Nova Scotia

N.S. minor hockey prepares for headshot ban

Minor hockey officials in Nova Scotia welcomed a move to take headshots out of the sport Monday.

Minor hockey officials in Nova Scotia welcomed a move to take headshots out of the sport.

Hockey Canada delegates voted on Saturday to take a zero-tolerance approach  to shots to the head, face or neck, be it accidental or intentional.

"Any contact with the head of an opposing player will result in a head-contact penalty," Darren Cossar of Hockey Nova Scotia said Monday. 

He said an accidental headshot will get a two-minute penalty.

"If it was termed intentional, maybe not causing an injury, it would be a four-minute penalty. If it was intentional and did cause an injury or was of a more significant nature, it would be a five-minute penalty and a game misconduct," Cossar added.

Nova Scotian hockey hero Sidney Crosby sat out much of the NHL season after suffering a concussion in January. That sparked renewed interest in removing headshots from the game at different levels to prevent such injuries.

Doctors support safety move

Kevin Gordon, a Halifax doctor specializing in concussions, welcomed the move.

"Some concussions, for a few individuals, can be life altering," he said.

"This is going to deal with a small proportion of the concussions that we're getting out there. It's not going to make the concussion issue go away for us but it's going to take the intentional targeting of a head out of the way."

Hockey Nova Scotia will spend the next few months educating players, coaches and the officials who will enforce the new rules that could change the way the game is played.

"What we want to do is make our players aware that regardless of intent, that if it happens they're going to responsible for their actions," said Cossar.

The headshot rules come into effect when next season begins in September.