Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hockey Canada votes for zero tolerance!

Hockey Canada did it!
The governing body of hockey — other than major junior — in Canada came out strongly against headshots as its annual general meeting wrapped up in Calgary on Saturday.
Hockey Canada’s board of directors decided that there will be “zero tolerance” for headshots — meaning all and any contact with the head — in minor, female and senior hockey.
According to a Hockey Canada news release that was issued upon the AGM’s conclusion:
“In minor and female hockey, a minor penalty shall be assessed for all accidental hits to the head, while a double minor penalty, or a major and game misconduct at the discretion of the referee based on the degree of violence of impact, shall be assessed for any intentional contact to the head;
“In junior (Junior A, B, C, D) and senior hockey, a minor and a misconduct or a major and a game misconduct shall be assessed for all checks to the head, at the discretion of the referee;
“A major penalty and a game misconduct, or match penalty, shall be assessed to any player who injures an opponent under this rule.”
This is exciting news because it means that at least some of the people who call the shots for the game of hockey are paying attention and realize what is going on in terms of head injuries and the impact they are having.
The fact that Hockey Canada has made this decision means it immediately will begin educating the youngest minor hockey players and they should move through the system playing the game the right way.
Hopefully there will come a time when we look back on May 28, 2011, as the day the tide turned.
It sounds as though the IIHF also will be taking a long, hard look at the issue of head contact.
IIHF vice-president Murray Costello told Kristen Odland of the Calgary Herald:
“President (Rene) Fasel of the IIHF has said from the beginning that there’s no such thing as a clean hit to the head.
“One of the worrisome things in all of our consultations was to get head injuries out of our game. There’s no room for it. But we have to come down hard and fast in a zero tolerance way.
“This will be welcomed that Canada is taking a stronger initiative. That will cause the (IIHF) to consider getting more serious and making tougher rules there, too.”
Also of note from the Hockey Canada AGM:
The host communities were named for various events, with Langley, B.C., getting the 2011 World Junior A Challenge.
During the 2012-13 season, the WJAC will be held in Yarmouth, N.S., with the Esso Cup in Burnaby, B.C., the TELUS Cup in Sault Ste. Marie, and the RBC Cup in Summerside, P.E.I.
Over the last two weeks, Rob Vanstone of the Regina Leader-Post has written extensively about Derek Boogaard and his death on May 13.
For one story, Vanstone spoke with a professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Here is the start of that story:
The kind of blows that led to Derek Boogaard's final concussion should be eradicated, according to an authority on head trauma.
"I think fighting should be eliminated," states Dr. David Dodick, a professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic and the president of the American Headache Association.
"How can I say that when you elbow me in the head you're going to be suspended for 10 games with a $100,000 fine, yet I can drop the gloves and you can drop the gloves and I can punch you 10 times in the head? There's an incongruence there. It's mutually contradictory that you can eliminate head hits, but you can implicitly condone fighting."
Vanstone’s complete story is right here.
Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun takes a look at Friday night’s Memorial Cup semifinal game between the host Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors and the WHL-champion Kootenay Ice right here.
Koshan also touched base with Robert Savard, who remains the only player to win back-to-back-to-back Memorial Cups, a feat that F Justin Shugg of the St. Michael’s Majors hopes to equal today. That story is right here.
Three WHL players were selected in the KHL draft on Saturday. F Marek Tvrdon of the Vancouver Giants was taken in the second round, 26th overall, by the Slovakian club Poprad. He was Poprad’s first pick. . . . D Matt Dumba of the Red Deer Rebels was selected in the third round, 60th overall, by Vityaz Chekhov, which took Prince Albert Raiders F Mark McNeil in the fifth round, 112th overall. Vityaz Chekhov used the fifth overall selection to take F Jonathan Huberdeau of the QMJHLs Saint John Sea Dogs.
If you’re so inclined, there is a translated version of the draft right here.
Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun was in Red Deer on Friday night as the 1963 and 1966 Edmonton Oil Kings were inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. That story is right here.
I first met Tom Thompson in the mid-1970s when I was working at the late, great Winnipeg Tribune and he was involved with the Manitoba Junior Baseball League. We still run into one another from time to time, and always have a grand conversation.
An aspiring lawyer, he also was dabbling in hockey. Eventually, hockey would win out and he has since worked with the Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers. These days, he scouts for the Rangers.
What I didn’t know until now is that he also has entered the blogosphere. If you weren’t aware, he has been blogging for The Hockey News, and you should check him out right here.
His most recent entry, on the gathering of the hockey community to say goodbye to Derek Boogaard, is most poignant.
In Houston on Saturday, F Jim O’Brien (Seattle, 2007-09) scored on a delayed penalty at 7:54 of OT to give the Binghamton Senators a 2-1 victory over the Aeros. . . . The AHL’s championship final for the Calder Cup is 1-1 — the Aeros won 3-1 on Friday — with Game 3 in Binghamton on Wednesday. . . . O’Brien was selected 29th overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 2009 NHL draft. . . . Attendance at the Toyota Center was 9,002, a franchise record for a playoff game. . . . The Aeros are the AHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild. . . . They’ll play Games 4 and 5 in Binghamton on Friday and Saturday. . . . If they need to continue beyond that, Game 6 is scheduled for Houston on Tuesday, June 7, with Game 7 there on Thursday, June 9.
If you have access to SiriusXM Satellite Radio, you’re in luck.
Games 4, 6 and 7 are scheduled for Sirius 207 and XM 92. Game 4 is to start at 4 p.m. PT, with Game 6 and 7 both at 5 p.m. PT.
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