Another great Minnesota boys’ hockey tournament is behind us. I celebrate the effort of the players, the strategy of the coaching and the unshakable spirit of the loyal fans.First, to suggest that there's no hitting in women's hockey is short sighted and just wrong. I have covered women's college hockey for the last five season and I would say that the women's game is physical and at times rough. Go back and watch the Olympic games between the USA and Canada. Then come back and talk to me.
I wonder, however, if it isn’t time to eliminate checking from the game. With growing evidence of the disabling effects of concussions, sensitivity to the damage that violence inflicts across our society and several highly publicized injuries of late, I submit that the Great State of Hockey would be better for this civilizing change.
As a longtime supporter of girls’ and women’s hockey — as a fan, a parent and a former player — I assure you that the game can be fast, thrilling and just as spectator-friendly without potentially paralyzing blows. Along with the score, the shots on goal and the time remaining on the clock, boys’ hockey still includes one chilling statistic: hits. As one TV announcer boasted during the Wayzata-Eden Prairie game: “If you’re on the ice, you either hit, or you’re gonna be hit.”
Let’s let these athletes’ explosive speed, puck-handling finesse, and undeniable grace and power under pressure be their lasting legacy. Let’s leave the roughneck bashing behind. These boys are too good not to be able to walk off the ice with their heads high and their bodies and futures intact.
Tracy Nordstrom, Minneapolis
Apparently, this author has a short term memory loss. If you've watched a Women's College Hockey game between UMN vs. UND game you will know that there's a lot of body contact. You just can't cream the opponent in the open ice. The refs let a lot of contact around the net go as well as along the boards.
I think the biggest problem facing hockey today some coaches and trainers aren't as proactive as they should be with the concussion protocol. There are risks in life, even for our children.
So, I am going to say no. Let's not remove checking from high school hockey. Maybe the author should find another sport to watch if she's so concerned about it.