When I was a kid, I had a great time playing hockey with friends and cousins. There was definitely some envy of those who were exceptionally good at skating or puck handling or shooting. There was little if any “checking” and I don’t remember any fighting. Playing sports is a risk above hiking or grocery shopping, but if the focus is on skill level over injuring an opponent to reduce the competition against your team, then the risk is better managed.
I hope that the injuries brought to light lately reinvigorate the responsibility of adults to encourage young athletes to hone their skills and leave the very aggressive behaviors in the stone ages from whence they come. — Bill Strei, Elk River