Wednesday 11 November 2009

Hits to the head/checking from behind a problem in hockey

In today's Daily Gleaner Dave Ritchie laments in his column about hits from behind and hits to the head. With all the idiotic plays that have been happening in hockey recently, we thought it was worth sharing.
Remember when minor hockey instituted a "stop sign'' strategically placed on the back of the hockey jersey with the message being: if you can see this sign when about to check an opposing player, then 'stop' to think about the potential repercussions of such a hit.

It might only be one 'steamboat' in terms of time, but seeing the stop sign as you're about to drive a guy into the boards can't help but serve as a reminder that checking-from-behind is not a cool thing to do. And maybe players will be inclined to let up at the moment of decision.

Daily Gleaner: Why the debate over blows to the head, hits from behind in hockey?


  1. I agree with the checking from behind stuff. It doesent cost very much to sew some stop signs. I know when I was in minor hockey in ontario, they were mandatory.

    the head checking this is kind of interesting. Sometime I find a player is aiming shoulder, sometimes he does make contact with the head moving at a high speed. Look at Mike Richards and David Booth.

    ~Tommies Video Guy~

  2. On the other side of the coin, I see a lot of players intentionally turning their backs to the play and players not having time to hold up on the hit. I totally agree with removing hitting from behind. I think the reason it continues is because refs do not want to toss players so they call it boarding or cross checking. Call it what it is and players will be more careful.

  3. Some of the fault lies with coaches and officials too. Officials no longer call stoppages in play on scrums in the used to be a tactic to slow the play down and get a whistle, but now officials keep the play moving. So rather than ease up and participate in the scrum to freeze the puck, the puck is live, the intensity remains high and what used to be trying to get a whistle is now a full fledged battle for the puck.
    In line with that, getting to the puck first is key in starting to cycle the puck.
    It used to be that the play after a battle for the puck in the corner was for the winger to centre the puck to the other winger in the slot. Now the play is to "cycle the puck", meaning more play along the boards, more contact along the boards and more potential for heavy hits and injuries along the boards.
    Add to that the evolution in equipment...helmets, shields, elbow pads as weapons rather than protective gear...players believe they're invincible and can't be hurt, so there's no respect to relax on a hit. We're finding more and more that assumption to be incorrect.

  4. the NHL rulebook already has a rule that would penalize players running those kinds of hits. It's called charging. You can re-write the rule to include these kinds of hits where a guy comes clean like the Farelli hit, which i think was over-blown.

    add the CIS rule for checking to the head, and a no-tolerence, and it wouldn't take the hitting out. Look at CIS, there's still hits and it's still fun to watch most games.

  5. Nobody is suggesting that hitting be taken out of the game. A lot of times, you'll see guys turning at the last instant along the boards and it's called a check from behind. Automatic game misconduct. That really isn't fair for a play like that. Call it boarding or cross checking or roughing or whatever. It's the blatant charge into the back when the guy is definitely either engaged with the puck or with another player that must be stopped. That's the check from behind that warrants a five minute major and game misconduct. As far as I'm concerned, there is no "degree'' of checking from behind like you see now when the ref sometimes gives a 2 minute minor. Either way, it's a game misconduct. That's ridiculous. If it's a check from behind, call it five and a game. If it's boarding (or a guy turns at the last minute and is basically touched), then call it 2 minutes. No game misconduct for any 2-minute minor. That just defies logic. A check to the head is a blatant hit to the head when the victim isn't expecting a hit. If he's hit with a shoulder and in the act of getting hit part of the shoulder should happen to hit the helmet, that's a legit hit. In any case, h e's expecting the hit. It's the chicken s--- blow that the guy's not even expecting and then gets an elbow or stick to the head that must be eliminated. I remember a game in Acadia a few years that a defenceman took a clear run at a guy with his head down and with complete disregard for the puck, leveled a blow to the head which put the victim out for the entire season. That kind of hit warrants a season-long suspension. And yet, I don't even think it was called. That kind of play has to be eliminated. The Farelli hit wasn't as blatant. It just happened the kid hit the glass the wrong way. I don't really consider it was a dirty hit, although a charging penalty was warranted. But to give the offending player a season-long suspension which was given to him by OHS commnissioner Branch, that was the wrong call.