USA Hockey is committed to creating a safe and fair environment for all participants. Respect for the game, opponents, coaches, and officials is a critical part of that environment and it covers several different aspects of sportsmanship and fair play. This Declaration of Safety, Fair Play and Respect will guide a change in culture as to what is considered to be acceptable/unacceptable body checking and competitive contact at all levels of play.
The Declaration clarifies and updates existing rules/definitions to emphasize the key points to more clearly outline what is deemed acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Below is a link to full USA Hockey article and video examples that shows actions deemed "acceptable" and "unacceptable" to help illustrate expected behavior.
The game situations in both sides of the clip are almost identical. However, the actions and results of the attacking players couldn’t be more different. Breaking it down frame by frame (not that we have that luxury on the ice), you notice the different characteristics between the attackers as they engage the opponent,
Obviously, one play resulted in a goal and the other in an injured player. Bottom line, good things happen when you focus on the puck and negative things happen when you over-focus on the opponent’s body.
Note - Need to download video to watch.
Before examining and understanding USA Hockey’s Declaration of Player Safety, Fair Play and Respect that was passed over the summer you have to keep in mind one thing, Guy Gosselin says:
“There’s been no change to the rules.”
When it comes to body checking and body contact, the rules of the game are the same as they’ve been for awhile.
The culture around contact, however, is what’s being changed.
“When kids get to a certain age they ask, ‘Can we hit?’” said Gosselin, a regional manager for USA Hockey’s American Development Model. “When that happens, the focus is on running around and banging players. This model is about skill development and puck possession — the way the game is being played today.”