By Stefan Kubus -
SAULT STE. MARIE - For the second consecutive year, it was the Mite eight-and-under (8U) division making waves at the annual Michigan Amateur Hockey Association summer meetings.
Just last summer, MAHA ruled that the 8U group had to play a certain number of cross-ice games, while limiting full-ice games.
At this summer’s MAHA meeting, the voters approved an amendment that basically reverses what was put in place last year; associations now have the option of playing either cross or full-ice hockey. It had been requested that the rule be voted on via ballot voting, instead of the traditional visual count with MAHA cards being raised in the air by members all at once. Forty-four of the 60 members voted in favor of the amendment, which was a proposal created by a special committee to examine the 8U situation.
The new rule reads that while 6U teams are required to participate in restricted space cross-ice and/or half-ice practices and games, 8U teams are only recommended to do the same, as suggested by USA Hockey’s American Development Model.
Eighteen proposed rule changes for MAHA were passed, while only three were not. Two of the proposals voted down were other changes to the 8U rules, and the voters also rejected an amendment about classifications at the “B” level.
A proposal to delete a rule formerly in place stating that “players or referees playing for non-rostered or outlaw teams may not participate in the MAHA in any way to play, coach, or referee” passed unanimously. The reason stated for the rule change in the official summer meeting guide said that the rule should be deleted because MAHA “does not have legal control over players, referees, and coaches.”
Another notable sanction that was passed through, after some amending was done, now restricts all youth and girls’ national championship-bound teams to only two non-U.S. citizen players in a season. This will go into effect September 1, 2013, in time for the start of the 2013-14 season.
Of the first items to be announced prior to the voting, USA Hockey is looking to gradually remove fighting from juniors in the future. The USA Hockey committee figured that if there was no fighting in college, and youth hockey is preparation for both college and juniors, why should there be fighting in juniors?
More MiHockey coverage of the MAHA summer meeting to come…