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Debate: Hitting In Womens Hockey

Should Women be allowed to hit in hockey?  

12 members have voted

  1. 1. Should Women be allowed to hit in hockey?

    • Yes
    • No
    • 0

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A recent article over at the Globe inspired me to write a new post.

The piece debates the merits of introducing bodychecking to womens hockey and I think it is a valid one.

To take hitting out of hockey changes the game dramatically. Now I am one who advocates cracking down on headshots and I am violently opposed to fighting in hockey, but I am all for the physical play.

Without the physical play, there is an element of fear and self-awareness that is completely stripped down. Players can just skate up the ice with their heads down and only have to aware of a poke check and not getting rammed to the ice. When you're on the boards or racing for the puck, you don't have to worry about someone coming in behind you, and therefore you can pick up the puck peacefully. When you have the puck and you see someone coming, you can take an extra second to make a decision because you know they're not going to slam you.

The element of hitting instils a fear in players to make quick decisions and be aware of their surroundings, not to mention the battles that ensue that are much different than a poke-checking contest.

I understand this is women we're talking about, however to say they cannot handle the physical test, one only needs to watch videos like

. Yes we know women have inferior physical statures to men, but that’s why they're facing other women. So Todd Bertuzzi will not be delivering elbows to them.

If we're going to keep the rules as it is, you can't call it ice hockey, because thats not what it is.

Swedish head coach Peter Elander's take on it:

"I just think it's so old-fashioned to say 'Girls can do this, but they can't do that, Women are doing the full Ironman [triathlon]. So what's this about women not being able to do what men can?"

Arto Sieppi, Finland's director of women's hockey, opposed to introducing bodychecking, response to Peter was:

"Peter is a good friend of mine, but I totally disagree," Sieppi says. "First of all, it's a women's sport and if bodychecking would be allowed, the number of young girls entering the game would decrease rapidly."

A statement of which I would love to see some support for, I don't know what women athletics are like in Finland, but in America women athletes are tough as nails and if given the chance can take as much hitting as the next person. We have Womens Rugby, MMA, Boxing and other physical sports so I'm failing to see the empirical evidence that women can't take a hit.

Elander also makes a good point about the dinosaur men and their philosophies. This is all about outdates principles, what came first women can't play hockey or even sports? Ya that theory held.

Maybe it’s because it’s not sexy or feminine to women to be cross-checking each other, but lets face it women aren't playing hockey to be models. Let the damn girls play the game they grew up watching their brothers, male friends and role-model athletes were playing.


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Hmm, a very interesting topic. Well, from a hockey fan whose never played/coached a game of ice hockey in my life, I must say that while I enjoy the hitting and fighting, the physicality is not at all a necessary aspect of the game. When I think of the game of hockey, and I try to describe it to someone, I never mention the physical aspect. It's not the checking that sets this game apart from others. For me, it's all about taking advantage of the ice surface and its use. The speed of the game is far greater than most, and the ice surface allows for some really creative stickhandling, and these make the game(for me anyways).

From a viewers perspective, I would probably watch a womens league sans checking if it was played as regularly as nhl games, I wouldn't be surprised if the women were better stick handlers and passers, or at least did them better than in the men in the nhl. Without that fear of getting knocked out if they keep their head down, it probably allows for more time to make plays. I wouldn't be surprised if there were more highlight reel goals, not to mention the fact that my favorite players probably wouldn't be injured as much. Maybe I'm wrong, as I have no ice hockey experience whatsoever, and don't really know what the psychological effect of checking is when you're on the ice, but I feel an ice hockey game without checking would be really different compared to with checking, and that it wouldn't really hurt to see both. Perhaps, it would create a more exciting game in terms of actual gameplay? Maybe. IDK.

Anyways, interesting topic, and good post.

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I totally agree with the first comment. "What about women's Rugby? That certainly isn't a dainty sport". However what i don't like, is when a few girls play hitting with the boys, and if a boy hits them "OH YOU CAN"T HIT A GIRL"! As far as i'm concerned, if you play with the boys, expect to get hit. I think that all hockey should have hitting.

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I see no problem with body-checking in women's hockey but the bottom line is that we, as men, should not be the ones to decide. Put it to the women playing women's hockey and you'll quickly have an answer.

Agreed. I think they should be allowed... If they want to. It's up to them, really... I guess. I don't watch women's hockey anyway. Unless it's an important medal game, or something. It just doesn't interest me beyond that. I also don't see why it can't remain non-contact (and still be considered hockey) if that's what the women playing the game should want.

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I see no problem with body-checking in women's hockey but the bottom line is that we, as men, should not be the ones to decide. Put it to the women playing women's hockey and you'll quickly have an answer.

Pretty much sums up my feelings on the gender bias. It's a non issue and should be left to the players to decide.

As far as "ice hockey" and "hitting" being correlated, I have a fundamental issue with what is considered a "body check".

To me, a check is a hit intended to impede a player's progress with the puck. I would consider a substantial number of checks as they are currently thrown, to be a form of unnecessary roughness. As far as I'm concerned you don't have to flatten a player to stop their progress or knock them off of the puck.

All hockey should have checking, but "big hits" shouldn't be a part of the game.

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