PeeWee checking

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HockeyDad41
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PeeWee checking

Post by HockeyDad41 » Fri Oct 23, 2015 3:04 pm

For those who remember when checking was allowed in PeeWee hockey - has the make up of the team changed much since it went away? I was watching a AA PW practice the other day and saw three kids that couldn't have been over 75lbs with their gear on. In fact there were no kids of any significant size on that particular AA team. Has it always been that way or was there a little more of a premium on size back in the day?

I guess if I was a PW coach I would load my team with the best and fastest skaters regardless of size too given the no checking rule we have today, but when they get to bantams do I still want the little kids on my blue line and trying to successfully defend the front of the net and corners? Will we see coaches grab up some of the bigger kids for some spots on AA when the physical play starts?
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nobody
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Post by nobody » Mon Oct 26, 2015 9:01 am

I was always against checking below HS, I have seen the light now-checking must come back to PW. It does not need to be in squirts though.

SCBlueLiner
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Post by SCBlueLiner » Mon Oct 26, 2015 9:10 am

Don't kid yourself, size still matters in PeeWees. While there is not full on checking there is still alot of body contact with a lot of bumping and rubbing. In many games I've seen it very much resemble a full contact game, except there are no open ice hits and no big bangs along the boards. Even then, I've seen some PeeWee games that you would swear are full contact games, up North of course.

Personally, I think they should put checking back in Pee Wees, in fact, allow limited checking in Squirts (no open ice hits). Checking is a part of the game, a skill that needs to be learned just like skating/passing/shooting. I watch Bantams now and alot of these kids are lost. Can't check properly, don't play the body when they should, it's actually more dangerous to introduce checking at this age as there can be a huge difference in pre vs in-puberty boys, which is what you have on the ice at 13-14 years old. Players would be better off learning the game with checking from the beginning, then it would be no big deal.

I know why USA Hockey changed the rules the way they did, I just don't agree with it. They say it's to promote skill development but we all know the real reasons.

greybeard58
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Post by greybeard58 » Mon Oct 26, 2015 9:20 am

Retention and the big one Insurance rates my best guess

jg2112
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Post by jg2112 » Mon Oct 26, 2015 9:35 am

The decision to outlaw checking until Bantams has hurt associations in two significant ways, in my opinion:

1) There is a checking league in the Twin Cities with three levels and about 16 teams of players (16 teams x 16 players = tons of lost revenue, or reduced team ice bills, for associations). The players move to that league to learn body contact, giving them an advantage against association kids at the Bantam level. The fact the kids learn body contact and practice it each day on the ice is a huge selling point vis a vis association hockey.

2) The decision has really hurt girls' association hockey, as more and more girls realize they will not have to deal with face-to-face checking at the PeeWee level. Off the top of my head, I can think of around 15-20 top end girls playing PeeWee this year. If they were playing U12, the quality of play on the girls' side would be higher, which could lead to higher local recruitment at the younger ages for girls.

observer
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Post by observer » Tue Oct 27, 2015 7:06 am

I can think of around 15-20 top end girls playing PeeWee this year.
That's an unfortunate big problem.

goaliedad31
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Post by goaliedad31 » Tue Oct 27, 2015 7:24 am

4 girls from our association alone playing peewees -- non on AA. It might be different if they were AA material, but it just hurts our girls program, the boys are resentful and creates rifts with the remaining girls. Very unfortunate.

InigoMontoya
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Post by InigoMontoya » Tue Oct 27, 2015 8:50 am

Why are they playing peewees? Has anybody asked them?

goaliedad31
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Post by goaliedad31 » Tue Oct 27, 2015 9:06 am

I won't speak for them, but last year our U12 team was a top 5-8 team. We have an all non-parent, qualified coaching staff, our association has been very supportive of our girls program. We would be a top contender if all our 12U girls played in the program. Then again, maybe I am missing something by not conversing with all those scouts at the peewee B games.

Jackpinesavage
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Post by Jackpinesavage » Tue Oct 27, 2015 11:00 am

Association hockey should be for the benefit of all- not personal training for "special people" If MN Hockey is going to support girls hockey than all girls should play girls hockey. If the complaint is "my daughter isn't getting good enough competition then send her to an academy or year round AAA. Do not dilute girls hockey because you are too cheap to privately fund your superstar. Too many associations are losing entire girls teams and even programs because of this selfish and greedy behavior. Its been proven girls programs thrive with more girls playing- your association will thrive with more members.

