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Body checking in minor hockey: what’s the right age?

By Angus Argyle [1]

BELLEVILLE – Due to concerns that young hockey players were suffering too many concussions and injuries, three years ago the Ontario Minor Hockey Association [2]raised the age limit at which body checking was allowed.

Has this change backfired?

At the start of the 2013-14 minor-hockey season, the OMHA raised the minimum level for body-contact play from atom (in which players are nine and 10 years old) to bantam (13 and 14 years old).

But the size of bantam players can vary dramatically. While some 13- and 14-year-olds can be 150 pounds, others might weigh only 110. Atom players, on the other hand, tend to be more equal in size and weight because they haven’t yet hit puberty.

Some parents are wondering about the dangers of a big bantam player, untrained in body checking because it’s still new to him, hitting a much smaller player.

QNet News [3] is looking into the issue and whether coaches and parents see it as a problem. More to come.