Full face shields could become mandatory in December for Junior A hockey leagues like the SJHL
Full face shields could become mandatory for Junior A hockey players by mid-December, according to Hockey Canada.
This decision would affect Canadian Junior Hockey League players [CJHL]which includes leagues like the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League [SJHL] and the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
Head coach Kevin Kaminski of the SJHL’s La Ronge Ice Wolves says he doesn’t understand the switch to a full face shield as opposed to the half visor that players currently wear.
« I hope it doesn’t turn out like that, » Kaminski said.
“I think you are going to lose supporters. I know the fights are very limited now, but I think the fans still appreciate a good tilt here and there,” said Kaminski, who played junior hockey with the Saskatoon Blades and in the NHL with Minnesota, Quebec and Washington.
“It’s hard to understand that this is how hockey evolves. But as I said, as a coach, it’s not in my hands. If this happens, we need to deal with it and move on. «
In a statement to CBC, Hockey Canada said the move was intended to increase safety in the game.
« The move to full face protection in junior hockey below the Junior A level has been implemented for the 2020-21 season, » a Hockey Canada spokesperson said. “Last June, all 13 members approved a game rule change extending full face protection under our game rules to include Junior A.”
The new rule is supposed to be implemented no later than December 15.
In a tweet, SJHL Commissioner Kyle McIntyre said, « Hockey Canada informed the CJHL last Friday that full face masks must be in place by December 15, 2022. »
Having a full face shield could reduce fights because the CJHL has automatic suspensions for anyone who takes their helmet off during a fight.
In the SJHL, any player who deliberately removes his helmet during a fight is automatically assessed a gross misconduct penalty and a minimum one-game suspension.
Kaminski said it will take time for players to adjust to wearing a full face shield.
Kaminski thinks players take more liberties on the ice and don’t worry about retaliation.
« There are no more consequences if someone does a bad move, » he said.
« No one gets up anymore… with a visor or with your face full on what are you going to do, take your gloves off and break your hands? »
If the rule goes into effect, Kaminski would like it to happen after the Christmas holidays.
“Guys can get used to it, where they go home and train with it… instead of putting it on and you’re not suited to it.
« There could be repercussions with that. »
The NHL, major junior hockey leagues like the Western Hockey League, and senior hockey do not require full face shields.
All minor hockey league players are required to wear full face shields.