KVHA Requires the Use of Neck Guards for Player Safety

11-1-2023 Email from KVHA Board President, Brian Clement to KVHA Coaches and Managers:

In light of the most recent on-ice casualty of Adam Johnson following a cut to his throat by a skate blade, the second in 21 months, I feel a reminder is in order that Kensington Valley Hockey Association mandates neck guards for players during all ice times. There are no exceptions to this rule.

This is not new as KVHA mandated this several years ago. It is the duty of the current Board of Directors to reaffirm it and the duty of Coaches to enforce it. Coaches and members are notified following the annual Coach/Manager meeting, at the beginning of the season and again when it is warranted.

If you are not already doing so please start enforcing this rule with all players effective immediately. The KVHA Board is entrusting each of you to see this through for the remainder of the season.

We understand that USA Hockey only recommends wearing a neck guard. Further, we understand doing so does not eliminate the risk of injury with 100% certainty. However, we feel strongly this is a small, inexpensive piece of equipment that can help prevent injuries or tragic losses.

The most recent tragedy and enforcement of the KVHA mandate will be topics of discussion at the November 20, 2023 Board meeting. Should you wish to share input please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Brian Clement

President, Kensington Valley Hockey Association

11-4-2023 Email from USA Hockey

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. –  Player safety is the top priority of USA Hockey each and every day. With the recent tragic passing of professional hockey player Adam Johnson that involved a neck laceration from a skate blade, we have received numerous questions about neck guards.

USA Hockey is regularly engaged in research and works with equipment companies to help ensure the safest possible environment for ice hockey. Support from The USA Hockey Foundation has fostered research on neck laceration protection in order to better understand the risk of skate blade lacerations, the performance of commercially available neck guards and the quest for both better designs and material properties.

The USA Hockey Safety and Protective Equipment Committee, under the guidance of Dr. Michael J. Stuart, committee chair and chief medical and safety officer, has addressed some of the most common questions/concerns we have received below.

  • USA Hockey continues to recommend a neck laceration protector for all players that covers as much of the neck as possible, in addition to the use of cut-resistant socks, sleeves and undergarments.
  • USA Hockey has, and will continue to, evaluate all the available scientific research, consult with medical experts and work with equipment manufacturers to enhance safety.
  • USA Hockey will continue to work with the Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC) to encourage development of a uniform, modernized standard for cut-resistant protective equipment for the neck, arms and legs. HECC does not currently certify neck laceration protection or cut-resistant socks, sleeves or undergarments.
  • Cut-resistant products, including neck laceration protectors, should be evaluated according to their specific cut-resistant material (type, thickness, durability), anatomic coverage, sizing and secure fit for all ages and body types.
  • Any association, league, team, affiliate, or district may choose to require a neck laceration protector and a parent/guardian may choose to require their child to wear a neck laceration protector.

USA Hockey will continue to evaluate whether to require cut-resistant protective equipment for the neck, arms and legs and utilize the guidance of its Safety and Protective Equipment Committee and other subject matter experts in its on-going assessment. To learn more about USA Hockey player safety, click here.


Saturday, November 11, 2023

TO: USA Hockey Members

SUBJECT: Board of Directors Action

At its meeting today, the USA Hockey Board of Directors unanimously voted to request the USA Hockey Safety and Protective Equipment Committee begin the process of recommending potential rule changes regarding neck laceration protection. The intention of this effort is to advance solutions that best serve all of our members.

Any potential rule change proposal(s) could be addressed as early as USA Hockey’s Winter Meeting in January.

USA Hockey continues to recommend that all players wear a neck laceration protector that covers as much of the neck area as possible, in addition to cut-resistant socks, sleeves or undergarments.