New Brunswick

Moncton plans mandatory helmet rule for all skaters

Moncton is preparing to impose a mandatory helmet policy on all skaters using the city's indoor rinks starting on Jan. 1.

Skaters will be forced to wear helmets on indoor rinks starting on Jan. 1, 2014

Moncton will require all skaters using the city's indoor rinks to wear helmets on Jan. 1. (Ashley Burke/CBC)

Moncton is preparing to impose a mandatory helmet policy on skaters of all ages using the city’s indoor rinks starting on Jan. 1, 2014.

The city plans to start advertising the new rule in the fall and bring it into force in the new year.

Jocelyn Cohoon, the director of leisure services in Moncton, said the helmet rule is important to ensure skaters are safe when they are using the city’s rinks.

"We really feel it’s important these days to consider safety. We have a lot of seniors skating, people are becoming more and more aware of concussions and head injuries," Cohoon said.

"So we really feel it's our place to be proactive and provide a safer place as possible for our community members to skate."

The city already requires children under the age of 12 to wear helmets when they step onto the ice in Moncton.

Now, Cohoon said she hopes to see everybody, including seniors, parents and coaches, wear helmets when they get on the ice.

"We also have what we feel are accidents waiting to happen, a lot of parents jumping down on the ice in high heals and slippery boots to take pictures of their kids after a tournament that sort of thing," she said.

Cohoon said helmets will be made available at the rinks for those who don't own one or left it at home.

The city official said the only exceptions will be for some coaches or officials from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League teams when they are playing in Moncton and figure skaters.

"Figure skating, by nature of the sport, we're not going to make those young ladies and men wear helmets. It's just not conducive to the sport," Cohoon said.

She said the city expects some complaints about the new rule once it comes into place but she hopes other communities will follow Moncton's move to enforce similar rules.

Other Canadian cities have helmet policies aimed at protecting skaters.

Ottawa started requiring helmets for all skaters under 10 years old and inexperienced skaters of all ages in 2012.