InigoMontoya
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Post by InigoMontoya » Tue Oct 27, 2015 12:12 pm

goaliedad31 wrote:I won't speak for them, but last year our U12 team was a top 5-8 team. We have an all non-parent, qualified coaching staff, our association has been very supportive of our girls program. We would be a top contender if all our 12U girls played in the program. Then again, maybe I am missing something by not conversing with all those scouts at the peewee B games.
A top 5-8 team is not a top contender?

jg2112
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Post by jg2112 » Tue Oct 27, 2015 12:28 pm

InigoMontoya wrote:
goaliedad31 wrote:I won't speak for them, but last year our U12 team was a top 5-8 team. We have an all non-parent, qualified coaching staff, our association has been very supportive of our girls program. We would be a top contender if all our 12U girls played in the program. Then again, maybe I am missing something by not conversing with all those scouts at the peewee B games.
A top 5-8 team is not a top contender?
I think he meant 5-8 team last year.

This year, they would be a top contender again if the 4 girls playing PeeWees were playing U12 instead.

massalsa
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Post by massalsa » Tue Oct 27, 2015 1:15 pm

jg2112 wrote:The decision to outlaw checking until Bantams has hurt associations in two significant ways, in my opinion:

1) There is a checking league in the Twin Cities with three levels and about 16 teams of players (16 teams x 16 players = tons of lost revenue, or reduced team ice bills, for associations). The players move to that league to learn body contact, giving them an advantage against association kids at the Bantam level. The fact the kids learn body contact and practice it each day on the ice is a huge selling point vis a vis association hockey.

2) The decision has really hurt girls' association hockey, as more and more girls realize they will not have to deal with face-to-face checking at the PeeWee level. Off the top of my head, I can think of around 15-20 top end girls playing PeeWee this year. If they were playing U12, the quality of play on the girls' side would be higher, which could lead to higher local recruitment at the younger ages for girls.
There has also been a handful of girls that have played in the varied levels of the "checking league" in the Twin Cities instead of or in addition to their association. Those girls were some of the better players in those leagues and absolutely deserved to be there skill wise.

Every girl I know of that played in that league has developed into a National Camp 15's (at least) and beyond type of player. The checking clinics and progression into a more physical style of play has served them very well in the girls game. Many of those girls are now 8th/9th/10th graders have been and will be making significant contributions to their HS Varsity programs as super underclassman (if that is even the term to be used).

JoltDelivered
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Post by JoltDelivered » Tue Oct 27, 2015 2:05 pm

nobody wrote:I was always against checking below HS, I have seen the light now-checking must come back to PW. It does not need to be in squirts though.
I agree. To me only part of it is learning to deliver or take body contact. The other part, which in my book is more important, is wiring your brain to avoid body contact. The player needs to understand situations, recognize which ones are dangerous, and have that internal clock ticking away in their brains to evacuate a danger zone. Much like a football QB standing in the pocket holding the ball. Even if it's as simple as quickly identifying an oncoming checker and employing a quick side step or quick shoulder turn to avoid disaster. Think of them as survival skills. Our pee wees are now allowed to enter the bantam ranks without the most basic of survival skills.

I saw it several times this weekend in some season opening AA bantam games. Those 1st year bantams don't have that clock in their head. They are still playing pee wee hockey. They aren't taught to sense physical danger therefore they get blown-up, sometimes long after delivering a pass or taking a shot, and don't see it coming. Serious injury can occur from this too...saw that this weekend as well. Will they eventually figure it out? Sure but not before they get exposed to huge risk and get blown up on several occasions by a much larger & faster player than what's bouncing around in the pee wee ranks.

I had heard they removed checking from pee wees to reduce injuries at that age level. The trade-off is you send unprepared boys into an even more violent setting at bantams without the appropriate training on how to protect themselves. I am sure USA hockey is studying this and probably have some sort of data to back up their decision and if I were a betting man I doubt they go back on their decision. It's politically risky and legally risky.
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SCBlueLiner
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Post by SCBlueLiner » Tue Oct 27, 2015 3:16 pm

I don't see it as legally risky. There are PeeWee football teams with 3rd graders playing tackle football but USAHockey won't allow 7th graders to check. Interesting decision.

