November 3, 2023
Statement from Massachusetts Hockey regarding use of Neck Laceration Protection
Massachusetts Hockey joins the rest of the hockey community grieving the loss of Adam Johnson in a tragic on-ice accident this past weekend. Combined with the tragedy suffered in Connecticut last season with the loss of Teddy Balkind, there is a renewed urgency to explore player safety, specifically related to neck laceration protection.
Player safety is of the utmost importance to Massachusetts Hockey and we strive to ensure that we do our best to offer a safe, enjoyable experience for our players. As an affiliate of USA Hockey, we traditionally rely on our national governing body to provide guidance and best practices as they relate to the game. Consistent with USA Hockey guidance, neck protection is recommended but not mandated at this time.
To be clear, Massachusetts Hockey strongly encourages the use of neck protection for all players. There are numerous pieces of equipment available in the marketplace that offer laceration protection not just to the neck area, but also to the wrists and legs. We encourage parents and players to identify the pieces of equipment that they are most comfortable with and that they believe is best for their player.
Massachusetts Hockey will continue to work with USA Hockey and the associated safety committee(s) that are tasked with player safety. Should additional research and studies indicate the necessity of a mandate for neck laceration protection, we will fully support the decision.