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1st Year Checking - Documentary


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https://vimeo.com/ondemand/1styearchecking

The long distribution journey is over.  The company put it out on YOUTUBE TV and VIMEO last week (somehow Covid held it up for nine months).  This is the Vimeo link above.  SEARCH 1st Year Checking on YouTube and it will come up as well (and it is a lot cheaper to rent!).  

We were going to have a premiere and all that jazz but now we'd rather just let kids and parents watch it.  

Special thanks to all of those players, coaches and parents who were a part of it. 

 

Enjoy!  or don't!

Mess

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you might be interested to know that an ad for the film popped up in my fb feed tonight.   looking forward to watching it with my '08 as he heads into bantams this fall.   he was run over by a garbage truck back in november and was lucky to survive, so we are more apprehensive than ever about him getting hurt.  parenting isn't easy!

 

 

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I bought the film on YouTube so I could watch it again whenever I want..   my son is a 2011 2nd year squirt, but he was really fascinated to watch the film and it's difficult to get him to sit down and watch anything nowadays - so that's a plus.     I think it should almost be required viewing for kids crossing over to Bantam.     I thought it was really interesting and definitely an eye opener on what's ahead.     A follow up on girls hockey with the oldest sibling would be also a compelling story to tell.

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I really appreciate the feedback.  That means a lot to me.  I hope it is helpful to those going into checking and helps them.  As a side, I tried to present both sides, but I'm a pretty firm believer now that there should be a requirement for number of years that the payer has SKATED before she/he participates in check hockey.  I know of a few players who wanted to start playing as a second year squirt and as a first year bantam and that was when it seemed to be most dangerous.  I also wish I went more into the referees and how difficult it is to see head hits in a two man system (while you looking for icing, offsides, getting yelled at etc).  See you at the rink! 

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I have not seen your film yet but will.  I am still a firm believer that waiting until boys start to turn into men to allow checking is a terrible mistake versus teaching and allowing checking fundamentals at least at squirt minor. 

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33 minutes ago, aaaahockey said:

I have not seen your film yet but will.  I am still a firm believer that waiting until boys start to turn into men to allow checking is a terrible mistake versus teaching and allowing checking fundamentals at least at squirt minor. 

I could not agree more, however nowadays parents of 6-12 year olds seem to forget that while it’s non checking, hockey is still a CONTACT sport. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen mite parents throw an all out tantrum over their kid getting knocked into the boards. If an 85lb kid and a 50lb kid are going hard into the corner for a puck and rub against each other what do they expect is going to happen? I hate this whole mentality of teaching players to not be aggressive. 
Minnesota Made does it right with their Choice Hockey program. They introduce checking at squirts in stages. 

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I think it says a lot about the documentary when the kid is as engaged and fascinated by the film as the parents were.    I will tell our team to check it out..  I've been telling them about reading Pee-Wees, but now I will tell them to also watch this.

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21 hours ago, forbin said:

I could not agree more, however nowadays parents of 6-12 year olds seem to forget that while it’s non checking, hockey is still a CONTACT sport. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen mite parents throw an all out tantrum over their kid getting knocked into the boards. If an 85lb kid and a 50lb kid are going hard into the corner for a puck and rub against each other what do they expect is going to happen? I hate this whole mentality of teaching players to not be aggressive. 
Minnesota Made does it right with their Choice Hockey program. They introduce checking at squirts in stages. 

Agreed with you totally.  Also the referees don't help.  I've seen 75 lb kids run into 100 lb kids at the peewee level and get larger kids called for a penalty when the larger kid is CARRYING THE PUCK. 

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10 hours ago, aaaahockey said:

Agreed with you totally.  Also the referees don't help.  I've seen 75 lb kids run into 100 lb kids at the peewee level and get larger kids called for a penalty when the larger kid is CARRYING THE PUCK. 

This happens often enough to rise to the level of a pet peeve for me.

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On 6/28/2021 at 7:51 PM, aaaahockey said:

Agreed with you totally.  Also the referees don't help.  I've seen 75 lb kids run into 100 lb kids at the peewee level and get larger kids called for a penalty when the larger kid is CARRYING THE PUCK. 

There (was?) wording in the rules that specifically called for a penalty when the puck carrier initiated contact....... I really don't care enough to try to find out if its still there...... 

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12 hours ago, GrumpyOldPucker said:

There (was?) wording in the rules that specifically called for a penalty when the puck carrier initiated contact....... I really don't care enough to try to find out if its still there...... 

There is still a charging penalty I believe.  That's not what I mean though. I'm saying when a kid 2/3 the weight of the puck carrier skates full speed across the ice to hit a larger kid carrying the puck and bounces off them into oblivion.  Refs will often call the puck carrier just because he is big. It's insane. 

