Lawmaker Wants Hockey Out of Penalty Box

An Illinois lawmaker wants to get non-contact hockey out of the Illinois Department of Public Health’s penalty box. 

The Illinois Department of Public Health classifies hockey in its highest-risk grouping in terms of possibly spreading COVID-19 from one player to another. Other sports in the same category include football, boxing, wrestling, competitive cheer, and rugby. 

While he believes public safety comes first, state Rep. Jonathan Carroll, D-Northbrook, believes hockey has been mischaracterized as an overly-physical sport because the highest-profile hockey played is of the professional sort.

“I think that there’s probably a bit of a disconnect between what people perceive and what the reality of it really is,” he said. “There’s full-contact, what we see from the Blackhawks and some high school teams, but then there’s the second kind of hockey that kids and adults like myself play, which is recreational, non-contact hockey.”

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The vast majority of hockey played is non-contact, Carroll said. He says he’s been in contact with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office about reconsidering hockey’s classification as a higher risk. 

School-sponsored and private club hockey often don’t allow body checking, the term for using your body to separate an opposing player from the puck or otherwise disrupt their play, until junior high. Often, it’s just boys that are allowed to use body checking and many still use full-face coverings. 

“With some clarifying language, we could probably look at hockey a little bit differently,” Carroll said, adding that non-contact hockey with a face covering is likely much safer than basketball.

“Once you understand the differences in the sports, I think that it’s safe to say that it’s probably as safe, if not safer, than basketball.” 

Illinois’ neighboring states have not placed similar restrictions on hockey, which has sent parents flooding over state lines to play in facilities like the Kube Sports Complex in Hammond, Indiana. Carroll said families that want hockey to return to Illinois should contact their local lawmakers.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio /

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via Alton Daily News

September 8, 2020 at 06:12AM

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