The non-checking is house and I believe 'select' teams in the GTA are also affected (we don't have select teams in the Ottawa area).
I really like what USA hockey did. They lowered the age for contact hockey to Atom and increased the age of checking to Bantam at both house and competitive levels. That way the kids learn the skills (tracking, angling, pinning) rather than just trying to kill each other out on the ice.
PS- if you're a hockey parent you should watch the Brian Burke video near the bottom of the page.
I Like the US System by a long shot. My argument has always been, and I told this to the NMHA reps when my son was playing....
What will happen is these Select or if I may "Rich Kids" will get all the skills they need to make contact and body check throughout their development, but regular kids who come up through House League will never get used to it until one day....god forbid, thier Hockey Skills surpass that of the Elite crowd and suddenly find themselves playing with kids who have multi-years of development under the Checking system. Well News flash... Can anyone take a wild "out of the box" guess as too what could happen?
Now I ask you, Does that sound like something parents really want to see thier kids exposed too...or would one rather have thier child learn from the time they can figure out what an Off Side is?
My Kids was always at least 50 lbs heavier than other kids in his divisions growing up. He was a big lad what can I say. He never saw contact until one day he got called up to a House "A" team who was playing in a tournament in Metcalf. Well fortunate for me, because he was a big kid he could handle the hits, although he would fall down every single time because he didn't know how to brace for the hit....but every frigging kid on the other teams were taking runs at him because of his size. Thank god he never got hurt and when he did finally make it to a full contact team "Bantam" I think..... He was the one laying out the hits when kids would try to run him. He would stand there, watch them coming at him...then at the last second drop his shoulder into them... 99% of the time the other kid was laying on his back looking up at the ceiling.
But he would still fallover because once again, never had to learn how to brace for open ice hits.
Now...what if your guy is a little feller at ages 12 - 15. There are some big size differences in that age group.
To me, it's all about the skills that should be taught, not who the frig can afford the $1,500 - 3,000 Team budget.
And may I add, Kid superstars at age 8, 9 or 10 are not usually the superstars when they reach 14, 15 or 16.
So why is it those youngsters would benefit from something, they may in fact never need later in life when the HouseLeaguers develop and pass them in the Skills department. Whereas the House Leagueres at that young age will in fact always be behind the curve after year 1.