Should NHL Players Wear Helmets in Warmups?
The National Hockey League has a potential problem creeping into the game. Some players still do not wear their helmets in warm-ups. An incident occurred Tuesday night in Columbus. Taylor Hall, the number one draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers in 2010, was injured prior to the game with Columbus. He tripped on a puck and collided with one of his teammates Ladislav Smid. Both players went to the ice. Corey Potter tried to jump over Hall, but accidentally stepped on his face. Hall was cut above his left eye requiring 30 stitches to close the gash. Taylor Hall will most certainly be wearing his helmet during warm-ups from now on.
This incident has now sparked the debate on whether players should wear helmets during warm-ups. The Edmonton Oilers will mandate that all players wear their helmets during warm-ups. However, there are some teams in the league that allow their players to skate with no helmet during warm-up session. Jason Spezza of the Ottawa Senators when asked why he does not wear a helmet in pre-game warm-ups he replied, “Personal preference I guess. As a kid growing up, I went to games and saw players without their helmets on during warm-ups. As a fan and as kid, I dreamed about skating with my helmet off.”
Daniel Alfredsson, captain of the Senators and teammates of Spezza’s said, “Warm-ups are for the fans. It is a chance for the fans to see the players.” The Ottawa Senators use to have a policy where all players had to wear helmets during warm-ups, but now it is the players choice on whether to wear one or not.
The National Hockey League does not encourage players not to wear helmets during warm-ups. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly spoke on the matter and said, “I’m not sure we ever encouraged the non-use of helmets during warm-ups for marketing reasons. The only exception that could be made is for the Winter Classic when the players wear touques to promote the event.
Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks wonders why players do not wear the helmets all the time with pucks flying all around. “Personally I don’t understand why you wouldn’t wear it. Then again guys are not wearing visors yet either, so I don’t think things will change.” Most players do wear their helmets during warm-ups, but when a freak accident like this happens, matters involving the safety of players start to get reevaluated.
With flying pucks swirling around the players’ heads, especially the ones that deflect off the crossbar, one has to think players would want to wear a helmet for protection. Players are mandated to wear helmets during games and morning skates, but not pre-games warm-ups. The incident involving Taylor Hall was clearing accidental and it may not happen anytime soon, It is controversial whether players be allowed to decide whether or not they be allowed to wear helmets during pre-game warm-ups. Incidents causing injuries during warm ups are rare, but a severe injury could keep a quality player or any player out of actual games. This controversy is just another in a as series of debates for players, the league, management, and fans to discuss.
Whats Your Verdict?