Checking is a popular defensive technique in ice hockey. This move is designed to disrupt an opponent’s possession of the puck. In fact, the main goal is to separate the player from the puck and get it back to your side. Checking is usually not considered a penalty and is a permanent staple in the NHL and other ice hockey leagues. While checking is an exciting technique in men’s hockey, it also happens in girl’s and women’s ice hockey as well.

To Check or Not to Check

Over the years, many fans and sportswriters have debated over checking in women’s hockey. In fact, USA Hockey Rules formally prohibits body-checking in women’s hockey matches across the country. This rule, however, is very loose and rarely enforced, since contact between female players happens all the time on the ice. With this in mind, many fans and sportswriters believe that if women were technically allowed to hit each other on the ice, there would be fewer injuries. The reasoning behind this is:

  • Women’s hockey already concentrates more on speed and finesse.
  • Women are allowed to legally check in most scenarios, but it cannot be malicious in nature and may result in penalties.
  • Women’s ice hockey players tend to concentrate more on getting the puck rather than slamming each other on the ice.
  • If women players are taught how to hit and defend properly, they can also learn how to take hits on the ice as well.

Women’s Checking in the NCAA

Women’s checking also happens in the NCAA. With no formal professional league for women players, most fans rely on NCAA college matches and the Winter Olympics to enjoy women’s hockey. However, there tends to be more injuries in NCAA women’s hockey matches. In fact, the NCAA did a seven-year review of women’s hockey injuries in the NCAA back in 2010. The Association found that more injuries were caused by slips, falls and common ice hockey mistakes rather than checking. With this in mind, it will be up to the NCAA and USA Hockey to determine if checking will be “officially” allowed in women’s hockey in the future.

Here are some women’s checking videos from various games and tournaments:

(Legal and illegal body checking videos)

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