Following the NHL’s General Managers’ Meetings in Toronto on Tuesday, the NHL announced that ‘The League’s new rule designed to punish illegal checks to the head from a lateral or blind-side position is working’.
AJHL President Craig T. Cripps responded to this announcement with a sense of pride in the initiative the AJHL has undertaken regarding this same type of behaviour. “The AJHL along with four leagues within the CJHL launched a joint project at the onset of the 2010-2011 season to increase player safety and address bullying and violence in hockey.”
The initial consensus among the five leagues involved in the Junior A Supplement Pilot Project is that the project is working, as players and coaches are being held strictly accountable for negative behavior, dangerous hits, and unnecessary fighting. “There is no question that players are paying attention to the suspensions and reprocutions of negative behavior and dangerous hits in the AJHL,” stated Cripps.
As with the introduction of the new rules in the NHL, the start of the AJHL season was a learning process for everyone. “When you do something as drastic as this, there is a learning curve for everybody,” stated Nashville Predators General Manager David Poile. “The whole purpose of this was to get rid of these blind-side hits, these targeted hits to the head. We just don’t want them in our game. Right now I think we have some growing pains and there are players suffering through suspensions because of it. But all in all, I’m hoping for the day when these hits happen, they’ll be very few and far between.”
AJHL President Craig Cripps echoed the closing remarks of NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell , “We can’t forget the big picture, and the big picture is to save careers and reduce this type of injury and concussions.”
Courtesy www.AJHL.ca with files from www.nhl.com