As to injuries, I believe it is Saskatchewan Hockey that is tracking these injury studies and are finding there are no more/no less injuries than before the checking ban in Pee Wees was put into place but they are finding more/severe injuries taking place at Bantams. At least that is what I recall from a recent episode of Hockey Central on the NHL Network. I know Saskatchewan Hockey is still fighting the PeeWee checking ban.

InigoMontoya
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Post by InigoMontoya » Wed Oct 28, 2015 6:50 am

Sure but not before they get exposed to huge risk and get blown up on several occasions by a much larger & faster player than what's bouncing around in the pee wee ranks.
Dozens made this observation years ago and tried to communicate what, even before the change, seemed pretty obvious.

JSR
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Post by JSR » Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:41 am

nobody wrote:I was always against checking below HS, I have seen the light now-checking must come back to PW. It does not need to be in squirts though.


The truth is teaching proper body contact actually NEEDS to start in squirts. If we start teaching it properly in squirts then as they get to pee wees and bantams they will be better prepared to take an actual check and they also might start using body contact to separate puck carrier from puck rather than trying to blow them up and hurt them. There will always be one or two bad apples but I think this would be the best plan for the overwhelming majority.

nobody
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Post by nobody » Thu Oct 29, 2015 10:54 am

The problem is prior to the no-check sq hand were terrible. Now in SQ the hands have improved at the expense of heads-up hockey, in PW some kids have really developed hands and no passing skills.. Real heads up passing has disappeared in PW. "puck hits your stick you get tunnel vision until someone knocks it off you stick. The really skilled players can pass but will never get a decent pass.

Works fine until checking comes along, you get blown up, and can't pass or read the threats coming at you. The entire game slows down.

Wet Paint
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Post by Wet Paint » Thu Oct 29, 2015 2:38 pm

InigoMontoya wrote:
Sure but not before they get exposed to huge risk and get blown up on several occasions by a much larger & faster player than what's bouncing around in the pee wee ranks.
Dozens made this observation years ago and tried to communicate what, even before the change, seemed pretty obvious.
Didn't "The Powers that Be" come out and tell us that the main reasons that they wanted to remove checking from PeeWees were injury rates and drop outs. This year is really going to tell the tale as this is the first group of kids who are going up to Bantams who have never been in a checking game. I popped into the rink to see what was going on and spent some time watching a very fast up and down the arena with their heads down not passing squirt game. I mentioned to one of the people standing next to me that these were some really good players but seemed big for squirts, it was pointed out that they were/are PeeWees. Removing checking from PeeWees has basically made the "squirt hockey model" last for 4 years instead of 2. I think that more kids are playing PeeWees now who would have dropped out but I bet they drop out when they go into bantams and start to run into those post-pubescent 6ft tall young men who have spent a year checking. All in all I think it is a net loss for USA Hockey to have removed checking from PeeWee hockey which will either be formally reversed or will be one of those "let the boys play" deals that will eventually with no fan fare what so ever bring back checking.

InigoMontoya
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Post by InigoMontoya » Thu Oct 29, 2015 3:16 pm

this is the first group of kids who are going up to Bantams who have never been in a checking game.
That first group of kids is out of bantams.

SCBlueLiner
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Post by SCBlueLiner » Thu Oct 29, 2015 3:48 pm

Wet Paint, I would agree with you somewhat about the "shock" of these first year Bantams in adjusting to the checking game except that alot of these kids have already had their taste of it in summer hockey. I know my kid and his team, their first checking game this summer started kind of tentative for both teams on the ice. By the end of the first tournament and for the rest of the summer it was full on.

I know my kid has learned from it but still slips back into the Pee Wee non-checking mindset at times and has tried some stuff that just doesn't work when you can check. He got lit up, learned from it, and hasn't gotten cute like that again, instead opting for a more power type move. Lesson learned.

