A concussion can have a devastating effect on a child's or teenagers life essentially bringing everything in their life to a halt. They can't go to school, watch tv, read a book, or socialize all because another player cheap-shotted him or her from behind into the boards head first. They never saw it coming and couldn't protect themselves. USA Hockey has tried to limit this issue by moving the checking age up to 14 year olds and up in order to limit the discrepancy in height and weight between teenagers experiencing puberty. This rule change is in an effort to maximize the skill plays and limit the fear of being hit on the blindside. But the problem isn't limited to youth hockey. It seems everyday another NHL player is being suspended whether it be a repeat offender in Patrick Kaleta or high-skill player of Corey Perry. The respect is no longer there and if we keep going the direction we are, USA hockey players are going to fall behind. It needs to start from the top and involve a full-scale remodel of the game of hockey.
Hey maybe we just need to play the game out on the pond or backyard ice rink where there is no checking and all issues are resolved over a beer. The game is self-regulated with penalty shots and the focus is on having fun not necessarily keeping track of a score (even though everyone loves to beat their buddies).
My name is Nick Penberthy and am the Founder of the Tim Hortons Backyard Classic. Now after 5 years of running the THBYC we have raised over $30,000 for Hasek's Heroes.