Bettman — Can’t ban all hits to head in hockey

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OTTAWA, Ontario — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman hit back Wednesday at the notion of banning any kind of head contact in hockey, telling a Canadian parliamentary panel that such a rule would be impossible to enforce and would lead to the end of hitting.

The league has faced calls to penalize any head contact in the hope of eliminating potentially debilitating concussions. Those calling for a strict rule include Ken Dryden, the former Montreal Canadiens goalie and cabinet minister in Paul Martin‘s Liberal government.

In sometimes combative testimony, Bettman said such a rule at the NHL level would mean larger players would be penalized when they inevitably land blows on smaller players’ heads in the normal course of play. Ultimately “there would be no more body checking,” something players and fans think is an “exciting, appealing, entertaining” and important part of the game.

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