Five years ago, the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and its Junior A counterparts across Western Canada adopted the Junior A Supplement, which was specifically designed to reduce violence on the ice.
The positive results have been steady and noticeable.
“The number of suspensions in our league this season is down significantly,” says MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis. “The introduction of the Junior A Supplement was designed to reduce violent actions of players, while increasing the quality of players who rely on speed, skill and strength.
“For players who have been in the league now for two or three years, they have the mindset that they realize they have to be responsible for what they do on the ice. This is due to their knowledge and exposure to the Junior A Supplement.”
This year ─ 2014-15 season ─ the new, one-fight rule took effect within the MJHL and its western counterparts. For a player who gets into a fight, they will receive a five-minute major and game misconduct. In accordance to the Junior A Supplement, suspensions for fighting are cumulative. After a total of five fighting majors, a player will receive a one-game suspension; six fighting majors will result in a three-game suspension and team fine; seven fighting majors will result in a four-game suspension and team fine.
Suspensions are also tied to players who are deemed to be the instigator of a fight. Two instigator penalties will result in a one game suspension to the player, and team fine; three instigator penalties to a player will result in a two-game suspension and team fine.
“The mindset of players is that they have to be responsible for their actions,” said Davis. “They are more mindful that if they do something which is of a violent, or unacceptable, behavior, they know suspension could occur.
“The quality of our league is excellent,” said Davis. “We have a very entertaining product on the ice, and a very competitive league.”
The MJHL is not discouraging physical play, stresses Davis. But head shots, fighting and violent acts will no longer be tolerated.