Hockey study draws amateur criticism

Some university folk over in Toronto published an earth-shattering study that every hockey player, parent and coach should take to heart, wrote commentator Jeff Dertinger in the Simcoe Reformer March 13. Body contact is more dangerous than non-body contact.

So for now let’s just focus on the study, which involved three countries (Canada, Finland and the US) and was led by the fine folks at York University, wrote Dertinger. "Nineteen of the 20 studies we looked at this time showed an increased risk of injuries when bodychecking was permitted and some of these injuries were very serious," said Alison Macpherson, a professor in the School of Kinesiology & Health Science in York’s Faculty of Health.

We don’t need to conduct a three-country study to know these things, Dertinger wrote. So the question begs: why did a respected Canadian university even bother? Because there’s currently a hot debate surrounding bodychecking in youth hockey and studies like this provide ammunition for one side of that debate.

Don’t misunderstand: That debate is certainly valid. Nobody wants to see children hurt – sometimes seriously hurt – just because they wanted to play a game with their friends. Parents are more protective than ever of their offspring and they have every right to be.

But this latest study doesn’t prove anything we didn’t already know, argued Dertinger. Here’s a real study for you (I don’t have a PhD or master’s degree from York, so I don’t know if it’s doable or not): Study two sets of 13-year-olds – as wide-ranging and inclusive as possible. The first set will be those playing in a body-contact league for the first time. The second set will be players who began body-contact hockey four years earlier. Now tell us which group had fewer major injuries.

Until that particular study is done, stop wasting our time and tax dollars with these useless findings.

  • Columnist Gary Loewen took a similar tack in The Toronto Sun March 13 asking, “If you get bodychecked in a country other than Canada, the US or Finland, will you be safe?”

New ombudsman in demand

Even before Toronto’s first ombudsman officially opens her door next month to probe complaints about city services – and with no published phone number yet – more than 100 calls have poured in from the public, wrote The Globe and Mail March 13.

With extensive experience as an ombudsman – she was the first in that role for York University and also served as interim ombudsman of Ontario – Fiona Crean knows the office will be judged on results.

  • "I have nothing to say about political decision-making," Fiona Crean said in a speech yesterday at Ryerson University, wrote the Toronto Star March 13. "While it is very important for me as ombudsman for the city to deal with individual complaints, all of which could be perfectly serious, my bias is to look at the systemic issues, because that is what will change for the greater number of people over time." Crean, who has worked at York University and Queen’s Park, started in November.

Osgoode grad takes on new responsibility

After five years as regional senior justice of the Superior Court of Justice for the Ontario Northeast Region, Justice John Poupore (LLB ’69) will return to the bench as sitting judge of the court, wrote the Sudbury Star March 13 in a story announcing his successor.

Poupore received a bachelor of laws degree from York’s Osgoode Hall Law School in 1969. He was called to the bar in 1971 and was appointed to the Superior Court of Justice in 1995.

On air

  • Doug Crawford, psychology professor and Canada Research Chair in York’s Faculty of Health and a researcher at York’s Centre for Vision Research, spoke about recent cuts in federal funding for research on Radio Canada International March 12.
  • Bernie Wolf, economist in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about automakers’ demands for government assistance on CTV Newsnet March 12.