12 February 2008

Why Hasn't Someone Tried This Before

If you've watched sports highlights clips since Sunday night, you've probably caught a replay of a rather gruesome event that happened on the ice during a Buffalo Sabres v Florida Panthers NHL game.

Due to an excellent medical staff at the arena and hospital, Richard Zednick should be fine with no permanent damage, despite the five units of blood that flowed out of his neck onto the ice.

This kind of event is rare, but not unheard of in hockey. Pro hockey players make sure their skates are scarily sharp, and it is a contact sport, so bodies do fly from time to time.

Wouldn't a small bit of kevlar fabric as part of the uniform make a reasonable preventive measure? These collars are cheap, lightweight, and probably wouldn't effect the players' freedom of movement or comfort, I wouldn't be surprised if some players might choose to add something like that to their own kit, whether it is mandated or not.

It took a long time for Hockey players to decide helmets made sense, and even goalies used to skate without masks way back when, so the culture of the game might make it hard to change, and given the rarity of these events probably won't matter.

But turtlenecks are cool, and kevlar turtlenecks that provide protection from knifings are even better.


bill said...

Youth hockey requires a neck guard for just this reason. Check out the Edina Hockey Guidebook (pdf). Page 27 lists the equipment and page 28 is the order for dressing -- throat protector is #11.

Ballistic reinforced nylon material" sounds like the generic name for kevlar. Or go with woven aramid cut resistant fibers

XWL said...

Your response would suggest that this sort of protection is something these players grow up with and then remove as they get older, bigger and stronger.

That seems kind of backwards (but not entirely surprising).

Chalk it up to the culture amongst hockey players (what a bunch of hosers), then.

bill said...

I don't know how long the neck guards have been mandatory. Certainly not in the late 70s, early 80s, when I was around kids playing hockey. First job, as a government employee, was as a warming house attendant for outdoor rinks. Taught myself how to ice skate and made more than twice the minimum wage!

I must have seen the guards watching college hockey, though a quick search couldn't confirm if it was required.

On the one hand, it's such a freak accident -- 2x in 20 years -- that it doesn't seem to warrant any extra safety measure on the professional level. On the other hand, the protection is so inexpensive and not that intrusive, why not wear it?

bill said...


I was required to wear a neckguard here in the US playing travel hockey all the way through HS (USA hockey rules I believe). H.S./club-collecge (NCAA) rules, however, did NOT require players to wear neckguards.