Minor Development (MD) Hockey, News, Minor Bantam MD '06, Rep (Peterborough Hockey Association)

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Minor Development (MD) Hockey
Submitted By PHA on Friday, April 26, 2019
Minor Bantam

Hi Hockey Parents

As most of you have heard the PHA has decided to transfer into MD hockey for the upcoming season for Minor Bantam, Bantam and Minor Midget hockey. This will replace the current AE level at these age groups. So if you have a child that is playing in these age groups this article is for you. Please take some time to read this if you are interested.

What is MD Hockey?

MD hockey is a level of Rep hockey that does not have body contact and is open to all players who want to play a level of rep hockey. Does this mean that it is non-contact? Not at all. It is still very much aggressive hockey that plays well into the Peterborough wheelhouse. If you are curious on what it looks like just watch the Canadian women's hockey. Some of the best hockey there is and no where near non contact. The simple difference is there is no body checking. Angling a player, a defenseman holding someone up or gritty play along the boards and in the corners is still very much acceptable. It is also not an official level recognized by the OMHA. While it is included in the OMHA manual and adheres to all the same rules there is currently no OMHA finals. There are still playoffs and a championship that would be similar to the Lakeshore playoffs. So it has all the same allure and awards, its just missing the red hat. That's not to say that it won't be part of the OMHA's in the future.

Why the switch to MD from AE?

The first reason for this is safety of the players. If you have been out to watch AE at these age groups there is very little actual body contact with it. But the size difference at these ages is considerable as kids mature at different ages. This leads to injuries. There are multiple stories of kids with life altering concussions, broken arms and collar bones and multiple other injuries due to either late or dirty hits or even hits that are clean and the player had their head down or was not in proper position. There is absolutely no reason for kids this age to have an injury that affects their lives or interferes with school.
The second reason is that most leagues have already switched to this model. The lakeshore is one of the only remaining leagues to still offer AE hockey. Our Minor Midget division this year had 4 teams from all of Ontario and they were all lakeshore teams. York Simcoe, GTHL, Alliance and others have already changed to MD. That is actually the reason there is no YS/Lakeshore challenge anymore at these age groups. Making this change opens up competition and tournaments that we could not participate in before. Who wants to drive to Quebec just to play Whitby and Oshawa again. There was a vote this year at the lakeshore meeting to switch and it lost by one vote. Peterborough has decided to help blaze the trail in the lakeshore and do what is right for the kids. Currently Pickering is the only other centre playing MD but we are hoping others will follow our path. In the end and especially at these age groups the goal is to keep kids playing hockey. Taking away the actual body contact will hopefully appeal to a lot more kids that have stayed away in fear of being hurt or severely injured.

What will the season look like?

For the time being Peterborough will join the York Simcoe league (Barrie, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Aurora etc.) along with Pickering and play multiple centres from those areas. This will mean a little more travel but it also means the teams will see multiple different centres they wouldn't normally play from different parts of Ontario. As I mentioned it also opens up a magnitude of tournaments that have not been available at these age groups in the past
The MD season runs into February and is 35 + games. Instead of starting playoffs right after Christmas and playing the same teams over and over again in multiple round robins. This actually mimics the AAA model, who play teams from the York Simcoe region.
There are still playoffs and a championship to fight for! In fact one of the Pickering teams was just in the semis.

What do tryouts look like?

The PHA will be offering a dual passport this year. The normal passport which will provide access to tryouts at all levels and an MD passport that will allow players to skip straight to the MD tryouts. Players that buy the normal passport and are released from either AA or A will still have the opportunity to tryout for MD if interested. Players only interested in MD buy the MD passport at a reduced cost and just go to the MD tryouts. 3 skates will be guaranteed for the normal passport and 2 guaranteed with the MD Passport. NRP's are still only eligible for AA.

This is going to be a learning season for us at this level and there will be more travel required but the upsides are very positive and regardless of whether we change now or change later we are going to have to change at some point. As I mentioned almost all of the other leagues have gone this way and we are one of the last to join in. This is a positive change and is the right move for the safety of our players.
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