The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has announced a mandatory neck guard policy for all 500 of its players.
It comes after former Pittsburgh Penguins player Adam Johnson was killed in a freak on-ice accident Saturday after his neck was cut by a skate during a game in England.
In response to the tragedy, various hockey organizations around the world have implemented neck guard policies, including the Western Hockey League and now the KIHJL.
The KIJHL said Thursday in a media release that while the policy takes effect immediately, consideration will be given to teams and athletes in situations where demand can’t be met and that it will work with its members to help solve any supply issues.
The league commissioner Jeff Dubois says the policy was developed following consultation with coaches, team governors, BC hockey and other junior leagues around the province.
“With the death of Adam Johnson last weekend in a pro game in England, I think that was a big eye -opener for all of us in junior hockey. Ultimately, player health and safety is our top priority and I think deciding to implement a policy like this is our responsibility given what we saw last weekend.”
He says the league has been engaging in promising conversations with manufacturers and hopes to have every player equipped with a neck-guard within a couple of weeks.