Minor hockey coaches in Calgary now have to wear helmets on the ice during practices after a coach slipped and suffered a brain hemorrhage.

Goalie coach Troy Williams fell while skating backwards last winter at his son's hockey practice.

"He was clearing pucks from behind the net and he was skating backwards and just the way he shot the puck, he just went straight back," recalled his wife Tracy on Tuesday.

Troy Williams fractured his skull and suffered a brain hemorrhage, a potentially fatal injury. He recovered, but still suffers headaches.

His wife lobbied Hockey Calgary for a safety rule that states everyone on the ice at a practice, including coaches, trainers and volunteers, must wear a helmet.

The rule came into effect on Monday.

Coaches who refuse face suspension

Perry Cavanaugh, president of Hockey Calgary, said coaches will be suspended if they don't comply.

"We've got some work to do on that 10 per cent and we'll work with those guys and get them over the hump," he told CBC News.

"You know it wasn't that long ago that kids didn't wear helmets in this game and there was an awful lot of resistance in those days, but just think about it: would you send your kid on the ice today without a helmet on?"

Hockey Calgary is the first minor hockey jurisdiction in Alberta to implement such a regulation.

"We recognize that there's many talented coaches out there that certainly are capable of skating, that are very good skaters but it's the unseen incident, the skater from behind, the pucks that are flying out there after slapshots, the inadvertent contact with the stick et cetera that we're trying to mitigate," said Cavanaugh.

Hockey Canada officials say about half of minor hockey associations across Canada require helmets for coaches, but there's no national policy yet.

Tracy Williams knows that people who don't like this rule might blame her for it but she said she's fine with it: "I'm happy that you're going to be safe and that it's never going to happen to another family."