A major discussion in the world of hockey over the past week has been the use of neck guards.
After the Western Hockey League joined Canada's other two major junior leagues in making them mandatory, the CJHL also followed suit by instituting the rule for each of its nine member leagues. The Kindersley Jr. Klippers are geared up and ready to as you can see in the title photo above from Saturday's game against Yorkton.
WestCentralOnline conducted what was a very one-sided poll on the topic. The consensus was that little harm is done by making the equipment mandatory, even though many believe a player's preference should play into the decision.
90% of respondents were in favour of the safety measure citing safety, self-protection, and a preventative nature itself. Another said it's no different than requiring pads or a helmet, and that it's a matter of something that 'does not interfere with the game but could save one’s life.
With the sweeping changes coming at the junior level, joining what's already seen in minor hockey, the only real question that remains is if senior hockey players, and even those in the pros will be wearing them.
This person sees it as a cut and dry situation.
"Regardless of age level or skill level, there is always a chance of a skate blade coming into contact with a players neck. The risk of severe injury from such an incident is too high to ignore."
NHL player T.J. Oshie made headlines by wearing a neck guard recently. Citing responsibility for his family, a good amount of senior hockey players have likely made the same decision. Even your average recreation player will likely ponder the idea of buying some extra equipment.
Other responses from the poll include:
"Under ages for sure but senior their choice."
"It's no different than requiring pads or a helmet. It should just be another piece of protective equipment. Eventually they'll get used to it. I bet no one likes a jock strap and a cup at first, but they get used to it."
"The neck is an extremely vulnerable area that is currently very exposed when playing hockey. A skate or even a puck to the throat can cause irreparable damage."
"My husband was cut on the neck that required stitches playing hockey! Dr. said he was lucky the cut wasn’t any deeper! Scary."
"Prevent any further injuries."
"Skates are sharp."
"Simple piece of equipment that can prevent injury/death."