New calls for safety ignite after professional hockey player’s death
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – More than 300 hundred teenage hockey players from Alaska to the East Coast are playing at The Outpost in Albuquerque this weekend to showcase their skills. But the conversations in the stands are going beyond the outcome of the game.
“It needs to be at the forefront, and it needs to be discussed,” said Tina Searle.
The Adam Johnson tragedy happened in another country, but the ripple effects can be seen in New Mexico pro shops. A shelf of neck guards have been completely cleared and sold out for the past two weeks as player safety is a huge concern.
“It is scary. It’s scary for all parents and players to see,” said Alex Kyrias with the North American Hockey League.
The NAHL is a league many children aspire to play in.
Kyrias says they are following the lead of USA Hockey – the governing body over most American hockey. They say they continue to “recommend a neck laceration protector for all players” however it is not required.
“Hockey right now is being played faster than ever. The boys are bigger than ever. So that’s one thing that we have to keep in mind is the sport just keeps evolving, so we have to evolve with it to make sure players are staying safe,” Kyrias said.
Most players on the ice are not wearing neck guards. But no matter who you’re rooting for, everyone wants this game to be safe.
“I’m all about safety because we want them to a prosperous career, no matter what their goals are. We want our kids safe, no matter what age. They’re still always your kids,” said Tina Searle.