Is Ice Hockey Safe for Kids?June 21, 2022
With new NHL teams launching across the country, ice hockey has become more popular in the United States than ever before. The nail-biting 2022 play-off season has ramped up the excitement, too. More kids are dreaming of becoming heroes in the rink, but is ice hockey safe for kids?
Youth Ice Hockey Safety Precautions
While “old-time hockey” was a rough and tumble sport many decades ago, times have changed. Little league ice hockey has always had strict safety rules, and players are required to wear protective gear.
The right equipment can make the difference.
- Foam-lined helmet with full face mask
- Padded pants
- Knee, elbow, shin, and hip pads
Certified equipment keeps ice hockey safe
Parents don’t have to do hours of research or second-guess the quality of their kids’ hockey equipment. The HECC (Hockey Equipment Certification Council) provides extensive safety criteria for amateur hockey equipment.
HECC certified equipment is clearly marked as such, so parents know they’ve been tested to ensure performance as advertised on the ice.
Good Skating Skills Keeps Ice Hockey Safe
While your child may get their fair share of bumps and bruises, most of them will come from learning how to ice skate.
During ice hockey summer camp, for example, kids start by learning how to maneuver around the rink on skates, how to come to a full stop, and how to get on and off the ice safely.
Managing full body control while navigating the rink on skates is a critical benchmark to meet before kids are allowed to play hockey.
Good Coaching Keeps Ice Hockey Safe
Most importantly, one of the key factors in keeping youth ice hockey safe is working with an experienced coaching team.
Professional youth coaches understand the importance of taking training one step at a time, before injury can take place. Kids are taught how to control their movement while keeping alert and aware on the ice. This is long before competitive play becomes an option.
Good youth hockey coaches also understand the importance of rule enforcement, as well. The majority of injuries in young hockey players are caused by body checking. Most youth leagues prohibit body checking during play, and coaches need to enforce this rule during training.
Concussion risks for ice hockey
According to a recent study published by Sports Health, concussions and other injuries are relatively rare in ice hockey at ages below the high school level.
And at the high school level, it may surprise you to know that the rate of concussions is higher for girls’ soccer than it is for ice hockey.
The “Heads Up, Don’t Duck” program from USA Hockey teaches players how to move on the ice to prevent injuries.
In recent years, professional teams have finally caught up with youth hockey by implementing rule changes and innovating safety gear to make ice hockey safe for players of all ages.
Aviator Hockey School Keeps Ice Hockey Safe for Kids
Our experienced coaches understand that kids need specific motor skills to stay safe on the ice. Our program begins with the basics – learning to skate.
Children will develop the balance and skills they need to move on the ice. And since tumbles happen, they’ll learn how to fall without injury as well as how to get back up.
Once kids are comfortable on the ice, they’ll learn more advanced skating skills, as well as stick handling and puck control. Aviator requires full protective equipment during Hockey Learn to Play lessons.
More advanced lessons are available, which help provide your child with the skills they need for safe, competitive play.
And while Aviator has a host of competitive programs, they also host recreational hockey leagues. It may not surprise you to find out that most youth sports injuries happen during competition, rather than practice. Playing just for the fun of it may be one of the best ways to keep kids safe on the ice.
Aviator Hockey head coaches are full-time professionals, with decades of experience. We abide by safety guidelines and follow the injury prevention recommendations set by USA Hockey.
Keeping Ice Hockey Safe for Kids
Ice hockey has developed a reputation for being a dangerous sport, but that’s an outmoded stereotype that no longer fits. Developing good skating skills and good sportsmanship are two things that parents and coaches can encourage in kids to help keep them safe on the ice.
While all sports pose some risk for kids, the right protective gear combined with the right coaching makes ice hockey safe and fun for children of all ages.