New Rules in Ice Hockey

I know that she does not want me to help her. Our friendship is based on paying attention to each other, so I know that being helped is not something she likes. If I do what I want to do, she’ll get mad and break both my arms, or at least, look at me very very sternly. So I stay away. I could tell her “I’m not helping you. I’m merely loving you, like the friend I am, and you are kindly letting me do that” but she’d break both my arms anyway. The thing is, it was hard to watch. She had taken the puck from a big scary player on the other team, skillfully moved it around the rink, shot it to a teammate who lost it to the other team’s player, then my friend took it back again, and was busy pushing back towards the goal and doing some very fancy puckwork when things went terrible wrong and she hit the ice hard, sliding about half way across the arena and slamming into the boards behind her own goal. Then there was what looked like convulsions but turned out to be her efforts to put her arm back into its rightful position.

It still hurts. She has no health care so there will be no MRI but a doctor friend looked at the shoulder and, well, says there needs to be an MRI. But the is alive, and in good humor, and not seriously injured like a high school student was that very day. In that case, the girl simply fell while turning and broke something important and lost feeling in her limbs. And just a few weeks back, as you know, a young high school boy was paralyzed in an ice hockey accident. My wife’s school fielded the team that he was playing against in that game, and I can report that the kids in her school are devastated by the event. All in all, it’s all pretty bad. Yes, these severe injuries are rare. I’m sure someone out there is thinking “more kids are injured or killed driving to and from hockey games than playing in hockey games, so we shouldn’t worry about it” which is of course asinine, true or not. If High School Ice Hockey is being played in a way that enhances the chance of serious permanent injury or death, then play it differently. Starting now. Which, apparently, is what we are doing with new rules implemented today for HS Hockey across the state. Perhaps the new rules will spread.

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20 thoughts on “New Rules in Ice Hockey

  1. Hmm, my comment’s in moderation for links – but I think this is what Greg’s referring to:

    Minnesota Hockey stiffens penalties to boarding, checking from behind PDF Print E-mail
    Monday, 23 January 2012 11:51

    The Minnesota Hockey Board of Directors voted unanimously at its winter board meeting to strengthen the severity of the penalty issued to players who are cited for boarding and checking from behind infractions. These rule changes are being adopted on a pilot basis and will be reevaluated at the conclusion of the 2012 Minnesota Hockey season. Minnesota Hockey will continue to work with the hockey community to evaluate the effectiveness of these changes.

    “Player safety is and always will be the highest priority of Minnesota Hockey,” said Dave Margenau, President of Minnesota Hockey. “However, as important as the rule change is, it is equally vital that the culture of hockey change to eliminate the intimidation and illegal hits. Officials must call all illegal play and their calls must be supported by coaches, parents and players.”

    Searching should bring up that article, and the next article is about the two high school players paralyzed in the same week.

  2. ah, thanks Greg.

    The Minnesota State High School League, its coaches advisory committee and its registered hockey officials implore players, coaches, officials and fans to embrace this campaign to reduce some of the unnecessary and dangerous violence in today’s game of hockey. The bottom line is that the players deserve a safe environment in which to play the game.

    As Ken Pauly, head coach of the Benilde-St. Margaret’s boys’ hockey team and a member of the advisory committee, stated during the Jan. 10 committee meeting, “You can’t tell me that we can’t change the culture of the game.”

  3. She has no health care

    and still decided to play a game that has the potential of (serious) harm.

    I hope she’s going to be ok, but that’s as far as my sympathy goes.

  4. Ar Pteryxx’s second link, I was a bit dismayed by the safety concerns with respect to “especially girl’s hockey”.

    But never mind, I hope her rehab goes well for her.

    I’m impressed by the attitudes about changing the culture and following the extant rules shown in this article:–by-all-of-us–for-safer-hockey.html

    I’ve seen things in peewee hockey that refs should have been calling and coaches should have been educating against. Really, the games should have been shorter, too. Most of the kids were like drunk zombies on ice by the end, and that didn’t seem very safe either.

  5. I should clarify: The story (my friend getting injured) is not HS hockey. It is just a personal experience with a hockey injury, but in women’s amateur league and they are all adults. Adult women with sticks in their hands and knives strapped to their feet and some of them are wearing Freddy Kruger masks. But not HS students.

  6. Greg Laden: Well, they were tiny kids that get terribly sweaty while playing, so that could certainly be a factor. They were always very tired after (my nephew would pass out when he got home), but that could be attributable to cold as much as physical exhaustion. Games were also usually later at night. Eh, it was a long time ago, so I’m not really sure what would be valid for consideration. If I remember to do so, I’ll just ask my nephew what he recalls.

  7. @F:

    Ar Pteryxx’s second link, I was a bit dismayed by the safety concerns with respect to “especially girl’s hockey”.

    Er, yeah. The culture says that girls are more fragile and need protection, with an undercurrent of how awful it is when girls get hurt but when a boy gets hurt it’s his choice, or a heroic tragedy, or some such BS. Personally I suspect lighter and smaller players in general don’t hit as hard as bigger ones, which is less of a problem when they’re segregated than mixed… although there has also historically been a problem with girls having to wear ill-fitting safety gear designed for boys.

    Yes, I played goalie in a college club team, knives on feet, scary mask and all. I still treasure that time and regret nothing. That’s all I’m going to say about it here.

  8. I started playing hockey as an adult; I’ve been playing since 1996. Having not been a jock as a kid, I got to learn all about stretching, conditioning, strength exercises, and the usefulness of ice. I play in adult amateur leagues and have found one that has a good mix of skill level and *sanity* of players. I’ve had a few minor injuries over the years, but with proper rest and rehab I get over them. I bruise less easily than before.

    (As goalie, I get to wear the best gear. And my mask is decades beyond Jason’s.)

    Could I get horribly killed playing hockey? Yeah. And I could suffer a bus error walking across the street. I will not let the fear of dying prevent me from living well.

    Greg, good luck and good health to your wife, along with plenty of ice, Ibuprofen, and careful rehab. Having recovered from a shoulder injury from my defenseman crashing my net, she has my sympathy. Even without an MRI, go see a sports therapist.

  9. Holy crap, they let HS players play hockey that rough? That’s insane.

    the hit that paralyzed the boy was a clean check, to the best of my knowledge… a hard check but clean all the same.

  10. @F

    One of the suspected problems with NHL concussions is the length of time spent on the ice – as in, they spend about 35 seconds before being switched off. In the 70s, they were spending a full minute and so got more tired and less likely to hit as hard.

  11. Ouch! Women’s lacrosse in MA is non-checking and the players wear minimal protection other than goggles and face gear. My middle kid was a goalie and started out looking like the Michelin Man, but she stripped off most of that stuff when she figured out she could handle getting hit with the ball. No serious injuries during her tenure.
    The worst sport for a parent is equestrian. Jumping over fences on 1200 lb animals may be great fun for the kids, but it sucks to watch. During training, they always fall off. The first hundred times your heart leaps out of your chest. After that you try not to watch. Still at it in college.

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