Annie, Get Your Stick: Women’s Hockey is Here to Stay

Born To Puck

Let’s clear this up at the outset: Yes, there are several key rule differences between high-level men’s and women’s hockey. Generically speaking, men’s hockey allows and incorporates body checking, whereas women’s hockey does not. Naturally, the hazy distinction between “body checking” and “body contact” provides for much on-ice debate between players and referees, but, hey, what’s a sport without constantly criticized officials?

If you’d like to analyze some of the nuances that make up the difference between body checking and body contact, James O’Brien at NBC’s Olympic Talk came up with an informative breakdown of the body contact rules:

James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins

On paper, there is a clear distinction between “playing the puck” and “playing the body.” In terms of calling penalties for illegal body contact, it’s often hard to distinguish. But then, boarding penalties in the National Hockey League (and beyond) also toe that tenuous line between penalty and…

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