Q: I see my child get knocked down in 12U games. Why don’t the refs make the body-checking call?
A: It’s important to remember that “no-check” doesn’t mean no-contact hockey. As long as players are playing the puck and no overt action has been made by a player to body-check an opponent while disregarding the puck, body contact is legal and can, at times, be forceful enough to knock an opponent down (without incurring a body-checking call).
It’s not uncommon for a player to lose his or her balance in close proximity to the opponent when battling for the puck. These confrontational situations are part of the normal play that occurs at all levels and should not be penalized just because a player falls. Additionally, these body-contact situations are a valuable piece of skill development, since they help players learn to properly initiate and withstand body contact while playing and protecting the puck.
For more questions and answers on topics related to specific age levels and articles about hockey in general, visit the USA Hockey ADM (American Development Model) newsletter articles.