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57 minutes ago, aaaahockey said:

There is still a charging penalty I believe.  That's not what I mean though. I'm saying when a kid 2/3 the weight of the puck carrier skates full speed across the ice to hit a larger kid carrying the puck and bounces off them into oblivion.  Refs will often call the puck carrier just because he is big. It's insane. 

its called officiating the results, not the act. 

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That's nothing new..... I still remember getting called for an elbow back in 1982 when a player literally ran his face into my left elbow (I'm right handed) after I gained possession of the puck in the center circle in an opening faceoff. I was 6 foot tall, he was about 5'5"..... 

 

But in all seriousness, if the puck carrier delivers what the NHL commentators laud as a great "reverse hit" that should be penalized and is what the rule I referenced above was aimed at. Nothing wrong with bracing for contact and making them bounce off, but at some point it crosses the line when the puck carrier aggressively initiates contact. Again hard to describe but I know it when I see it. 

 

Yes, too many officials call the result of the play rather than the actual actions of the players.

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, GrumpyOldPucker said:

That's nothing new..... I still remember getting called for an elbow back in 1982 when a player literally ran his face into my left elbow (I'm right handed) after I gained possession of the puck in the center circle in an opening faceoff. I was 6 foot tall, he was about 5'5"..... 

 

But in all seriousness, if the puck carrier delivers what the NHL commentators laud as a great "reverse hit" that should be penalized and is what the rule I referenced above was aimed at. Nothing wrong with bracing for contact and making them bounce off, but at some point it crosses the line when the puck carrier aggressively initiates contact. Again hard to describe but I know it when I see it. 

 

Yes, too many officials call the result of the play rather than the actual actions of the players.

Some of it is intentional just either not really understanding the game or to appease a rabid fanbase, who also doesn’t understand the game but just saw little Yanni get yardsaled trying to hit someone, poorly.  

More often it comes from not seeing the play from having small crews, inexperienced or having difficulty keeping up. Just the nature of the beast. Not bashing officials; there isn’t enough to go around so you get what you get. 

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Posted (edited)

I paid $5.  I learned three things :

 

1) people are really frigging whiny and I see how they teach  their kids to be the same way.  

2)I started to think this was a vengeance promo video.  I am no Pens apologist but Brian Mueller is a fantastic coach and it's sad you acted like that pens checking clinic was bad. 

 

3) roller hockey exists as does an RMU non checking league. Check it out. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by aaaahockey
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8 hours ago, aaaahockey said:

I paid $5.  I learned three things :

 

1) people are really frigging whiny and I see how they teach  their kids to be the same way.  

2)I started to think this was a vengeance promo video.  I am no Pens apologist but Brian Mueller is a fantastic coach and it's sad you acted like that pens checking clinic was bad. 

 

3) roller hockey exists as does an RMU non checking league. Check it out. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for saving me 5 bucks. 

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12 hours ago, aaaahockey said:

I paid $5.  I learned three things :

1) people are really frigging whiny and I see how they teach  their kids to be the same way.  

2)I started to think this was a vengeance promo video.  I am no Pens apologist but Brian Mueller is a fantastic coach and it's sad you acted like that pens checking clinic was bad. 

3) roller hockey exists as does an RMU non checking league. Check it out. 

Your point 1 - I felt the same way about the parenting part. It seemed to me that the dad was actually instilling fear into his son about checking instead of just letting him feel it out for himself. It only takes one or two times of getting checked or checking someone to know that its not THAT bad. 

Point 2- Agreed. For what its worth I don't see the kids name on this years Vengeance roster so....idk.

Point 3 - A lot of people would rather their kids quit hockey all together than play in house. Come on, can you imagine the blow to their ego around the water cooler?

It was a well made documentary in my opinion. Some of the reoccurring themes repeated themselves too much and some of that fat could have been trimmed, but overall it was enjoyable to watch. I will say that it had the narrative that checking should be either banned from bantams or moved up to midgets, which I could not disagree with more. It needs to be introduced much earlier. The best part for me personally was when that giant 12 year old was just dummying kids and enjoying every second of it.

 

 

 

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AAA and Forbin -thanks for the feedback.   I really appreciate you taking the time to watch it. 

You could be right about instilling the fear in my own kid ...  but If my daughter hadn't gone through her 1st year of checking (with him as a witness) with two players quitting the game (who were very good players and my son looked up to) I would agree even more.  I am grateful to him for being brave enough to share his real emotions and fears about it.  I think it will help younger players who may or may not have the same feelings.

