any modicum of talent has usually moved on in life and doesn't have time to sit on hockey boards deciding referee policies.

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QUISVIGJan. 10, 12 2:13 PM

There is a simple answer to the problems. Penalties need to be set up on a severity scale. 2 minutes for hooking, interference, tripping. 4 minutes for boarding, 10 minutes for head contact and checking from behind. If you did this, players would adjust to penalty system, and concentrate on more skill hockey. I;m not saying we should eliminate checking, that's part of the game, and when done right, it's fine. Hitting and checking are two different things.

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