sport news Four Winnipeg Jets don neck guards at practice after American hockey player ... trends now
Four Winnipeg Jets donned neck protectors at Wednesday's practice following the recent tragedy in England, in which American player Adam Johnson was killed after having his throat slashed by an opponent's skate blade.
Vladislav Namestnikov, Cole Perfetti, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Rasmus Kupari all tried the neck protector, although the players did have some familiarity with the devices after using them in youth hockey.
'You always wear it growing up and then you get to the pro level, it's kind of not required,' Namestnikov said, as quoted by the team's website. 'Guys decided to try it out today and I think that's a good thing. So I'll keep trying it and hopefully get used to it and wear it.'
Pefretti admitted the neck guards are an adjustment.
'It's definitely an awkward feeling [wearing one], it's something you have to get used to,' he said. 'I don't know if it looks the best, but at the end of the day just trying to be safe. That's the end goal.'
Nikolaj Ehlers #27, Vladislav Namestnikov #7, Cole Perfetti #91, Dylan Samberg #54 and Nate Schmidt #88 of the Winnipeg Jets appear before a recent game. Ehlers, Namestnikov and Perfetti are all experimenting with neck guards at practice
Adam Johnson was killed by an opponent's skate blade during a recent game in England
The beck guard is barely visible to fans, peaking up only slightly above the collar
The device is barely visible to fans, peaking up only slightly above the collar, but it's actually part of a larger base layer that fits over a player's torso, shoulders and neck.
Associate coach Scott Arniel explained that the team wants to make them available to anyone who wants the added protection.
'There are some new things on the market too and the trainers are trying to find some different looks for these guys,' said Arniel. 'Some guys wanted to get into them today and see what they feel like, and I'm sure maybe a few more guys looking to do it too.
'Obviously there is nothing mandatory right now from the league, but there are some guys that are certainly concerned about it. Just have to get a feel for it.'
Johnson's death is leading to further discussions about cut-resistant protection in the NHL and other leagues.
Commissioner Gary Bettman and Players' Association executive director Marty Walsh touched based Sunday in the immediate aftermath of the death to set up further talks between the league and union.
For several years the two sides have been studying skate cut injuries and how to reduce and avoid them, and now the topic has taken on greater urgency at various levels of the sport.
'We're going to explore everything,' Walsh, the former Boston mayor and US Labor secretary, said Wednesday. 'We have to continue to have conversations on this as we move forward here. It's a change for the players, but it's also about protecting them, so I think we will have those conversations as we move forward here.'