In 2013, Hockey Calgary eliminated bodychecking from all divisions of Pee Wee, the age group for 11 and 12-year-olds. In 2015, they took it a step further removing bodychecking from level 4 and below in Bantam Hockey, kids aged 13 and 14.
Hockey Calgary is happy with the findings from the Bantam pilot project and will remove bodychecking from Midget Hockey, players aged 15 to 17, at levels Midget 5 and below next season.
Hockey Calgary’s executive director Kevin Kobelka says taking bodychecking out of lower levels of Bantam Hockey led to big reductions in head contact, roughing, boarding, charging and unsportsmanlike penalties.
The reduction in penalties also led to more games getting the full 60 or 75-minute allotment without time being reduced in the third period. There was also less animosity among the fan base watching the games.
The new rules for the 2016/2017 Midget season will still allow 70 per cent of Midget-aged players to bodycheck while keeping the game fun for the other 30 per cent at the non-elite level.
Bodychecking rules for Bantam Hockey remain the same as the 2015/2016 season.