Earlier this week, we learned that the OHL was going to limit the number of fights a player is involved in.
USHL Press Release
The League has specified a number of what it terms “dangerous play” minor penalties (ie: elbowing, head contact, kneeing), which it will monitor and review together with all major penalties – both fighting and non-fighting – throughout the course of the season. Players accumulating multiple penalties will be notified and addressed by the Commissioner’s office with an eye toward early intervention and education, and multiple penalties in any category will be subject to supplementary discipline.In reading the USHL’s press release it appears to me that the USHL is going to make a serious step in addressing on ice play of its players and is also going to address their player’s on-ice play by assigning supplementary discipline in the cases where it’s warranted.
“We take our position as USA Hockey’s Tier I League very seriously,” said USHL President and Commissioner Skip Prince. “We’ve been concerned by the increase in injuries and lost games by our players over the past several seasons, and this is a comprehensive effort to see what we can do to address the problem. We recognize our responsibility to deliver the world’s best young players to the next level – the NCAA and the NHL – faster, stronger, smarter, and more skilled than ever before. But we also need to make sure they’re in top health and physical condition, and fully aware that as the next generation’s guardians of the game, they have a responsibility to hockey and to each other. Our mission is to keep every ounce of the aggressive, all-out style of play for which the USHL is so well-known, while tuning down some of the ‘dumb and dangerous’ play that neither benefits the game nor the elite athletes who are playing it
From the outside looking in – it would appear to me that the USHL is also trying to address the play of certain types of players – in this case – it appears to me that the USHL is trying to do away with the players skate all over the ice trying to line people up for the big hit.
Don’t get me wrong, I like physical hockey and hitting, but the USHL appears to be trying to address a certain type of play and to make corrections to change on ice behavior.
More specifically, it appears to me that the USHL is attempting to do away with the players that I would classify as head hunters – these are the players that will skate across the ice to make a knock out hit and if they make contact usually results in the player on the receiving ending up with a catastrophic injury. This would probably include the players that will target the head of an opposition player in a vulnerable position.
If your confused why type of player I am talking about, think of NHL players like Raffie Torres or a Matt Cooke. These two are the poster boys of the type of player that I am thinking of.
I believe that this is going to be a good start to improving player safety – I think this also a good indication that hockey is beginning to move away from the one dimensional players that skate up and down the ice taking liberties with the opposition. Also, it appears that USHL is going to go even further than the OHL, because it appears that the USHL is going to try and educate the players as well as discipline the offenders.
Lastly, I also think that the hockey in most leagues is trying to do away with the one dimensional players that play two-four minutes a game and get into a fight or two. I do believe the player of the future is a player is going to be one that can score 20-30 goals and get in 10-15 fights a year – NHL players like Milan Lucic or Scott Hartnell come to mind.
Originally posted at The Hockey Writers - Combine