By Dave Zednik, IHOA Registrar
QUESTION: What is the USA Hockey interpretation of illegal body checking to a player who is no longer in possession and control of the puck?
ANSWER: Any avoidable check delivered to a player who is no longer in possession and control of the puck.
A player is considered to still be in possession of the puck after he releases it up until the point the puck is next played by another player. An avoidable check delivered to a player after he has released the puck must be penalized under this rule. An avoidable check is when the player delivering the check has an opportunity to avoid contact once it is realized the opponent no longer has possession and control of the puck. The concept of “finishing the check” is one that is meant to intimidate or punish the opponent and has no place in youth hockey. Provided this check is avoidable, it must be penalized in every instance.