USA Hockey, the organization that serves as the governing body for organized hockey in the United States, issued new guidance in the use of neck protection.

Starting August 1st, 2024 all players under the age of 19 and any official under the age of 18 must wear neck laceration protection. It has long been recommended that players and officials wear not only neck protection, but also consider wearing cut-resistant socks, sleeves and/or undergarments.

Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey said in a statement, "The overwhelming opinion was that the time is appropriate to modify our rules related to neck laceration protection, We’re also encouraged that the hockey industry is committed to continuing to work to improve the cut resistant products that protect players to help influence the safest possible landscape for the game."

SEE ALSO: UMD Coach Scott Sandelin Comments On Tragic Death Of Former Bulldog Adam Johnson

Adam Johnson Memorial Game - Nottingham Panthers v Manchester Storm
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According to USA Hockey, the penalty for not complying with the new neck protection rules will be the same as other equipment rule violation: a team warning followed by a 10-minute misconduct penalty for any violations after the initial warning.


USA Hockey says that there are no exceptions to this rule, parents are not allowed to excuse their kids from using neck protection. And no homemade neck guards will be allowed, only ones that are commercially designed and manufactured.

The USA Hockey Congress, the group that voted to change the rules, says to "Choose a neck laceration protector that covers as much of the exposed neck area as possible and is worn properly without alteration."


A quick search reveals that neck protectors are being made by large hockey manufacturers like Bauer and CCM, prices can range from $15 to $150 for goalie neck protectors, neck guards come in different styles and materials, including foam, Kevlar, and cut-resistant fibers, that offer a balance of comfort, flexibility, and safety.

The decision to require neck protection in youth hockey was significantly influenced by tragic incidents involving players like Adam Johnson. Johnson's died after sustaining a skate blade injury to the neck during a game,

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