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International Ice Hockey Federation mandates neck guards to be worn at all levels following Adam Johnson’s death

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The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has announced that neck guards will be mandatory at all levels, including the Winter Olympics and World Championships, following Adam Johnson’s death.

Johnson died after sustaining a cut to the neck in a collision with another player during the second period of the Nottingham Panthers’ game against the Sheffield Steelers in England on October 28.

A Sheffield coroner’s report found that the 29-year-old “sustained an incised wound to the neck caused by the skate of another player” and later died in hospital as a result of the injury.

In a statement released on Monday, the IIHF said it has taken the decision “on recommendation from its Medical Committee.”

“The neck laceration protectors are now mandatory for the senior categories in addition to the U20 and U18 categories, for which neck laceration protectors had already been enforced as per IIHF Official Rule Book,” the statement read.

“The exact date this mandate will go into effect for the senior categories will be determined by the supply situation. The IIHF remains in close contact with its suppliers to ensure they are able to respond to the current high demand.”

The IIHF added that it “continues to strongly recommend” that neck guards are worn by all players competing in IIHF competitions until the date of the mandate is decided.

It follows the decision of both the English Ice Hockey Association and the Canadian Hockey League making neck guards mandatory in their competitions.

In the NHL, neck guards – let alone neck coverings of any kind – are not a common sight, but the Pittsburgh Penguins, Johnson’s former NHL team, are mandating neck guards for their minor league players.

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