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Post-game handshakes are back in Newfoundland and Labrador amateur hockey

Hockey stick and puck Hockey stick and puck - Getty Images

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Hockey players in Newfoundland and Labrador are once again allowed to line up and shake hands after their games.

Hockey NL, the governing body for amateur hockey in the province, announced Thursday that it had reversed a controversial decision to the custom because it sometimes led to altercations.

The association said its about-face came after it evaluated the impact of the ban, and the discussions it sparked.

“Some of the communication has been constructive, generating good discussion and debate about the issue and of the challenge with post-game altercations,” said a post on the association’s website Thursday.

“We would remind members that associations, leagues, tournament hosts, and officials have the discretion to prohibit the post-game handshake when required.”

Hockey NL introduced the ban in a memo dated Dec. 20. It said “issues” with the handshakes had led to suspensions for some players and coaches.

The move raised eyebrows across the country, and drew criticism from some parents, coaches and players. Some teams in western Newfoundland defied the ban and shook hands anyway at the end of their games earlier this month.

The association had revised its stance slightly, saying handshakes could occur at the beginning of games and the post-game ban would only apply to teams with male players between the ages of nine and 17. Officials were also told they could allow post-game stick salutes, a Jan. 5 post on Hockey NL’s website said.

Thursday's post acknowledged the ban prompted "considerable conversation."

"Hockey NL will continue to monitor the process and look for ways to improve the safety of all members of our programming," it said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2024.