Background Participation and injury rates in youth ice hockey are high. Results of recent studies show that for 11 and 12 years old players the risk of injury is significantly higher in leagues where body checking (BC) is permitted compared to leagues where it is not. The objective of this research was to determine whether the incidence and types of body contact differ for 13 and 14 years old players in leagues where BC commenced at age 11 (Calgary) versus 13 and 14 years old players in leagues where BC was delayed until age 13 (Québec City).
Methods A cohort study was conducted in Québec City and Calgary. Sixteen games for Calgary and fifteen for Québec City were randomly selected and retrospectively analysed. Games were videotaped and analysed with a validated observation system allowing quantification of the intensity of physical contacts (PC). Five levels of intensity were coded. Level 1 represents the lowest intensity, and level 5 the highest. Different types of PC such as slashing and hooking were also observed. Multivariate Poisson’s regression analyses were performed to compare games between the two cohorts. The results provided a body contact incidence rate per team game. Rates were adjusted for the game period, rink zone, and score difference.
Results A total of 5,610 incidences of body contact with the trunk and 3,429 other types of body contact were observed. Very light intensity (Level 1) trunk contact was more frequent in Québec City (adjusted incidence RR [ARR]: 1.71; 95% CI: 1.28–2.29). Hooking (ARR: 2.18; 95% CI: 1.42–3.32) and slashing (ARR: 3.35; 95% CI: 1.31–8.58) were more frequent in Calgary. Body contacts were made more often by defensive players (ARR: 1.28; 95% CI: 1.03–1.58) and on puck carriers (ARR: 1.47; 95% CI: 1.02–2.12) in Calgary.
Conclusions Results suggest that players’ behaviours differ between players in leagues in which BC was permitted at age 11 compared to leagues in which BC was delayed until age 13.
- Body Contact
- Injury Prevention
- Athletic injuries