– Based on visual observation, it seems more and more that the development has even gone in the direction where the players leave the neck protection more often. In general, it has been treated quite indifferently.
– They are still not precise enough in these matters. Not the players and not any actor around hockey.
Sports expert Top Nättinen is concerned about the general attitude towards the use of neck and cut guards in hockey rinks. Also the head coach of the Lions Jukka Jalonen took from the beginning of the week at the press conference of the national team.
The striker who represented the English Nottingham Panthers Adam Johnson died tragically on Saturday night when an opponent’s skate hit the neck of the American who played 13 NHL games in a collision.
The case has once again started a discussion in Finland as well about what protection the neck and wrists need.
There have been near-miss situations in Finland this season as well. For example, Tapparan Petteri Puhakka got a cut on the neck against the Jukurei from the opponent’s skate.
– I got a skate in the neck, at the base of the ear. It kind of stopped me. It was a small trick, which we survived with a fright, Puhakka, 22, said.
In the rule book of the International Ice Hockey Federation IIHF, wearing a neck protector is still not mandatory, but it has been a requirement in the Ice Hockey Federation’s regulations for more than 25 years. Even in the SM league, the neck must be protected according to the rules.
On Wednesday, Urheilu monitored how well the neck guards were used in the SM league match between Tappara and Luko. The neck protectors were in use in many cases, but in some the protection hung quite low, and therefore did not protect properly.
Lock Jami Krannila23, admitted after the match that he played for many years without a neck brace.
On Wednesday, Krannila was wearing a neck protector, but before this season he last used a neck protector in B-juniors. So six years ago.
– A bit stupid of you. We think that it is more comfortable to play when there is nothing bothering the neck, Krannila stated.
Does the neck guard bother you?
– It’s not a problem once you get used to it.
– Previously, I hid the protection, but after that happened, I have the protection properly, Krannila stated.
Krannila and Tapparan Petteri Puhakka agreed that their teammates wear neck protection. After last weekend’s tragic news, more attention is also being paid to wearing protection.
– Everyone focuses on it and puts it properly in place, Puhakka said.
– If even one life can be saved with the protection, then good, Krannila summed up.
Is the rule sufficiently enforced?
Of course, the players have their own responsibility, but according to ‘s expert Nättinen, the rule should also be monitored more closely.
– It is amazing that it is mandatory in the rules, but it is not monitored. I believe that individuals will certainly become aware of this tragic event, but there are still people who drive without seat belts.
– During my own career, I saw maybe one or two players in training who used a neck protector. I myself didn’t use it in training, but I did in games.
The referee boss of the SM league Jyri Rönn assured In an interview with Iltalehti, that the judges don’t overlook the lack of protection. The team is cautioned for the first situation, and a two-minute team penalty is awarded for the second missing piece of equipment.
– When deficiencies are seen, then we act. I’ve seen this season as well when the judges point out that the neck protector is on the neck.
Rönn holds the clubs primarily responsible for the use of shelters, but Nättinen emphasizes that the situation can be resolved with the rules.
– It doesn’t help if a CEO or guardian tries to talk to the players. In the SM league, the neck protection must be made as mandatory as the helmet, and then the referees monitor it. Every time you enter the rink without a neck protector, there is a penalty.
The number of wrist guards has increased
In addition to neck guards, the use of wrist cut guards has also increased in recent years, as in recent years Finnish players Walter Merelä, Saku Vesterinen and Jenni Hiirikoski have suffered serious wrist injuries from skate cuts. Vesterinen, who represented KooKoo, even had to end his career.
There are also numerous similar examples from the NHL in recent years, the most famous being the Edmonton forward Evander Kane injury.
– Quite a few players had wrist guards, both their own and opponents. Now that I have talked with the players and followed the situation, their number has increased, certainly not least because of these incidents, Nättinen recalls his own playing years.
It is not a matter of a lack of options, as there are many options on the market today to protect the neck, wrists, and Achilles tendons from cuts.
of The Athletic in the interview have been developing various hockey cut protection equipment for over 10 years Greg MacNeil mourned by Adam Johnson fate precisely for the reason that it was completely preventable, if the attitudes towards the use of protection were different.
– If I felt that this was a stupid and unattainable thing, I would throw the gloves on the counter and go fly fishing for a few days.
– But this is not. We can prevent skate cut injuries in hockey forever. Adam’s death really didn’t have to happen.