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Hockey league adopts full checking

High school hockey in the area will change to a full-checking format following a vote Monday by the Rogue Valley Youth Hockey Association Board of Directors, according to a release.

The RVYHA operates the five-team Southern Oregon High School Hockey League, and it approved the introduction of checking into varsity league games beginning in the 2007-08 season.

Proponents sought to get the four-year-old league on the same level as clubs in Eugene and Portland, which allow checking. Opponents worried that inexperienced players learning to skate and handle a hockey stick could be vulnerable to injury.

Full checking will be instituted on a trial basis and would have to be renewed the following season.

Checking could also be revoked during the season if significant problems arise, according to the release, but the board expects players, coaches and referees to work together to ensure a successful transition.

The board also adopted related measures, including the initiation of a non-check junior varsity program for less experienced players or players not wanting to play full-check rules.

The preseason will be expanded to include training on checking for existing and new players and provide experience in advance of the regular season about full-check rules and techniques, both giving and taking.

There also will be educational clinics in the summer and fall.

The Southern Oregon teams are North Medford, South Medford, Crater, Ashland and Klamath Falls.