Handshake exchange to take place before minor hockey games: Hockey New Brunswick

news-update

The handshake exchange that usually happens after a minor hockey game will now take place before the game, according to Hockey New Brunswick.

In a memo sent out to coaches and associations across the province’s minor hockey league, the chair of the minor council says the change is “to prevent major incidents like the one that has occurred recently in minor hockey.”

Luc Martin wouldn’t specify which incident led to the change, but told CTV News it mostly stems from the number of suspensions that have happened so far this season.

“With only two minutes left in the game, we have 107 suspensions issued this year,” said Martin. “Plus the incidents after the game, when the game is finished, we’ve got 25 suspensions this year.”

He says everyone who attended a recent minor hockey council meeting voted unanimously to implement the change.

“We’re not the only level to do this. If you look at New Brunswick Central Midget Hockey League … they do the handshake before the game for the last 10 years,” said Martin. “If you look around the country … we know the Ontario Minor hockey is doing the handshake before the game also there.”

Martin says the council understands not everyone will be on board with the decision – but that something had to be done about the increase in suspensions.

“We don’t just want to put a Band-Aid on the problem, we want to resolve the problem,” he said.

The council is asking for support from coaches and associations to enforce the change.

(With files from CTV Atlantic's Laura Brown)