UA-74833448-1 Full Visor Mandatory 2017-18 Season –

Full Visor Mandatory 2017-18 Season

In a move that is more focused on safety and protecting the players from injury BC Hockey announced that effective the 2017-18 season all players playing Junior B in the Province are required to wear a full face shield or mask.

This has been an ongoing debate for years and the main issue is not only safety, but the cost of rising insurance for the leagues or provincial governing bodies in charge – ie: BC Hockey.

The change will have an effect on 42 teams across the Province, which include the PJHL (Lower Mainland), KIJHL (Kootenay International Junior Hockey League and the VIJHL or the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League.

It is true the players playing Junior B have the one question as they move forward with their career and that’s “can I now play with a half-visor”?

In today’s ever changing world, it’s simply not fair to put the Coach in the position that he alone makes the decision, in part should there be a lawsuit if injured and also considering the fact they are a minor.

Visor or not, should this not be left up to the individual to make the choice or is it up to the league that they are playing in?

This has been a discussion for not only the past few years, but decades as it was Greg Neeld who was a player from West Vancouver that lost his left eye after being hit with a high stick in a Junior game in 1973, becoming the first player to wear a face shield in regular play, ironically it was so named the “Neeld Shield”

The change came in minor hockey in Canada in 1980 when the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (now Hockey Canada) mandated that all players that are involved in any Minor Hockey Association in Canada be required to wear the full cage.

As a former player and referee I can see the issue at hand, but if it’s such a concern, why did this mandate not come from Hockey Canada directly?

Players playing at this level are in essence Adults and are able or should be able to make up their own minds and the choice should be up to the individuals involved, but it’s not.

I remember the discussion when Hockey Canada made it mandatory for all officials to wear helmets and visors and the overall rebellion that ensued from the officials working the games.

One Association that held out was Powell River and this went on for a year until they finally “bit the bullet” and joined in as the Minor Hockey Association was threatened with a full suspension from all exhibition, league and playoff play until they “bought in” and enforced the rule.

The issue simply comes down to player safety, but if Hockey BC is so concerned, why did they stop at Junior B Hockey?

This is in essence a training ground for upcoming talented players that advance to play in the Junior A League or commonly known as the BCHL.

Does safety not mean as much to the Junior A players as it does to the Junior B players that compete on a regular basis?

This is only part one – part two posted December 8th.