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Players adjusting to new neck protection rules in KIJHL

After the tragic death of Adam Johnson, the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League made neck protection mandatory and teams are starting to see their new equipment arrive.

Some teams have already got their neck guards while other are expecting theirs soon and probably before the weekend.

“We’ll have our neck guards I believe by Tuesday’s game if not definitely by the weekend,” said Kimberley Dynamiters head coach and GM Derek Stuart.

“I don’t see there being a big issue on the players’ end at all.”

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Head coach and GM of the Fernie Ghostriders Ty Valin said the death of Adam Johnson hit the hockey community hard and hopes it will lead to a good change.

The players have embraced it and they understand it,” he said.

“It’s a pretty scary situation. When you look at the video and see what happened it’s a bit of a wake-up call for everybody. It’s an unfortunate thing to have happened, but I think it will change the game for the better.”

Head coach and GM for the Columbia Valley Rockies Taylor Sincennes said it shouldn’t be a big adjustment for the players since they grow up wearing the equipment anyway.

“I think all the kids understand it. We had a chat right when the news was announced and obviously right after the tragedy of Adam Johnson we had the discussion that it was probably going to go that way and all of our kids understood,” he said.

“They grow up wearing them and we have a young group so going back to wearing it isn’t really a big deal. I think they understand it. You see a tragedy like that in the hockey world and it affects everyone in some way shape or form whether you know the person or just see it.”

Other leagues in B.C. have made neck guards mandatory like the WHL, but there is no word yet on if the BCHL will follow suit.

 

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