One of the worst (and most dangerous) plays in hockey is kneeing. When a player sticks his or her leg/knee out to try and trip up an opponent, the injury potential is tremendous. In USA Hockey, Rule 610 outlines the penalty for kneeing:
Elbowing or Kneeing
(a) A minor or a major penalty shall be imposed on any player who uses his elbow or knee in such a manner as to in any way foul an opponent.
(b) A major plus a game misconduct penalty shall be imposed on any player who injures an opponent as the result of a foul committed by elbowing or kneeing.
Personally, I would like to see the penalties for kneeing more closely match those of checking from behind. An automatic 2 min minor plus 10 minute misconduct apply for anyone who checks an opponent from behind – with the option for a 5 min major + game misconduct for injury potential plays. I fully agree with these penalties – I think it’s essential to help keep our game safe for the players involved. What I struggle to understand is how kneeing is looked upon differently. When a player checks another person from behind, the only person who will likely get hurt is the one getting hit. However, when a player sticks his/her leg out (kneeing), both players run a serious risk of injury! As with a check from behind, the risk of long-term injuries here are great – and this must be eliminated from the game. Nobody wants to see players injured by careless play. If we treat kneeing as a high-priority, and increase the penalties for it, hopefully we can eliminate this dangerous play from the game and keep even more kids on the ice.
Skate hard & keep your head up. See you around the rinks.