A progressive move was made by Hockey Canada's board of directors, when it voted overwhelmingly to ban bodychecking in peewee hockey, the age group for 11 and 12 year olds. With what we're learning about concussions, and how severe the ramifications can be, the decision to remove bodychecking from peewee is a step in the right direction. Honestly, with the size disparity that exists between kids, it's not fair to some of them that they're getting tagged by kids who outweigh them by half their body weight. Also, this will allow young players to focus on things like stickhandling, skating, positioning, etc., instead of just trying to survive, and getting rid of the puck so they don't get tattooed.
My buddy's kid is a little powerhouse, all muscle, and I keep telling him that he'll be able to retire soon, when his kid gets drafted by an NHL team. The thing is, his wife is paranoid about him getting hurt, and doesn't want him to play hockey. I'm having none of it, bought the kid a stick, ball and net so he can start working on his shot in the basement, but that's the kind of challenge hockey is facing. Declining enrollment in hockey is based on demographics, high cost, but also skittish mothers who don't want their kid put in that environment.
Besides, despite what the toughness crowd says, the easiest thing to teach is how to hit and take a hit. That can happen much later in the progression, once the players have a better grasp of fundamentals. It wouldn't be a bad idea also that it only be in higher level leagues, and not recreational leagues, but that battle can be waged later. For now, moms and dads can rest easier knowing that their eleven-year olds will be much safer playing the game they love.