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The Moncton Wildcats hope the softer gear reduces head injuries. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

A New Brunswick hockey team is switching to softer padding to try and reduce head injuries.

The Moncton Wildcats of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will play this year in softer elbow and shoulder padding, instead of the usual hard plastic.  

Jordan Landry, the team's equipment manager, hopes the new gear will cut down on head injuries.

"Most of the injuries are being caused when the shoulder is coming in contact with the jaw, which is causing the concussions and all that," he said. "They're switching into almost like a memory foam."

But Landry said player safety would also benefit from a change in attitude.

"There's no respect for the good players anymore. There's guys out there, fourth liners, that want to take the first line's head off," he said

"They want to make a big hit, they want to look good. That's what their job is, but they're hurting players in the process. I have a feeling the softer the padding, the harder they're going to hit."

The Wildcats’ cross-province rivals the Saint John Sea Dogs have ordered the softer padding too.

The Ontario Hockey League said earlier this week that all of its teams are adopting the softer padding. The QMJHL is expected to make a similar announcement

Moncton and Saint John will sport their new gear at the season opener next week.