Thesis: Although most hockey athlete believes that by wearing required equipment keeps them safe from injury, however I believe that these regulations should be stricter because of the severity of recent and past injuries.
Introduction: Are equipment regulations enough to keep our hockey athletes safe?
History of Equipment
Current Equipment regulations
Neck Guard Debate
Conclusions: Will it take a death to make NHL officials change there minds on the policies regarding neck guards like they did with helmets after the death of Bill Masterton.
Are current equipment regulations enough to keep our hockey athletes safe? I ask this after the life threatening injury that recently occurred here in Buffalo. However this isn’t the first time that the NHL (National Hockey League) has seen injuries of this magnitude. What were these injuries? How did they affect the NHL rules? What kind of rules are in place today? What is the NHL doing about neck guards? These questions and more will be answered as we take a look into NHL injuries, the history of equipment regulations, current equipment regulations, and the debate over neck guards.
It was Sunday, February 10, 2008 here in Buffalo at the HSBC Arena. The Buffalo Sabres were playing the Florida Panthers. Thousands of spectators cheered as Buffalo took a 4-3 lead. The puck flew down the ice to the corner left of goaltender Ryan Miller. Players from both team rushed after the puck, 10 minutes and 4 seconds into the 3rd period Florida forward Olli Jokinen and Sabres forward Clarke MacArthur crashed sending Olli Jokinen head first into the ice and his right foot into the air. This is a normal occurrence in the NHL. However, tonight was a different night in the NHL. As Clarke Meredith
MacArthur’s right foot flew into the air his razor sharp skate caught the neck of teammate Richard Zednik. Richard Zednik fell to the ice clutching his neck. “It like someone stabbed me” said Richard Zednik in a press conference after being discharged from Buffalo General. Richard Zednik quickly hurried to the Panthers bench. Leaving a 100 foot crimson trail, and burning this memory into the memories of thousands of fans, to horrified hockey teams and a hockey player holding on to his life. “It had to be the corroid artery with the much blood in that short of time” Rick Jeanerette said while announcing the game. It took 20 minutes for officials to clean the blood off the ice. Spectators fell silent as Rick Jeanerette said “I haven’t seen that much blood since, well I don’t even want to talk about it”. The fans remembered 19 years and 1 block ago. It was March 22, 1998 in War Memorial Auditorium, the Buffalo Sabres facing the St Louis Blues. Fans watched in excitement as the Blues winger Steve Tuttle collided with Uwe Krupp sliding into goaltender Clint Malarchuk and slicing his jugular vein. Blood pooled on the ice as spectators fainted, a few men
had heart attacks and teammates threw up. Clint Malarchuk was rushed to Buffalo General where he underwent 90 min of surgery and received over 300 stitches to repair his artery. Doctor concurred that had the cut been an inch higher Clint Malarchuk would have bled to death in less then two minutes. Clint Malarchuk was lucky not to be the second on ice fatality in the NHL. On January 13, 1968 the Oakland Seals took on the Minnesota North Stars. Four Minutes into the first period William “Bill” Masterton passes the puck. He gets body checked by Seals Larry Cahan and Ron Harris. Bill Masterton fell backwards smacking his head into the ice. This hit was so hard blood began to gush from his mouth and nose. Bill Masterton then fell into a coma. Paramedics rushed Masterton to the hospital...
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