International Ice Hockey Federation mandates neck guards following death of Adam Johnson

skysports adam johnson ice hockey 6342101
skysports adam johnson ice hockey 6342101

The International Ice Hockey Federation has made neck guards mandatory for all levels of competition in their tournaments, including the Olympics.

The mandate does not apply to the NHL, who are unlikely to introduce cut-proof safety requirements for players any time soon. That would require an agreement between the league and players’ union, who have already been discussing blade safety for some time.

The decision comes after the death of former Pittsburgh Penguins center Adam Johnson, who was tragically killed whilst playing for the Nottingham Panthers in the UK’s top ice hockey division.

Johnson, 29, died due to a fatal cut to his neck from a skate worn by the Sheffield Steelers’ Matt Petgrave. It was described as a ‘freak accident’ and now, the sport is taking action.

The English Ice Hockey Association has already mandated neck guards from 2024 but it doesn’t impact the Elite Ice Hockey League, as the league isn’t under their control.

The EIHL have strongly encouraged players and officials to wear them, however they are not compulsory.

“The IIHF remains in close contact with its suppliers to ensure they are able to respond to the current high demand,” the organization said.

“Until the rule officially goes into effect, the IIHF continues to strongly recommend that neck laceration protectors are worn by all players performing in an IIHF competition.”

The NHL’s vice president of hockey operations Rod Pasma said he addressed GMs last month on cut-proof equipment and players have far more options then they did a decade ago.

“In the neck, we’re getting there. We (did not have) many a month ago, but as it sits today, I think there’s up to eight companies on my desk waiting to be cleared, and of those eight there’s probably 12-14 options to wear, should they choose.”

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