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May. 12, 2013

Dartmouth – 12 May 2013

Hockey Nova Scotia announced today that beginning in the 2013-14 season, the branch will be removing body checking from all levels of the Peewee hockey division. The branch will also be creating more non-body checking options for players across the province.

“At its core, this decision is all about the safety of our players,” said Hockey Nova Scotia’s president Randy Pulsifer. “We have seen a great deal of evidence that body checking is the biggest risk factor when it comes to injuries and concussions in minor hockey.”

Eight months ago, Pulsifer created a committee made up of Hockey Nova Scotia staff and council members to review the issue of body checking in minor hockey. This committee met with medical officials and reviewed scientific research.

This weekend at Hockey Nova Scotia’s annual general meeting, that committee recommended body checking be removed from all levels of Peewee hockey and also at the B and C level of Bantam and Midget hockey.

“At the Bantam and Midget levels, we wanted to provide non-body checking options for players who want to play the game and have fun without having to worry about the risk of injury,” said Pulsifer.

This morning, those recommendations were adopted by the Hockey Nova Scotia board and council members.

“This weekend, we saw overwhelming support for these recommendations,” Pulsifer said. “It’s great to see our hockey administrators from across the province showing real leadership in making the game safer for our players.”

Hockey Nova Scotia now joins Hockey Alberta and Hockey Quebec as Canadian hockey branches that do not have body checking at the Peewee level.

Today’s decisions are being applauded by the medical community.

“By doing this, Hockey Nova Scotia is reducing the risk of children receiving a head injury at these levels by over two thirds,” said Dr. Kevin Gordon, head of pediatric neurology at the IWK Health Centre.

“Hockey Nova Scotia continues to be a leader in reducing brain injuries in children across the province,” says Dr. Gordon. “Families can be a little less concerned as these decisions make the sport a tremendous amount safer for youth in the game.”

Hockey Nova Scotia’s development team is now in the process of creating guidelines for coaches to better educate their players at the Atom and Peewee levels on skills like positioning, skating, stick checking and angling to better prepare them for body checking at the Bantam level.

Hockey Nova Scotia’s new rules have received the support of the Vice President of Hockey Development for Hockey.

"To develop and grow our game, the sport must be safe", stated Paul Carson, Vice President of Hockey Development for Hockey Canada. "Through their committee work and the deliberations of the Board of Directors, Hockey Nova Scotia has demonstrated a commitment to insuring player safety, enhanced skill development, and the continued growth of the game through the recruitment of new participants, and the retention of current members".

All recommendations will take effect at the beginning of the 2013-14 minor hockey season.

To view the body checking presentations made on Friday May 10th at the AGM, see below:

Body checking panel discussion presentation and agenda
Medical community's body checking presentation


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