The English Ice Hockey Association is changing its rules following the tragic death of Adam Johnson … now making it mandatory for players to wear neck guards starting in January.
The org. announced the decision Monday, saying in a statement, “the safety of our players must take precedence above all else.”
“We are firmly committed to our obligation to exhaust every possible means to ensure that a tragic incident of this nature never befalls our sport again,” the EIHA said.
The new mandate comes roughly 48 hours after Johnson died following injuries he suffered when he was slashed in the throat by a skate during an on-ice collision.
EIHA officials initially said the incident was “a freak accident” … though South Yorkshire Police said Sunday they are investigating the matter.
Johnson was just 29 years old.
While neck guards will still be optional for the remainder of ’23 … the EIHA said it’s making a “strong recommendation” that players wear them while skating on the ice.
It added that the mandatory rule change would have been implemented immediately if not for anticipated supply issues.
“It is unacceptable for any player to lose their life while playing sport,” the EIHA said. “Our responsibility is not only to avert the recurrence of such a heart-breaking accident, but also to pre-emptively address other foreseeable incidents in the future.”
EIHA officials said more rule changes could be coming down in the near future … saying in its statement, “We bear both a legal and a moral obligation to respond in a measured and pragmatic way.”
“There is a distinct likelihood that comprehensive evaluations will transpire at the international level, and the EIHA is committed to taking an active and constructive role in this comprehensive process.”