Youth hockey cracks down on illegal hits

Published 9:43 am Monday, June 25, 2012

ST. LOUIS PARK — The type of illegal hockey hit that paralyzed a Minnesota high school player last December will continue to trigger an automatic 5-minute major penalty in Minnesota youth hockey, the sport’s governing board decided Sunday.

The Minnesota Hockey board members voted 18-6 to extend the move it made at the end of last season, a rule change that elevates the penalty against the team from a 2-minute minor.

The vote, during the board’s meeting in St. Louis Park, followed two hours of passionate discussion, Minnesota Hockey president Dave Margenau said.

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An ad hoc committee had previously recommended returning to the penalty structure that had been in place before Benilde-St. Margaret sophomore Jack Jablonski was hurt. That system gave referees the discretion to determine the severity of penalties for boarding and checking from behind.

The committee also recommended stepping up accountability of coaches, players and referees.