Still, it gets pretty messy out there now and the boys are struggling to learn proper checking techniques. See, that's just it, checking is a learned skill. If it was allowed starting at Squirts the players would be that much further along with this skill and would learn it when they are smaller and moving slower. It would be seen as no big deal and there wouldn't be this anxiety over it. I currently have one or two players that are still nervous about checking, majority are thrilled to finally be able to legally check, and then those in the middle that it really doesn't matter to them, just another thing. It's actually the parents that make the biggest deal out of checking and are the most nervous about it, mostly the moms.

jg2112
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Post by jg2112 » Thu Oct 29, 2015 8:18 pm

SCBlueLiner wrote:Wet Paint, I would agree with you somewhat about the "shock" of these first year Bantams in adjusting to the checking game except that alot of these kids have already had their taste of it in summer hockey. I know my kid and his team, their first checking game this summer started kind of tentative for both teams on the ice. By the end of the first tournament and for the rest of the summer it was full on.

I know my kid has learned from it but still slips back into the Pee Wee non-checking mindset at times and has tried some stuff that just doesn't work when you can check. He got lit up, learned from it, and hasn't gotten cute like that again, instead opting for a more power type move. Lesson learned.

Still, it gets pretty messy out there now and the boys are struggling to learn proper checking techniques. See, that's just it, checking is a learned skill. If it was allowed starting at Squirts the players would be that much further along with this skill and would learn it when they are smaller and moving slower. It would be seen as no big deal and there wouldn't be this anxiety over it. I currently have one or two players that are still nervous about checking, majority are thrilled to finally be able to legally check, and then those in the middle that it really doesn't matter to them, just another thing. It's actually the parents that make the biggest deal out of checking and are the most nervous about it, mostly the moms.
Look at the point above.

My daughter plays in the Super League at Minnesota Made (she's a first-year U12). They're about one month in and have had 4 practices devoted solely to checking (she had another last night), and portions of 3-4 others working on pinning, parallel body contact, and corner battling.

Now, she's not going to go back to playing the girls and light them up. However, the principles she is learning and applying are used at the U12, U15 and high school level, and she will be ready to use them.

SECoach
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Post by SECoach » Fri Oct 30, 2015 10:47 am

Checking was removed at the Pee Wee level to take advantage of the "window of opportunity" in the age appropriate skill development progression. I don't claim to know the science behind the brain development of 11/12 year olds but that's it, period. Argue with the logic, but not the reasons, because money, keeping weak kids in the games longer are not part of the plan. Safety was a consideration, but far behind the window for skill development.

The blow ups, that are referred to that happen at bantams? If the words "blow up" are being used, well those are penalties that need to be called appropriately.

Body contact, angling, etc should be taught beginning at no less than squirts and should include girls playing girls hockey at that same ages. This doesn't mean that "checking" in games gets the job done, because they don't learn to do it effectively in games. This needs to be taught and if it's not being taught at practice to your children, then it needs to be addressed with your association.

JSR
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Post by JSR » Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:01 pm

SECoach wrote:Checking was removed at the Pee Wee level to take advantage of the "window of opportunity" in the age appropriate skill development progression. I don't claim to know the science behind the brain development of 11/12 year olds but that's it, period. Argue with the logic, but not the reasons, because money, keeping weak kids in the games longer are not part of the plan. Safety was a consideration, but far behind the window for skill development.

The blow ups, that are referred to that happen at bantams? If the words "blow up" are being used, well those are penalties that need to be called appropriately.

Body contact, angling, etc should be taught beginning at no less than squirts and should include girls playing girls hockey at that same ages. This doesn't mean that "checking" in games gets the job done, because they don't learn to do it effectively in games. This needs to be taught and if it's not being taught at practice to your children, then it needs to be addressed with your association.
SEC, regardless of what "should" be happening, I have been to countless associations and AAA hockey practices and I have YET to find a single one that is teaching body contact at squirts and 90% of them aren't teaching it in pee wees either. The kids are legitimately not getting taught anything in that regard until bantams now at most places. Just like they weren't legitimately taught it until pee wees back when it was allowed at that level. Again you can say it should be addressed at your association level but the reality is that the coaches are focused on other things 90% of the time. Unless they are "forced" to do it, then they don't do it is what I have found. Meanwhile in my hometown association we have three freshman that are no longer bantam eligible (remember we are on calendar year here so 200s are no longer bantam eligible at all) that have quit hockey and their primary reasoning is the size differential/checking.... so take it for what it's worth :/
I agree it should be taught at squirts but if it's not part of the game at squirts its not taught at squirts, it's human nature amongst the majority of coaches.

SECoach
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Post by SECoach » Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:08 pm

It's an issue to take up with the local association regarding their coaches. ALL coaches are being taught to teach it. Whether they do or not is a local issue.

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