Former NHL Player, Park Resident Says He's Against Youth Hockey Rule Proposal
Shjon Podein said he thinks young players should be taught how to check.
Shjon Podein — who played 10 seasons in the National Hockey League and now calls St. Louis Park home — told St. Louis Park Patch that he is against a proposal in youth hockey that would change the checking age from 11 to 13.
However, Podein said he thinks young players should be taught how to check so they learn proper techniques, which he thinks would make the game safer.
"I understand USA Hockey's idea," Podein said. "But to be honest, I'd like to see us introduce these kids to proper checking at an even younger age."
Podein said he would be comfortable with kids in the under-8 age group being allowed to check. The former NHL player has a 7-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy who both play hockey.
"I think we need to go back to teaching (checking) properly," Podein added.
Podein said this means understanding that checking is not about hitting someone as hard as you can, but rather focusing on taking the puck from an opponent.
"The idea isn't to go and run someone over or intimidate someone," he said.
Podein certainly knows a thing or two about proper technique. He was a respected, defensive-minded forward who won a Stanley Cup in 2001 with the Colorado Avalanche. Today, he lives in St. Louis Park with his wife, who grew up in the city (Podein was raised in Rochester, Minn., before settling down in St. Louis Park). Podein is active in local youth hockey, both by getting his young ones to games and practices, and in organizing summer programs for other St. Louis Park youth hockey players the last few years.