Body checking will no longer be allowed in Canada's 11- and 12-year-old peewee division after officials instituted a nationwide ban on it on Saturday. (Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
Hockey Canada, the country's governing body for amateur hockey, has voted to ban body checking from peewee hockey beginning this fall, according to The Guardian.
The decision, which applies to the country's 11- and 12-year-old division, was made on an overwhelming 42-2 vote, according to the report.
Paul Carson, the organization's vice president of hockey development, led the charge to institute the ban with a 20-minute presentation on Friday at Hockey Canada's annual general meeting in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
Several provinces had already instituted similar rules in recent years, and body checking is not permitted in the United States until players are 14 years old. Player safety was at the forefront of Carson's push to adopt the rule.
He looked at three main areas before coming to the recommendations. They were player safety, skill development as well as recruitment and retention of young players. “Body checking has been identified as the single most consistent risk factor for injuries in sports,” he said.
The debate is by no means new. Carson said there was a position paper and recommendation put out by Canadian Minor Hockey Association coaching committee to remove checking from peewee 20 years ago.
He pointed to research that showed there is a three times greater risk of injury and four times greater risk of concussions in body checking environments in the peewee age category.
He added there is no “protective effective” by earlier introducing body checking.