Fredericton — The Fredericton Youth Hockey Association announced today that there will be no sticks allowed in the 2015-16 season. This news arrives as teams from Novice to Midget are half-gearing up for what they thought was going to be a season of hockey.
The decision was made based on a study that found, “A strike to the head by a hockey stick too many times could cause permanent damage.” Another study that impacted the ruling stated, “Players are more likely to get hit by the puck if a player shoots it with a stick.” The report made public this morning ended by confirming the rumours around the FYHA: “The 2015-16 season will still be played, but any hockey sticks seen on the premises of a Fredericton rink will result in the player’s immediate suspension.”
The hockey stick’s necessity to the sport has many Fredericton-area players and parents puzzled. “This ruling truly makes no sense,” hockey mom Martha Kerry wrote on the FYHA Facebook timeline. “This is weirder than the time my kids’ rec hockey team had off-ice training.” The FYHA Facebook account later replied saying, “This wasn’t an easy decision, Martha. We didn’t make it overnight — we did it the next day.
Rumours floating around dressing rooms in Fredericton indicate that even being caught in Canadian Tire could get a player suspended on suspicion.
In perhaps one of the most concerning results of this hockey-stick ban, fighting in Timbits hockey is already up by 93 percent. And the coaches are all saying the same thing: “These kids are 5 or 6 years old and signed up to play hockey for the first time, but without a stick to use, it turns into a brawl out here most nights.”
The effects of the ban are reaching beyond Fredericton; during a recent tournament in Quispamsis, 2 Fredericton PeeWee players were arrested by Saint John police and extradited to Fredericton for playing mini-hockey sticks in the hotel hallway.