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Wickenheiser requires neck safety at 'each stage' after Johnson's demise

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The hockey world is reacting to a tragic on-ice accident and questioning what steps ought to be taken to stop it from occurring once more.

4-time Olympic gold medallist Hayley Wickenheiser is looking for mandated neck safety at “each stage in hockey” after former NHL participant Adam Johnson died from a minimize by a skate blade throughout a recreation in England on Saturday.

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Wickenheiser accomplished medical college after her girls’s hockey profession with Canada and presently works as a physician and an assistant common supervisor for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

She says not carrying safety poses far too nice a danger, even when it’s not in fashion.

“I do know it could not move the ‘cool’ issue nevertheless it’s time for obligatory neck safety at each stage in hockey. The danger is way too nice to not,” stated Wickenheiser in a put up providing her condolences to Johnson’s household on X platform, previously often known as Twitter.

Though neck guards aren’t obligatory within the NHL, the Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Main Junior Hockey League require gamers to put on neck guards. It’s additionally compulsory for Hockey Canada gamers registered in minor or girls’s hockey.

The Western Hockey League stated Monday it’s reviewing its place on obligatory neck guards following Johnson’s demise.

Johnson, a Minnesota native who performed 13 NHL video games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, was on the ice for the Elite Ice Hockey League’s Nottingham Panthers in a Problem Cup recreation towards the Sheffield Steelers when he suffered the skate minimize through the second interval.

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The English Ice Hockey Affiliation, the game’s governing physique in England and Wales, introduced Monday that neck guards will probably be obligatory throughout all ranges of English hockey efficient Dec. 31.

The affiliation famous they’ll’t apply the foundations instantly resulting from provide chain points.

“Good for them for taking motion,” stated Vancouver Canucks ahead Sam Lafferty. “Once we’re children, we put on neck guards for a motive, it’s one thing price wanting into (for the NHL).”

Lafferty, a former Penguin, assisted on Johnson’s first and solely NHL aim.

“I bear in mind it clearly … I can nonetheless see the look on his face,” Lafferty stated. “Pure elation, pure pleasure.”

A number of members of the Windfall Bruins, Boston’s American Hockey League affiliate, wore neck guards of their recreation towards the Springfield Thunderbirds on Sunday.

Lafferty stated NHL gamers may begin fascinated about carrying safety in gentle of his former teammate’s demise.

“I feel so. We began that for wrists, and the socks we put on beneath our skates, they’re cut-proof,” stated Lafferty. “I can see that being the following step.”

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Canucks defenceman Ian Cole famous the risks of the game and stated gamers are “very lucky” severe accidents don’t occur extra usually.

“There’s skates flying in all places,” he stated. “I can’t let you know what number of occasions I’ve checked out my visor and had a skate slashed proper by means of it and I had no concept a skate was close to my face.

“We’re a gradual sport to vary, possibly generally for the great, possibly generally for the dangerous. It’s not going to occur in a single day however I feel there will probably be some conversations about what we will do to stop stuff like that.”

Winnipeg Jets interim head coach Scott Arniel was a ahead for the Buffalo Sabres when his teammate, goalie Clint Malarchuk, took a skate blade to the neck on March 22, 1989.

“I used to be firsthand and I noticed this occur in a recreation myself, and it’s one of many scariest issues I’ve ever seen,” Arniel informed reporters in Winnipeg. “The place it goes subsequent, I do know in minor hockey that it’s already a rule and in junior hockey, so we’ll see.

“The league might be going to look into this they usually’ll decide transferring ahead.”

Malarchuk survived the life-threatening damage however developed post-traumatic stress dysfunction. Former Montreal Canadiens ahead Richard Zednik suffered an analogous incident in 2008.

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Boston Bruins ahead Jakub Lauko prevented a severe damage as not too long ago as final Tuesday when he took a skate blade close to his left eye after falling to the ice towards the Chicago Blackhawks.

Maple Leafs captain John Tavares stated he’s thought of using neck safety earlier than and advised it may be a subsequent step in making the sport safer.

“At one level goalies weren’t carrying helmets, and the sport has developed and continues to get safer and safer,” Tavares informed reporters in Toronto. “That’s definitely most likely a side that should proceed to be checked out additional, as one incident like that’s too many.”

Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis, who coached his sons in Connecticut earlier than taking the Montreal job, was near an analogous scenario when 16-year-old highschool participant Teddy Balkind died in Greenwich, Conn., after his neck was minimize by one other participant’s skate.

St. Louis stated he’s strongly in favour of requiring under-18 and under-20 gamers to put on neck safety, however isn’t positive we’ll see it within the NHL.

“Perhaps sure, however I don’t suppose it is going to within the NHL, however that’s my opinion,” stated St. Louis. “I’d be actually in favour of under-18 and under-20-year-olds having extra safety as a result of accidents occur, particularly having been near it two years in the past.”

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Jets centre Mark Scheifele expects there to be many conversations about elevated neck safety within the coming days, very similar to after Edmonton Oilers ahead Evander Kane sustained a extreme wrist damage resulting from a skate blade minimize final yr.

“When Evander Kane bought his wrist minimize, we clearly evaluated extra wrist protections and stuff like that,” Scheifele stated. “I’m positive there’s going to be talks about it and it’ll come right down to sort of extra of a person choice on what to do.”

The NHL and NHLPA had not made any bulletins concerning protecting neck gear as of Monday afternoon.

— With information from Nick Wells in Vancouver.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Oct. 30, 2023.

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