Cherry's headshot solution
Just get rid of hitting in hockey
CALGARY - Don Cherry has a quick and easy solution for eliminating all head shots and concussions in hockey.
Just get rid of the hitting.
No one wants to do that, especially not Cherry.
But fingers are being pointed starting at the NHL level on down for some of the vicious blindside hits that rattled the likes of Marc Savard and Sidney Crosby.
“Blindside hitting is the one you are trying to get rid of. Head-first into the boards is the other one we need to get rid of,” said Cherry, in Calgary for the Heritage Classic, speaking Friday at the Cold-FX Salute to Hockey Moms luncheon.
While Cherry applauds the 10-year-old Calgary minor hockey player who spoke out after receiving a blindside hit, the CBC commentator said kids need to learn how to protect themselves.
Cherry has tried for years to get rid of checking from behind, going as far as to hand out 'stop' stickers for helmets, but it is still a problem.
“If you are going head first into the boards, that goes along with the not let them hit until they are 12 years old,” Cherry said. “They have no idea how to get ready for a hit. They have no idea how to take blind passes up the middle.
“They go into the corners straight. When they hit 13 and they open up hitting, they are with guys that know how to hit, and they don’t know how to receive a hit.”
The 10-year-old who wrote to the Sun said players his age are just emulating what they see in the NHL.
“It’s good that the kid writes in,’ Cherry said.
Cherry would argue that protection has caused a lot of the problems.
When he was a professional player, he didn’t wear a helmet and he said the concussion problems weren’t as bad as they are now.
“In 1979, I predicted they would have concussions,” Cherry said about the league-mandated helmet rule.
“We all had respect for the head. You would never think about blindsiding a guy. You would never think about hitting somebody head-first into the boards.”