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Should visors be mandatory at all levels of professional hockey?

by Chris Cordella March 19, 2013
Should visors be mandatory at all levels of professional hockey?

Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin (#8) is wearing a helmet with a visor. The NHLPA says players should have the right to choose whether to wear one or not. (Photo from Flickr.)

After an injury to New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, where he took a vicious slap shot to the eye, some are wondering why more teams aren’t implementing rules that would force their players to wear visors.

There have been plenty of other eye injuries in the National Hockey League which have cost players games and even careers.

The fact of the matter is that there is no guarantee that visors would completely stop these incidents from happening, but it would definitely make these situations less serious.

NHLers are known as tough guys, but the tough-guy mentality is perhaps getting in the way of players’ safety. Players don’t want to wear them because some feel uncomfortable with them on. They said the exact same thing when helmets became mandatory.

The NHLPA wants nothing to do with the visor issue. They believe you should have the right to choose whether to wear one or not. Most players are playing with one, but it’s still a shame whenever an eye injury happens to somebody not wearing one.

Concordia Stingers men’s hockey players Adam Strumas and Kyle Kelly have completely different views on the subject. In their league, it is mandatory to wear a visor.

“If I had the choice, I would continue to wear a visor. There’s no doubt about it,” said Kelly. “My eyesight is far too important for me to risk an injury that may affect my vision for the rest of my life.”

“With regard to the NHL, I do believe they should make visors mandatory,” he went on to say. “People’s eyesight is far too important to risk leaving it to chance. I believe that the implementation of mandatory visor use in the NHL should be grandfathered in, just like the use of a helmet was grandfathered in many years ago.”

Strumas believes players should still have a choice once they reach the professional level.

“In university hockey, there are very few fights that break out, so I would keep my visor on if given the choice,” he said. “If it was pro hockey, I would take it off. I don’t think the NHL should implement a rule forcing players to wear a visor. It’s always been a player’s choice at that level. Players have respect and keep their sticks down, anyways.”

With this discussion garnering mixed reactions from all hockey players and fans, it will be interesting to see whether visors will become mandatory in the sport’s future.

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