Bettman: Banning hits to head would end body checking
Gary Bettman believes outlawing all head contact would bring about the decline of hitting as a whole.
The NHL commissioner insisted as much while testifying before a subcommittee on sports-related concussions on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Wednesday.
“There would be no more body checking in the game,” Bettman said when asked about the possibility of implementing a more strict rule governing hits to the head, according to The Canadian Press.
The commissioner's reasoning was that larger players would be penalized for unavoidable headshots on smaller players in the normal course of play.
Bettman pointed to Rule 48, which bans hits on which the head is the main point of contact, and said he doesn't believe the league can go beyond that to reduce head contact.
The commissioner also reiterated his long-held stance that there isn't sufficient evidence to link hockey concussions and CTE, a brain condition associated with repeated blows to the head.
"I don’t believe there has been, based on everything I’ve been told - and if anybody has information to the contrary, we’d be happy to hear it - other than some anecdotal evidence, there has not been that conclusive link," Bettman said.
The NFL affirmed a link between CTE and playing football in 2016.