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The Cage Rule: Why it's become a hot button topic in junior hockey
Published July 10, 2017 / by Brock Ormond
Full face shields are becoming an popular option in junior hockey in this day and age.
For all teams and players in the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA), it will now also be mandatory for the upcoming season.
The ruling was unanimously enacted in February of this year by the OHA board of directors, with support from the Ontario Hockey Federation and Hockey Canada. The move will impact the 22-team Ontario Junior Hockey League, the 27-team Greater Ontario Junior B Hockey League and the Provincial Junior C Hockey League, representing 63 clubs.
This movement has clearly been brewing for quite some time. According to an article by the Peterborough Examiner, the key turning point to the creation of this rule was when the OHA provided Hockey Canada with data collected during the 2015-16 season as part of an impact study to look at facial and dental injuries recorded with players wearing half visors compared to those in full facial protection.
Gone are the days where junior players were not required to wear even half face shields (or visors, as they’re commonly known). The new era of player safety has been ushered in thanks to further understanding of concussions and other head and facial injuries. In addition, money was a huge factor in the decision, with a team implementing a policy of cages paying the OHA $1,200 yearly in insurance, compared to the teams using half visors paying $1,650.
Previously, it was only required that 16-year olds making their debuts at the junior level wear cages or other forms of full facial protection as a way of easing into a higher level of play or experience.
Starting at the Junior A level and lower was clearly a no-brainer, due in part to the fact that these players are aiming for NCAA scholarships as their benchmarks. NCAA hockey players, if you’re not aware, are required to wear full facial protection in order to be eligible to play.
On the flip side though, a common thought process from fans of the game is that the mandatory implementation of full face shields could lead to a rise in stick infractions from players the so-called “pests” that play a chippy style of game and aren’t able to receive any retribution. Combined with the number of fights per game going down year-by-year thanks to the “one fight and you’re out” rule and naysayers believe it could be open season on players in the league.
There is a possibility that this rule could make its way to the major junior level (OHL, QMJHL, WHL) within the next few years as well.
Do you think that this move to full facial protection for all players at the Junior A, B and C levels was long overdue? Or are you in the camp of letting the players decide what they want to wear? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below.
Thank you for reading my
blog - OFF THE CROSSBAR
So you want to be a hockey broadcaster...
Published July 1, 2017 / by Brock Ormond
If you answered yes maybe I can help.
Have you ever said to yourself, where do I begin? what does it take to be a hockey broadcaster? will it be difficult to get work? ...I'm guessing you have or you probably wouldn't be reading this post.
I bet you've now gone from talking to yourself to thinking out loud wondering...What can he tell me about broadcasting and Why should I listen. It's because I've been where you are and I used to ask myself the same questions. I don't claim to be an expert by any means but I can tell you that I'm still young and I've figured it out.
Let me start by saying, I won't sugar coat it, it's not easy but it is possible. I bet you thought I was going to give with Steps 1, 2, and 3...no that will come later. Let's start first by asking yourself some tough questions and please be honest with yourself.
1. How bad do I want to be a broadcaster?
2. Why do I want to be a broadcaster?
3. Am I wanting to become a broadcaster for the right reasons?
4. Do I have goals in becoming a broadcaster?
5. Can I give three of the wrong reasons to become a broadcaster?
There are many other questions to ask yourself but this is a place to start as this isn't a book I'm writing, (although that's in the works) back to the topic of broadcasting. These questions are important to ask yourself because I can tell you ...it's going to take work, hard work, so be sure you're doing it for the right reasons, because you love it and want it bad enough. Because if you do you can make it happen. Remember...I wouldn't be telling you this if I hadn't already been there myself.
Now I think you're ready to hear those Steps I promised you.
Ask yourself 50 questions about becoming a broadcaster. If you can do that move on to step 2. That means you have put enough thought into determining if this is something you really want to do or just a passing phase.
Look for any opportunity to practice your craft. How you ask...find a hockey game on the TV, go ahead and press mute. I know I know, Jim Hughson's a great play-by-play broadcaster but this is your time. Follow the game and call the play-by-play. Try one period and work your way up to calling a whole game. If you're comfortable enough by the time you get to the second period tape yourself and listen back. Critique yourself on where you sounded good and where you want to improve. I bet you know what I'm going to say next....yes your right.....repeat step 2 again, and again, and again. By now you may need a change of scenary. Go to a near by arena and find yourself a space in a corner of the arena somewhere and call the game live. Tape it on your phone...everybody has one of those now days don't they. The point of step 2 is, to practice, practice, practice and it doesn't matter where.
Be yourself! Find your own style. It's nice to listen to a play-by-play broadcaster that you admire but don't try and be them. Find your own voice, your own sound and your own delivery that is uniquely yours. You don't need to scream/beller/holler as that doesn't make for good broadcasting.
Do your research and be prepared. I can't stress this point enough. Have you ever heard the phrase, 'silence is golden'...except for when you're a play-by-play broadcaster. People want to know what's happening on the ice. They want the sound of the game to flow so learn to paint a picture for your audience.
Take your show on the road. Yes I know, this can be a scary step. Your not starting in the NHL....but every broadcaster started somewhere. Be willing to volunteer your time and take any opportunity to broadcast. Volunteering is the best way to gain experience. With more experience the better you'll get and you may just catch someone's ear. You never know who's listening. If you're good enough and willing to volunteer chances are someone will be willing to pay you at some point.
I bet you're now asking me the big question...did I follow Steps 1 to 5? and the answer is...yes I did.
Here's a short refresher...ask 50 questions, practice, practice, practice, be yourself, do your research/be prepared, take your show on the road/volunteer/and you may catch someones ear. Good luck in your journey in becoming a play-by-play broadcaster.
If you're interested in learning more on the subject of becoming a play-by-play broadcaster, subscribe or contact me today!