Are Neck Guards Mandatory in the NHL?
As of now, neck guards are not a compulsion in the NHL. However, the league may impose a rule for the players to wear neck protective kits in the future.
However, the NHL is not a lone league that has not made neckguards compulsory for its players. The American Hockey League (AHL) also has not brought any neck protective rules for the athletes.
Gary Bettman, the NHL commissioner said on November 1 that the NHL and its Players Association would find options for neck protective kits.
Neck guards are protective kits worn by players of different sports to prevent neck injuries. The neck guards are more prevalent in skating games such as bandy, rinkball, and ringette in addition to ice hockey.
Helmets, goalie masks, and eye-protective visors have become a must-wear protective gear for NHL players. The NHL made helmets compulsory in 1979.
Visors became mandatory in the NHL in 2013.
Neck guard came into light in 1975 in Canada after the Royal York Royals' netminder Kim Crouch suffered a severe neck injury in a match against the Markham Waxers.
Kim Crouch's father, Ed Crouch, prepared a prototype of the neck guard to help Kim return to the games. Eventually, the guard was widely adopted by ice hockey athletes.
Neck guards have become a matter of discussion in recent days after the heart-breaking passing away of American hockey player Adam Johnson.
On October 28, Johnson suffered a severe neck injury from a skate blade during a match between Nottingham Panthers and Sheffield Steelers in England.
Following the freak accident, the match was immediately suspended. On Sunday, the Panthers confirmed that Johnson was no more.
Adam made his NHL debut with the Pittsburgh Penguins in March 2019. He previously played for the American Hockey League (AHL)'s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.