The Newfoundland Growlers are having conversations around a mandatory neck guard policy.

In the days following the tragic on-ice death of American hockey player Adam Johnson, who suffered a fatal injury when his neck was cut by a skate during a game in England last weekend, there have been numerous calls to make the wearing of neck guards mandatory at all levels of hockey.

(Photo via NHL Public Relations)

The English Ice Hockey Association has since made the wearing of neck guards mandatory for all players. The Pittsburgh Penguins, who Johnson once played for, have now made neck guards mandatory for their players at the AHL and ECHL levels.

Growlers Head Coach, and former Penguin, Matt Cooke says those conversations are happening among staff.

He says there would be no resistance from him in any way to ensure that they are doing the best of their ability to protect one another.

Cooke explains that steps have already been taken to further protect players from potential cuts.

He says there are equipment companies out there innovating new products that are less invasive or restrictive for players to wear. The Growlers are already wearing cut-proof wrist guards and socks.

Under Hockey Canada’s playing rules:

“The wearing of a BNQ-certified throat protector is required for players registered in
minor and female hockey.

Goaltenders who wear an attachment to the mask or helmet designed to protect the throat, must still wear a BNQ-certified throat protector.

3.6 (d) If the helmet, facial protector, or throat protector of a player comes off while play is in progress, the player will replace the piece of equipment (properly fastened) or will proceed to the Players’ Bench for a substitution. If the player participates in play in any
manner without that piece of equipment, play must be stopped immediately and the player penalized under Rule 10.6 (a) – Illegal Equipment.

Note 1: In the case of a player whose neck guard has come off, officials should make every effort to alert the player to this fact and direct them off the ice. If the player does not comply, then they must be penalized.”

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