Nova Scotia

Full-face protection now the rule for 2 levels of N.S. junior hockey

Hockey Nova Scotia has announced a rule change that makes full-face shields mandatory for Junior B and Junior C players.

Rule change will take effect for the upcoming season

A junior B hockey player for the Strait Pirates wears a full-face shield. The face guards are now mandatory in Nova junior B and junior C hockey. (Submitted by Adam Rodgers)

Hockey Nova Scotia has announced a rule change that makes full-face shields mandatory for junior B and junior C players.

The rule will take effect for the upcoming season.

Hockey Canada wants to make full-face shields mandatory in all junior B and junior C leagues across the country by August 2020.

Amy Walsh, executive director of Hockey Nova Scotia, said research conducted by Hockey Canada between 2014-18 found players wearing only a visor were 20 times more likely to get injured than those wearing a full-face shield.

"Safety is obviously paramount, so it just made a lot of sense for us to move forward a year before it becomes mandated," said Walsh.

Walsh said Hockey Nova Scotia proposed the rule change to the junior B-level Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League and the junior-C level Nova Scotia Regional Junior Hockey League. They unanimously supported the change.

Rob O'Hanley, president of the NSJHL, supports the rule change. He believes it reflects a safer direction for hockey and will help keep players in the game.

Support not unanimous

"We've had … some kids with serious eye injuries," he said. "We've had some kids that have come out of the game because of it. So, I think it's a positive move and I think it's just following the trend with hockey."

But some team officials don't agree with the change.

Adam Rodgers, president of the Strait Pirates Hockey Club of the NSJHL, believes the style of play is going to change for the worse.

"It's going to move it from a rougher, tougher style, where there's some fights, to a chippy stick-work style," said Rodgers. "I would think the league overall is going to see a change in style."

Hockey Canada is offering a $1,000 incentive for teams to purchase full-face shields if they adopt the rule early.


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