hockey helmet

Skaters without a CSA-approved helmet won't be allowed on the ice, say city officials. (CBC)

Anyone skating at municipally-run rinks in Moncton will have to wear a helmet, starting in the new year.

Up until now, only children under the age of 12 have been required to wear a helmet.

But the city's aim is to be proactive and help prevent head injuries, said Jocelyn Cohoon, director of leisure services.

Under the new policy, all skaters must wear a Canadian Standards Association (CSA)-approved helmet, effective Jan. 1, she said.

"That is a hockey helmet. You don't require the face mask but the basic helmet. Ski helmets actually are also qualify so if you're an avid skier you can transpose that helmet to the ice surface," said Cohoon.

"But bicycle helmets are not protective enough on the ice because they are not designed to prevent the impact of backward falls."

Won't be allowed on ice without one

Citizen Roger Robichaud is not impressed.

"I don't like it," he said during a recent adult skate at the Moncton 4 Plex.

"Probably for the kids it's the best, but when you're an adult I find it's your own choice, just like the bike, I won't wear a helmet on the bike, so it's ridiculous to me."

The new rule is not a bylaw, so there won't be any fine for not wearing a helmet, said Cohoon.

Skaters without a proper helmet will not be allowed on the ice, however, she said.

"It is a policy and rule and regulation of the facility," she said.

The policy does not apply to Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team personnel during bookings made by the teams.

The only other exceptions will be for figure skaters, who are registered with Skate Canada and after successfully completing the Can Skate program, as well as figure skating competitors during sanctioned competitions, which is supported by Skate Canada, Skate New Brunswick and Mariposa Skating Club in Moncton.

Cohoon says she hopes it eventually becomes a habit for people to wear a helmet.

Robichaud, however, says he'll think twice about going to the 4 Plex again once the rules change.