Full face protection will be mandatory for all B.C. Hockey Junior B players starting for the 2018 to 2019 season.
This includes the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, Pacific Junior Hockey League and the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League and the two B.C teams participating in the North West Junior Hockey League.
“B.C. Hockey is proud to be recognized as a leader in risk management initiatives, and player safety is at the forefront of our program planning,” said Barry Petrachenko, B.C. Hockey chief executive officer.
“Our game is faster than it has ever been, and as a result we face increased challenges and responsibilities relative to safety. We are confident that through this initiative facial and dental injuries will be greatly reduced.”
“This decision is part of B.C. Hockey’s mandate to provide a safe environment for our players to develop,” said Phil Iddon, B.C. Hockey junior coordinator.
“Players can play more confidently without fear of facial or dental injury as a result of a play. This is a big and positive step for B.C. Hockey, the game and player safety.”
Full face protection is expected to reduce the number of dental injuries among hockey players.
At the 2017 Hockey Canada Winter Congress, Hockey Canada Director, Insurance and Risk Management, Todd Jackson, reported on dental injuries. From 2010 to 2015, more than 370 dental injuries with players wearing half visors were reported to Hockey Canada as compared to eight for those who wore full face protection.
During the same time period, the overall cost of dental claims were significantly lower in the full face category; $7,548 as compared to $287,775.
Junior B teams will see a 71 per cent reduction in major medical and dental premiums under the Hockey Canada Insurance Program (down $35 to $10 per player) with the move to full face protection.
At present, five per cent of Junior A players in the B.C. Hockey League wear full face protection.
B.C. Hockey will continue to work with the BCHL and the Canadian Junior Hockey League to ensure the safety of players is a priority.
This season, the VIJHL Peninsula Panthers have successfully implemented full face protection, the first Junior team in BC to make the change voluntarily. The Ontario Hockey Association also applied full face protection for Junior A and Junior B teams and it is also required through all minor hockey in Canada and NCAA university hockey.
Members of Team Canada at the under 18 level and below are required to wear full face protection.
B.C. Hockey Junior B players who affiliate with Junior A teams will be required to wear full face during their play at that level.