Detroit Red Wings legends Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg are advocating for mandatory neck protection in the wake of Adam Johnson's tragic death.
Last month marked a tragic incident where former NHL forward Adam Johnson faced a devastating on-ice accident, as an opposition player's skate made contact with Johnson's neck as he fell, resulting in a fatal injury despite valiant efforts to save him. Following this tragedy, a notable shift occurred within the NHL as various players, including Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jake Walman, began adopting additional neck protection gear. And now, Red Wings legends Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg have expressed their hopes for more players to prioritize such safety measures.
Johnson's neck was cut by a falling player's skate
Johnson, who was playing for the British Elite Ice Hockey League‘s Nottingham Panthers, faced the tragic incident during a match against the Sheffield Steelers in late October. The fatal injury occurred when Panthers forward Matt Petgrave fell, causing his leg to kick upward and unintentionally make contact with Johnson's neck.
The news of his passing resonated across the National Hockey League, sparking an outpouring of tributes from players and fans alike. In response to this tragedy, several players took to wearing neck protection as a standard part of their gear, embracing added safety measures.
Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom would like to see mandatory neckguards
Red Wings icons Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg have been vocal in the wake of the accident to see more players wear protective neck gear.
“After everything that has happened, I think so,” Lidstrom said in response to the question about players adopting neck protection.
“I have never played in a neck protector, there was hardly any when I was playing,” Lidstrom continued. “It was for goalkeepers, but not many had it. But after everything that has happened, I think it should be mandatory, that it should be introduced as it has been done here in Sweden.”
Neck protection for players in the Swedish Hockey League has been mandatory since the late 1990s.
“I think neck protection is part of all the protection you have, so for me it goes without saying that you should have it if you play hockey,” Zetterberg opined.
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Former NHL forward Adam Johnson tragically lost his life after an opponent's skate made accidental contact with his neck during a late October game.
- Notably, a number of NHL players, including Red Wings defenseman Jake Walman, have started wearing neck protection in response.
- Advocates such as Red Wings legends Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg are pushing for mandatory neck protection in the sport
Bottom Line: Will we see mandatory neckguards in the NHL?
It's quite surprising to recall that not too long ago, NHL players would hit the ice without helmets. Even more recently, the majority didn't sport protective visors on their helmets. Nowadays, the NHL mandates visors for all new players joining the League, a rule that's been phased in over time. Presently, you can count the number of NHL players not wearing visors on just one hand.
The question arises: will mandatory neck protection soon become a rule akin to the helmet visor for all incoming NHL players?