Junior B Hockey in BC is going the way of leagues south of the 49th parallel after BC Hockey announced its implementing face protection for is Junior B players starting for the 2018 – 2019 season.
The decision was made in a media release Tuesday by BC Hockey.
“BC Hockey is proud to be recognized as a leader in risk management initiatives, and player safety is at the forefront of our program planning,” commented BC Hockey Chief Executive Officer, Barry Petrachenko in the media release.
“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.”
The decision affects the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL), Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL) and the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) and the two BC teams participating in the North West Junior Hockey League (Fort St. John Huskies and Dawson Creek Junior Canucks).
The KIJHL has teams in Nelson, Castlegar, Beaver Valley and Grand Forks.
“This decision is part of BC Hockey’s mandate to provide a safe environment for our players to develop,” said BC Hockey Junior Coordinator, Phil Iddon.
“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 BC Hockey, the game and player safety.”
The rule change followed 2017 Hockey Canada Winter Congress, where Hockey Canada Director, Insurance and Risk Management, Todd Jackson, reported on dental injuries.
Data from the report said with respect to facial and dental injuries while wearing half visors compared to full face is staggering.
From 2010 – 2015, over 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; $287,775 versus $7,548.
Junior B teams will see a 71 per cent reduction in major medical and dental premiums under the Hockey Canada Insurance Program (down 35 dollars to 10 dollars per player) with the move to full face protection.
Currently, approximately five per cent of Junior A players playing in the BC Hockey League (BCHL) wear full face protection.
BC Hockey will continue to work with the BCHL and the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) to ensure the safety of our 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 (OHA) also applied full face protection for Junior A and Junior B teams the 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.
BC Hockey Junior B players who affiliate with Junior A teams will be required to wear full face during their play at that level.
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