How the new neck protection will keep the game safe

T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
T.J. Oshie, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

Last weekend the entire hockey world mourned the tragic death of Adam Johnson of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization. Overseas during a game in England, Johnson’s neck was cut by a skate blade. Some Washington Capitals players tested out neck guards for protection at practice with T.J. Oshie and Tom Wilson being the first to do so.

Wilson hasn’t worn a neck guard since playing junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League. In the OHL, neck guards are mandatory. Both players had a base layer shirt with a built in neck guard from Warroad which is a company that was co founded by Oshie.

Wilson was encouraged by Oshie to try it and hey had it on during Thursday’s morning skate, warmups before Thursday’s loss to the New York Islanders, and Friday’s practice. They were joined by Connor McMichael with the neck guard during Friday’s skate.

The shirts are designed with cut proof material. Wilson told Bailey Johnson of The Washington Post (subscription required):

"“I was thinking about it: There’s cut-proof [material] pretty much everywhere else now. Wrists, ankles, Achilles’, back of the socks, but not on the neck. I thought that doesn’t make a lot of sense when that’s probably the most important part. . . . The game’s getting faster and faster. Forever, it wasn’t really a concern. There weren’t a lot of skates off the ice. Now the hits are harder. Guys are more powerful. It’s faster. Everything’s happening so quickly that that stuff can happen.”"

One would think wearing a turtleneck of this scale would be a distraction to your flow of play but Wilson would say that “I honestly didn’t really notice it at all”.

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Wilson is unsure if he will wear it in a game but I imagine the NHL would be OK with it as long as it keeps their players safe, which it will. Oshie wore his during the game.