UA-74833448-1 “Old Guard” Off-Side For Half-Ice Rule –

“Old Guard” Off-Side For Half-Ice Rule

Let’s face it everyone wants to play on a full sheet of ice during the season and this isn’t just for a game, but for all practices as well.

Given that the parents are paying for their Son or Daughter to play/practice on a full size ice sheet, it’s not too surprising that they are now in an uproar over Associations wanting to have them play on what is called a “down-sized” rink.

It’s not just the cost that is the concern, it’s about teaching and developing the players to play at any level they can achieve success at.

If you go to any rink and watch the team’s practice some of the players are standing around doing nothing excepting visiting with their teammates.

Coaches use half-ice to get the so-called most out of their players and if you ask them why they want full ice, they will tell you “it’s so the other team’s don’t know our routine and set plays.”

Not really sure if this even makes sense at the younger age players that are playing up to even Pee Wee hockey, but that’s the excuse they use.

Ice cost can exceed over $200.00 per hour for some teams and that only counts for one time, not counting additional ice times for practices or games – so why not share the with another team?

Now we are hearing that the Ontario Hockey Federation failed to reach an agreement and are at a stalemate as to whether to implement a new rule for the upcoming season.

The new rule would indicate that requires all players under the age of seven to play on half the size of a regular rink regardless of their skill level.

The agency called a special board meeting after a group of Greater Toronto Area organizations refused to implement the new rule, saying their “select” teams, drawn from the top players in house league to play each other at arenas throughout the city, will be playing full-ice this season.

Some 25 GTA (Greater Toronto Association) house league organizations argue that while the regular tyke-level house league teams are ready to make the switch to cross-ice hockey — in which half the rink is blocked off and nets are placed on the sideboards —  but the select or chosen teams aren’t prepared to make the jump at this time.

Steve Zinanni, President of the Mimico Canadiens mentioned that he feels “Hockey Canada should leave the decision up to league officials, coaches and players it shouldn’t be mandated and I think it should be a guideline.”

Phil McKee, director of Ontario Hockey Federation mentions “Hockey Canada’s research shows that less ice can make a big difference in getting players involved in games, he explained, noting that other sports have also reduced the size of play.”

He continued “Tennis has gone to it, soccer does it already, baseball does it already and in the range of 200% more shots and opportunities, plus an increased opportunity for being on the ice.”

He (McKee) mentions that the Ontario Hockey Federation first announced the switch this past March, sparking dissent among dozens of GTA house leagues.

It wasn’t until three months later, the provincial sport body announced any hockey organization who defies the new rule could face heavy penalties from Hockey Canada.

The ramifications if Associations do not comply could go far beyond the five and six-year-old tyke level select teams, is what I am hearing from friends in Ontario.

A letter sent out in July from the Ontario Hockey Federation that stated players of all ages from non-compliant organizations will be barred from participating in or hosting tournaments.

He continued “It’s a select format that’s been going on for 65 years. I don’t think it’s broke, so I don’t necessarily know if it needs to be fixed.”

And we wonder why it’s the “OLD GUARD” that don’t want the rules changed – REGARDLESS OF THE COST TO THE FAMILIES!!!!

No matter what you might think – it’s coming to a rink near YOU!!

image of ice hockey players on rink