The Ontario Hockey Federation’s (OHF) Minor Council met on Friday April 29th to discuss the minor programs and among the topics was body checking in recreational hockey.
The OHF Minor Council unanimously endorsed the following motion:
Effective the 2011 – 2012 season body checking will be removed from all age divisions of House League and House League Select hockey.
House League and House League Select make up the majority of the OHF playing membership. The majority of House League hockey was already non body checking, which made it practical to standardize the rule across the entire membership. The extension of this decision to House League Select was similarly practical since Select teams are formed out of House League registered hockey players.
The OHF continues to review the delivery of all levels of hockey in order to create a safe and fun environment for all of its participants. Removing body checking at House League and House League Select is a positive decision for player recruitment and safety.
The removal creates a safer environment for new players that join the game at any age to develop the fundamental skills of skating and puck handling without the concern of being intentionally hit by another player.
At the end of the day hockey is a sport intended to give health benefits and life lessons to participants, and the OHF wants to highlight these core attributes of the game. With this new rule change, more players and parents will feel safer in these leagues and bring the focus back to the basics of the ‘good old hockey game’.
The OHF is one of three Hockey Canada Branches operating in the Province of Ontario and is the largest of all thirteen across Canada. The OHF is comprised of seven Member Partners and has a membership base that represents over forty percent of Hockey Canada.