Bodychecking removed from Peewee hockey

Peewee players at a year-end tournament. (SARAH DOKTOR/QMI Agency)

Peewee players at a year-end tournament. (SARAH DOKTOR/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:52 AM ET

Hockey Canada's board of directors voted Saturday to eliminate bodychecking from Peewee hockey across the country to lower the risk of injuries.

Everyone but the Saskatchewan Hockey Association voted in favour of the ban, spokesman Andre Brin said.

The ban takes effect in Peewee levels and below beginning in the 2013-14 season.

Hockey Canada also formed a working group to build a mandatory national program on checking, including instructional resources, to support the "progressive implementation of checking skills" at the Novice to Peewee levels so players are better prepared for bodychecking at the Bantam and Midget levels, where it is still allowed, Hockey Canada said in a release.

Earlier this month, Alberta and Nova Scotia banned bodychecking for all players aged 11-12. Quebec has also eliminated it.

A recent study led by the University of Calgary found bodychecking at the Peewee level more than triples the likelihood of concussion or other major injuries.

Paul Carson, Hockey Canada's vice-president of hockey development, gave a presentation in support of the ban to more than 250 officials at Hockey Canada's annual general meeting in Charlottetown Friday ahead of Saturday's vote.

"While concussions are not a good thing at any age, they are of particular concern in adolescence -- those early developmental stages," Carson said.

He said the organization also wants to make hockey safer to encourage more youth to play the game.

The bodychecking bans in Alberta and Nova Scotia will go into effect in the 2013-14 season. Bodychecking is permitted in the next level, Bantam, where players are between 13 and 14 years old.


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