SHAKOPEE, Minn. (FOX 9) - On Monday, the International Ice Hockey Federation mandated neck guards for all levels of its competition, including the Olympics.
The decision follows Minnesota native Adam Johnson’s death during a game in England where his neck was slashed open by an opponent’s skate.
IIHF’s decision does not apply to other organizations, including the MSHSL or NHL.
Locally, four games and three wins into the year in Shakopee, head coach Calvin Simon says many on his team have recently ordered neck guards – but many more remain reluctant.
"Initially, I think there was a lot of concern like this is something we really need to do. Time has gone by, people realize it’s not an everyday thing and it’s a very rare thing..." coach Calvin Simon said. "When it becomes enforced on us, we’ll do that, but for now, they’re just teetering on it. Some are, and some aren’t."
At the Shakopee Ice Arena, Eli Golder owns the Edge Tek hockey shop. "We have seen a little bit of an uptick in high school players wanting them, but for the most part, it’s been pretty much the same."
Shakopee junior forward Cooper Simpson told us a neck guard would "probably keep him safer," but after trying one for a week last year, he knew it wasn’t for him.
"Some people care about their style way too much on the ice and they don’t wear one, that’s why. Some people, like me, think it’s uncomfortable, or it gets too warm when you wear it on the ice," Simpson explained.
Shakopee sophomore center Nate Pederson has been wearing a guard since he was 8 years old, "I feel like it helps," Pederson told FOX 9. "I think everybody should probably wear one."
In the wake of Adam Johnson’s death, neck guards have become more sought-after equipment. Right now, certain models are out of stock and will be for several weeks.