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Evergreen Equipment Safety Reminders for All Participants

By Aaron Wilbur, The Coaches Site, 12/14/23, 10:15AM EST


Mandatory gear exists to keep players, coaches safe

Hockey parents want their child to be safe when they are on the ice having fun, and know the amount of equipment that comes with participating in the sport.

Unfortunately, there can be a tragic incident that reminds us all how important it is wear all of the proper equipment while playing our great game. These can serve as a valuable message to all hockey participants about the importance of wearing the mandated equipment.

Each piece of equipment plays a role in helping to protect a specific area of the body, which is why it’s vital to have gear that fits properly now, not something that your child will grow into. It should have a snug (not tight) fit and not shift when in motion. If gear is too large it will shift around on the body, restricting movement on the ice and not fully protect the body as it’s supposed to.

While injuries can be a part of any physical activity for participants of any age, wearing the required equipment in the correct manner can reduce your risk for getting hurt. Equipment like neck guards and face masks can be unique to hockey. For goalies, the Throat Protector, sometimes known as the ‘floppy’, ‘dangler’ or ‘billy goat’, must be fastened at all times.

“Let’s make sure people are wearing them properly. Let’s make sure coaches and trainers are making sure they are being worn at practice, not just games. It’s a reminder on why we do have equipment – it’s a collision sport,” said Ian Taylor on Breakaway, the Minor Hockey Podcast.

These safety measures serve as evergreen reminders, and they aren’t limited to just the players. Any on-ice participant is required to wear a fastened helmet, including the coaching staff. All it takes is one slip and fall to cause a serious accident, and it may not even be your own fault. A tumbling skater may crash into an unsuspecting participant and cause them to hit the ice.

We may approach situations thinking ‘this happens to other people, it could never happen to me’. Until it does. 

“Nobody cares about the statistics until it happens to you or your kid,” said Aaron Wilbur, co-host of the podcast.

These incidents remind us why these equipment regulations exist in the first place and why they are there to protect players and create the safest environment possible. While the use of helmets didn’t always exist in hockey, wearing them as part of the mandatory gear wouldn’t even be questioned today.

On-ice Officials have the ability to issue penalties to teams or players who refuse to follow equipment safety measures. 

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