The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

The student news site of Edwardsville High School

Tiger Times

Protective Measures for Hockey are on Thin Ice

TW: Mention of death via neck injury
Jackson+Ruf+on+sidelines+wearing+a+neck+guard+during+the+Jan.+5+game.
Julia Towell
Jackson Ruf on sidelines wearing a neck guard during the Jan. 5 game.

After a devastating death in the European hockey league, many are left wondering: why weren’t neck guards required?

During a professional game on Oct. 28, forward Adam Johnson of the Nottingham Panthers fell as the other team’s player slid forward. This caused Johnson’s neck to collide with his skate which sliced his jugular and resulted in him bleeding out on the ice, even though medical medical professionals were present.

This event has sparked renewed interest in protective equipment and controversy surrounding the fact that they are not required for players, especially youth players.

Many players think neck guards are uncomfortable and cite that as the reason for them not wearing one, but others acknowledge that that is a small price to pay when it comes to safety.

“You can say it would never happen to you, but I guarantee anybody who’s ever been cut said the same thing before going on the ice,” senior goalie Kai Vetter said.

High school teams are in an interesting situation where they can require their players to wear protective gear like neck guards, but many don’t.

After the freak accident, it seems like that will change. “My guess is next year it will be mandatory for youth players,” coach Jason Walker said. “They’re going to have to get used to it.”

But will they?

“I’m used to it and I don’t notice it anymore,” junior defenseman Reid Poettker said. “I actually cut my neck, it wasn’t that bad, but that made me want to wear it.”

With the overseas incident accelerating protective gear requirements, it also accelerated their production. Washington Capitals’ TJ Oshie, a former Blues player, founded the brand Warroad, that focuses on player safety, in 2018, and the brand has made recent headlines when it comes to protective gear.

They have various base layers that are cut resistant, many including neck and wrist guards.

“They cost less than the actual neck guards themself, so I don’t know why one wouldn’t just buy it because you never know,” Vetter said.

But that expense is not always allotted for.

“It’s an expensive sport to begin with, so I don’t know why players and parents wouldn’t include protective gear in their budget,” Walker said.

Another important note is that high school games don’t have medical professionals present like professional games do.

“It definitely concerns me,” Walker said. “I think at our level, it should be something that all high school coaches think about mandating for their players.”

About the Contributor
Julia Towell, A&E Editor
Julia is a senior and second-year journalism student. She is the A&E editor for The Claw and Tiger Times Online. Julia is an Aquarius who absolutely despises Matthew McConaughey. On Friday nights you won’t see her at a football game on her own free will, but you will catch her snuggled in bed with her cat, reading. Julia is actively involved in Drama Club and Bel Canto. Outside of school she loves to read, cuddle her wonderful little baby boy and gremlin cats, garden, sleep, and watch romcoms.