UMD Equipment Staff offering more on-ice protective gear

Published: Nov. 1, 2023 at 10:48 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - After the tragic loss of Adam Johnson many discussions of player protective gear have been brought up in recent days.

RELATED: Hibbing community remembers hometown hero Adam Johnson, who died in ‘freak’ hockey accident

No changes have been made in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) but Johnson’s former school, the University of Minnesota Duluth, has given their players the option to have neck protection ordered for them.

“There’s some other coaches that I’ve talked to that have offered that to their teams. I’ll let our guys make those decisions. So I’m not shocked by that. We’ve got some stuff that Garnsey ordered so if guys wanna wear that, I’m all for it,” said men’s hockey head coach Scott Sandelin.

On Wednesday, during UMD’s weekly media presser, Sandelin also brought up the topic of neck guards being one of the NCAA committee’s topics of concern last season. Sandelin once again said it’s unfortunate that such an event had to take place in order for a change to be made.

UMD’s team captain Luke Loheit mentioned how advocating for player safety will not only affect today’s players but future generations as well.

“It’s a freak accident, it doesn’t happen very much, but you never know. You can’t be too careful,” said Loheit. “Also, I just think it’s something you want to pass down to younger generations too, right? You want to be careful. You want to make sure that kids are taking care of their bodies and making sure that they are safe out there too. I think it would be important for us to make a statement.”

The UMD women’s hockey team has also been discussing how they plan to make changes to create a safer environment in practice and games.

Just like Sandelin, women’s hockey head coach Maura Crowell is willing to grant her players further protection and has said she’s already seeing a big chunk of her players requesting neck guards.

Every year in July, the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey Rules Committee goes over rule proposals that have been approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel.

Crowell believes it should be a topic that is intensely looked over this year.

“I would be shocked if it didn’t. I don’t understand the argument against it. They’re uncomfortable? They don’t look cool? Nothing is really going to outweigh smart people from making good decisions for the health of student-athletes and athletes in general,” said Crowell.

The women’s team plays the University of St. Thomas at home on Friday at 6 p.m., there will be a moment of silence in honor of Johnson before the game as well as the stickers being worn on the player’s helmets.

The men’s team is playing in a home-and-home series against the Minnesota Golden Gophers this weekend. On Saturday, the UMD men’s hockey team will have a moment of silence at AMSOIL Arena. The players will also be wearing stickers in remembrance of Adam Johnson on their helmets.

The men’s Gopher’s series will be broadcast on our MY9 Sports Network with 7 p.m. start times on both Friday and Saturday.

Click here to download the Northern News Now app or our Northern News Now First Alert weather app.