The National Hockey League (NHL) and the players union are set to discuss improved player safety after Nottingham Panthers Adam Johnson died after an opposing player's skate blade cut his neck.
Johnson was playing for the Panthers against the Sheffield Steelers when he collided with an opposing player whose skate blade subsequently cut his neck causing him to lose extensive amounts of blood.
Following the accident NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in an ESPN report that discussions relating to neck protectors was not a new issue and “Whether it's something that's mandated directly or on a phased-in basis, that's something we'll discuss with the players' association.”
English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA) has made neck protectors mandatory from 1 January 2024 and said that it did not do it with immediate effect given the anticipated issues with supply and demand but did make a “strong recommendation” that all players within England Ice Hockey use neck protection as a matter of urgency.
National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) Executive Director Marty Walsh said “We're going to explore everything. It's in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy. I think we have to continue to have conversations on this as we move forward here.”
The Western Hockey League (WHL), a junior league based in Western Canada, has announced that it would make neck guard protection mandatory for all players beginning on Friday or as soon as the equipment was available to clubs.