Why are NHL players so afraid of change? It seems that every time a new rule or safety change is brought up to the NHLPA puts up a fight. The players say they don’t want to change the game, or they don’t want to add equipment that could alter their style of play. I say they are just scared.
It doesn’t matter if we are talking about Kevlar socks, or adding visors. Players do not want to accept changes. It’s sad really. It seems that someone will need to lose their life before players understand that safety changes need to be made. As the NHL player grows in size, and the game grows in speed, everything is happening with more power. More power means faster skating, and harder shots. If it was something as simple as a pair of socks that could stop a career ending injury wouldn’t you put them on? If a visor could help save your vision wouldn’t you wear one? It seems that common sense does not apply on NHL ice or in a NHL locker room. To make it even more simple, if you can’t see, you can’t play. If you can’t skate, you can’t play.
The average NHL players’ career is only about three to four years; of course the house hold names are around longer. My point is that most players only have a small window to do what they love. The NHL will be a relatively small part of a player’s life. Yet, most players do not want to play it safe and would rather roll the dice when it comes to serious injuries.
The time will come when these simple safety changes will need to be put in place, and the NHL will need to figure out a way to keep its employee’s safe. Sometimes the “boss or company” just needs to figure out a way. As for the players, grow up, and try to think about how your life would be if you suffered a grave injury that could have been prevented by adding a small item like a pair of special socks, or a visor.
If the NHL and its players want to be role models for children at any level, they need to remember who is watching. Hockey is a different sport to begin with, it is the only sport I can think of that brings more risk as you move up the ranks. House leagues, travel leagues, College, and so on all require a cage. But when you reach the AHL or NHL players can take it off. In the premier league in North America players may just have too much freedom when it comes to player safety.