Is the Fair Play Points Program Effective?
The following article offers a detailed look at the effectiveness of the Fair Play Points program over the last several years. The results of the program seem to be encouraging as we work together to make hockey safer for our players.
Fair Play Points Earned
Overall 80% of teams earned Fair Play Points this past season (2008-2009). Squirts, Bantams, Junior Gold, Girls under 10 and Girls under 19 all improved in the % of points earned. Pee-Wee players earned about 5% fewer points this year while girls under 12 and girls under 14 were unchanged-earning between 94% and 96% of their available points. This is an excellent validation of an important outcome and indicates the success of HEP’s Fair Play. Girl’s under 10, according to our sample analyzed, earned 100% of Fair Play points- for the second time during five years of data collection. Go Girls!
Checking From Behind
Checking from behind penalties called decreased substantially this past season in Pee-Wees, Bantams and Junior Gold. Concerning is an increase in checking from behind calls taken by Squirts, a level where checking of any kind has not yet started. Perhaps officials, concerned about concussions and related neurotrauma took action to hold these nine and 10 year olds accountable for their actions. Although, the number of CFB penalties in Squirts were only about four per 100 games, it is important that this trend not continue. Furthermore, based on this sample, Bantams only took about 3 CFB penalties per 100 games.
Head hits/head contact was 12.4 per 100 games in 2004-05; two per 100 games in 2005-06. No calls were made for 2006-07 or 2008-09. Youth hockey is likely the only level of hockey where this trend is being observed and we applaud the players, coaches and parents who are helping to make sure these dangerous penalties do not occur.
Major Penalties Overall
As readers can see on the major penalties graph, all major penalties have decreased. Importantly, these observed decreases in fighting, spearing, roughing, high sticking, CFB, head contact, kicking and disqualification (DQ’s) are all at fairly low levels compared to previous years.
Since all major penalties can result in injury, it is gratifying to think that the game is being played in a more respectful manner. Knowing that a lack of discipline leading to aggressive acts might cause a team to lose a Fair Play point seems to be a powerful reinforcer of the desired sportsmanlike on-ice behavior.
Editor’s Note: Thank you to Aynsley M. Smith, Andrew A. Link and Dave Margenau for this informative article.