I tried not to make definitive statements about checking itself rather convey exactly what I felt at the time.  The Pens clinic was a terrific start for checking, the thought at the time was however, they are all going to need a lot more practice/reps...it was also helped me transition to two more checking clinics (which may have felt more repetitive) "They were going to need a lot more than this..." led to more checking clinics.  

If I was going to make a definitive statement on checking itself  .... 

1. For a player to enter their first year of checking they have to have been skating for at least _____________ years (3 or 4?) .  So that would move checking down in a lot of cases.  I have seen a lot of players try to start playing at 12 and 13 and then go into checking the next year. That is when it is the most dangerous in my opinion.  However there are more non checking options now for them than even two years ago (Alpha did not have an option but does now).

2. While in Detroit, we had a player this year get hit in the head and concussed.  No penalty.  The referees were upset that they didn't see anything and after a good conversation I learned that they have been begging USA Hockey to make It mandatory for all checking levels to have three officials.  But in their opinion it will cost more money so they will not do it.   I can tell you as an official that you simply miss calls every game, and that a head hit is one that we can't miss.

3. One part I didn't get to cover was there are a lot of places in Minnesota who are not in USA Hockey anymore and start checking right from the start.  I would love to see how that experiment is working.  

But as you saw, most of Canada completely eliminated it at non-AAA levels.  Which would have saved the players on my daughter's team (I think).  Do I see a part 2!

 

 

 

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@Mess I really did enjoy it and appreciate you taking the time to not only make the film but share your sons story as well. I'd love to see a follow up. I hope your kid is still playing at a high level and checking didn't scare him off, from what I saw on the film he has some great hands. 

I would agree with the experience level being determined by amount of years played is a good start. Maybe if there were more in house type outlets that those less experienced players could start in it would help. That also goes back to what I have complained about on here a few times that PAHL organizations don't really even cut kids anymore. They just field 4-6 bantam teams and let them struggle. Maybe by cutting kids it would force them into the in house non check leagues which would be a better learning environment.

Ideally 14U and up would have at least 3 officials but I don't see that happening anytime soon. Hell, sometimes were lucky that two show up!

A very close family friend has three boys ( 2005, 2007 and 2011) who all play or have played Choice hockey in MN that teaches checking at the squirt level (which in MN is actually 10-11 and not 9-10) and it absolutely makes a difference. The coaches even go as far as trying to keep the larger kids on the ice together if they can. You would be amazed at the skill level and awareness some of these kids have. If you ever want clips or stories from their experience for another film please reach out. I'm sure my buddy would love to be involved.

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Jack - good question.

We did not put it on Youtube.  We paid a distribution company (who is terrible and made good promises) that a friend (who did the Grant Fuhr film, Bob Probert film, Ice Guardians, Evel Knevel and others) recommended.  Before that, our friend told us that he would gladly distribute it but take 80% of the profit.  These films are so small that they aren't worth it to a lot of places.  Covid really had an impact on the company we went with - where the distribution happens in India.  They promised Prime, Google Play, pitches to Netflix, Hulu etc.  From what we are piecing together, they are close to bankrupt. We got various offers through the film festival success - one weird one that would have been the most profitable was to cut the film up into 88 - 1 minute segments.   We are scrambling a little right now because the company just put the film out there without any notification to us at all.  So PR is going to be tough as they usually want a premiere or an opening night to tie it to.   And in hindsight, it would have been smart to get it out last year when everyone was home but we were told every few weeks that it was next up.  That's this business though....

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Moving to a three official system is actually worse in terms of watching all the players for roughing, head contact, plays behind the play, etc.  USAH only recognizes the 1 Referee, 2 Linesman system, so that means only 1 set of eye watching for those types of infractions.  At the levels you guys are talking about, it is not a good investment.

The issue, as several have allured to, is the late starters, late development kids (bad AA, younger A, and all those 3rd and 4th A teams).  These players get little or no introduction to body contact and angling, now referred to as Competitive Contact.  They are still working on skating fundamentals, passing and shooting.  Adding a third skill that needs to occur while the other 2 are happening is not good.  They would benefit from a non-checking division.

Those levels are also where you have the most diversity of skills.  It is really hard to officiate, especially for the guys and girls that typically work those games.  It is a vicious cycle, that most league and organizations are not really paying much attention.  My prediction is you will see more non-checking divisions going forward.   Not by USAH fiat, but by leagues and admins reacting to the market.  Back to rec hockey, but not called rec hockey, because it will upset many parents.

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There is no perfect solution to it and every change is going to have its own set of consequences. 

In my utopia, they move checking back to 12u, increase non-checking divisions/leagues for those who desire.  But that isn’t feasible for the most part.

I have heard discussion of them eliminating checking in anything below juniors in the USAH realm.  Driving force is long-term liability for lawsuits etc.  That’ll be very interesting. Who knows.

 

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