The incident involving Adam Johnson is horrifically tragic. For years, players have sustained a number of different cut-related injuries due to the skate blades of opposing players. Last year, Evander Kane of the Edmonton Oilers was involved in a scary incident in which his wrist was cut by the skate of Pat Maroon. The injury sidelined Kane for three-plus months of game action. Clearly, the Johnson incident is much more detrimental. As a result, the game of hockey on all continents is making an effort for cut-resistant gear to be mandated. The New Jersey Devils American Hockey League affiliate, Utica Comets, has already begun to roll out cut-resistant gear to its players.
Ben Birnell, Comets reporter from the Daily Sentinel, explained turtleneck cut-resistant undershirts will be provided for Utica’s players. Birnell explained that Comets players have already been strongly encouraged to wear cut-resistant material for the Acillies and wrist areas. Last November, Comets forward Graeme Clarke suffered a cut on his arm from a skate.
It’s undetermined whether Utica will make the cut-resistent gear mandatory, or if it will be a player option. However, it’s already become a mandate for affiliate teams around the NHL. The Pittsburgh Penguins are mandating neck guards for their players with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL and the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL.
According to Jeff Marek, the National Hockey League Players Association is pushing back on a mandate for neck guards. It’s certainly not incentivized by the NHL in any which way. Instead, it’s in the best interest of the players’ safety.
T.J. Oshie of the Washington Capitals owns a hockey gear company called Warroad Hockey Co. As a matter of fact, the Capitals forward wears the cut-resistant gear already. He’s even convinced teammates such as Tom Wilson to hop on board with the gear as well.
At some point, the cut-resistant gear may or may not be mandated. Sooner or later, we’ll get a decision.