The VIJHL Peninsula Panthers had already mandated that all of their players wear full face protection this season. (Steven Heywood/Black Press)

The VIJHL Peninsula Panthers had already mandated that all of their players wear full face protection this season. (Steven Heywood/Black Press)

BC Hockey mandates full face protection for Junior B players

BC Hockey announced full face protection will be mandatory for all BC Hockey Junior B players

BC Hockey announced Tuesday that full face protection will be mandatory for all BC Hockey Junior B players beginning with the 2018-19 season.

That includes the Castlegar Rebels and all other players in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL), as well as players in the Pacific Junior Hockey League, the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League and the two BC teams participating in the North West Junior Hockey League.

“BC Hockey is proud to be recognized as a leader in risk management initiatives, and player safety is at the forefront of our program planning,” Barry Petrachenko, BC Hockey chief executive officer, said in a release.

“Our game is faster than it has ever been, and as a result, we face increased challenges and responsibilities relative to safety. We are confident that through this initiative facial and dental injuries will be greatly reduced.”

“This decision is part of BC Hockey’s mandate to provide a safe environment for our players to develop,” added Phil Iddon, BC Hockey junior coordinator. “Players can play more confidently without fear of facial or dental injury as a result of a play. This is a big and positive step for BC Hockey, the game and player safety.”

The decision followed a presentation by Todd Jackson, Hockey Canada Director, insurance and risk management, at the 2017 Hockey Canada Winter Congress, in which he disclosed that between 2010 and 2015 there were over 370 dental injuries with players wearing half visors reported to Hockey Canada as opposed to eight with players wearing full face visors.

The overall cost of dental claims for the same period was significantly lower for players wearing full face coverings — $287,775 for half visors compared to $7,548 for full face protection.

“Junior B teams will see a 71 per cent reduction in major medical and dental premiums under the Hockey Canada Insurance Program (down 35 dollars to 10 dollars per player) with the move to full face protection,” read the release.