Neck guards will become compulsory at all International Ice Hockey Federation events including the Olympics and the men’s and women’s world championships, the sport’s governing body has announced.
The move follows the death of Nottingham Panthers player Adam Johnson, who died on October 28th after being hit in the neck by an opposition player’s skate during a match at Sheffield’s Utilita Arena.
The English Ice Hockey Association announced within days of Johnson’s accident that neck guards will become compulsory during “all on-ice activities” from the start of 2024.
Neck guards are not yet compulsory in professional leagues including the NHL, while the IIHF is yet to announce a start date for its new ruling, given delays in procuring the required equipment.
An IIHF statement read: “The IIHF Council, on recommendation from its Medical Committee, has decided to mandate the use of a neck laceration protector, specifically designed for this purpose, at all levels of IIHF competitions.
“The exact date this mandate will go into effect for the senior categories will be determined by the supply situation. The IIHF remains in close contact with its suppliers to ensure they are able to respond to the current high demand.
“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.”
A man was subsequently arrested on suspicion of manslaughter following Johnson’s death and has been released on bail to a date in the new year pending further inquiries.