In the wake of Adam Johnson's death, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) is now requiring neck protection for players at all levels. The IIHF announced its decision Tuesday and noted the policy will extend to the Olympics.
Johnson, a former member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, during a game in England. In hopes of preventing future tragedies like that, the IIHF has decided to make neck protection mandatory for all its competitors after consulting with medical experts.
"The IIHF Council, on recommendation from its Medical Committee, has decided to mandate the use of a neck laceration protector, specifically designed for this purpose, at all levels of IIHF competitions," the IIHF said in a press release. "The neck laceration protectors are now mandatory for the senior categories in addition to the U20 and U18 categories, for which neck laceration protectors had already been enforced as per IIHF Official Rule Book."
This new policy will apply to future IIHF World Championships and the Olympics. However, the IIHF will need to examine the "supply situation" before determining a start date for its new neck protection policy.
The NHL, which is independent of the IIHF, is excluded from this new policy. Still, some players have taken to wearing neck guards on their own, and the league is working with the NHLPA to find more solutions for player safety.