A few weeks ago, a player asked me if I felt I was more of a target for hits because I was a smaller guy on the ice. A year ago, my answer would have been yes, without a doubt. Today, I don't know. So what has changed in that year?
Honestly, nothing has changed. I don't know if I felt I was a target or not back then, or if I am now. Only once or twice did I take a hit where I felt the opponent's eyes were lit up. Considering I play in no check leagues, this shouldn't happen.
But to be honest, usually the hits I take don't bother me. I love being thrown around once in a while. I think that is part of the game. I think that I play better when there is some physicality in the game. Maybe I feel more alert, maybe I play more wreckless. I don't know.
I'll be the first person to say that I will throw hits out there because I am smaller. I know I can get away with significantly more than someone who is 100 pounds heavier than I am. Only once or twice did I do something that I felt was dirty for my league. I never hurt anyone, but afterward I felt immediate remorse each time. I've never taken a penalty for checking, but I have for boarding, and one for charging. The charging penalty I felt was a good call, but it saved a goal against, and I'd make that play every damn time. The boarding penalty was one of those "What am I doing?" moments.
So am I a target? Probably not. Some of the guys I play with think I am target. I do cause the opposition to take more penalties against me than other players (of my skill). I like to think that I'm a clean player, and as a result players play clean against me. I'm never involved in shoving post whistle, and I never talk negatively to an official who officiates my games because for the most part they do an excellent job of keeping everything in control.