Blount: Finishing Brooks' work at safety summit

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 9, 2012 - 6:03 AM

A Safety Summit emphasized the late hockey coach's philosophy of skills over bone-crushing.

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voner26Mar. 9, 12 7:20 AM

What a great safety summit. If the results keep one player from being injured its all worth it.

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kindaliberalMar. 9, 12 9:26 AM

I'm all for safety. However, is Canada and other states, countries on board or is Minnesota going it alone? Yes, we can and should make Minnesota youth hockey safer no matter what. But, if the road to the NHL is still going to be skill AND fierce hitting you will find more and more of the elite youth players going to juniors in Canada. Becoming a finesse/skill player eventually may mean Minnesota kids will be behind other players in getting NHL attention. The NHL is still a hard hitting league. Players who get used to less hitting can adapt but they will definitely find it harder to change than to just continue playing as you always have. If the NHL changes my point is moot. But, the NHL still rewards players for extremely physical play and I don't see that ending anytime soon. Still, we are doing the right thing for the overwhelming majority.

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northsportsMar. 9, 12 9:31 AM

Four things need to be changed and/or enforced to keep the game as safe as possible while still retaining the proper and legal components of checking. First, the elimination of late hits where the player is no longer in possession of the puck. Possession needs to universally defined in all levels of hockey so as to eliminate any confusion over the issue. Players who make a pass or shot and have released the puck should not be eligible to be checked. Players are very vulnerable as they follow through and this is when many opponents go for the "BIG" hit. A vast majority of concussions result from these late(illegal) hits and concussions are rampant in hockey primarily because of these late hits. Secondly, we need to eliminate the punch check/cross check and all other illegal high hits. Only the shoulders and hips should be legal to check with and the stick should always be on the ice along with keeping the hands down and out of the check. This is simply enforcement of the current roughing/crosschecking rules that already exist. We also need to eliminate charging as players are running at each other(too many steps) and leaving their feet(jumping) which is again producing high and dangerous hits. Lastly, we have to totally eliminate the checking(charging/boarding) from behind as it is the most dangerous of them all. Keep in mind that the legal purpose of a check is simply to separate your opponent from the puck and not to inflict injury. Safe play and fair play are paramount in all sports along with the purpose of character development. Coaches, parents and administrators need to get rid of the "cheat" to win mentality that is rampant in all sports today and teach the character/compassion(sportsmanship) aspect of athletics that promotes being a better person and a better community overall. Winning is important and should be strived for but character development is even more important as it translates into life itself as is the ultimate goal of athletics ! This comes from a former professional player, college level coach and high level official who has served the game from the mite to pro level for decades. On a final note to the officials, you are the last line of defense to make sure the game is played safely and fairly so please do not shrink from your responsibilities. Do the right thing, make the calls and don't miss a leg whip or slough foot either as they are just as dangerous as the other aforementioned items. Let's all serve the game together and keep it as safe, fair and fun as possible !!!

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jabuyerMar. 9, 12 4:27 PM

"Some have responded defiantly, insisting there is nothing wrong with the game." Count me as defiant, but never saying nothing's wrong with the game. Suggesting changes more along the lines that USA Hockey has rather than the all or nothing change of the checking from behind, boarding, hit to the head rules is a change that would have worked had the MSHSL done the type of education (ironically) that USA Hockey has done. But you apparently have not been paying attention to the thousands of coaches and refs who have that stance.

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