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NHLPA: Visor use an ‘individual choice’

Mar 7, 2013, 2:26 AM EDT

Philadelphia Flyers v New York Rangers Getty Images

The debate about whether visors should be mandatory for NHL players is again at the forefront of the hockey landscape, after a horrific incident in which New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal took a puck to the eye Tuesday night.

The NHL wants mandatory visors, however in order for that to be instituted into the game, it would need approval from the NHL Players’ Association.

It appears the NHLPA rejects the idea of mandatory visors, according to a statement from Mathieu Schneider, special assistant to the execution director of the players union, in the New York Times.

“The players support visor use being a matter of individual choice,” Schneider said in the statement. 

“We continue to regularly educate the players on the benefits of wearing a visor so that each player can make an informed decision.

“We will further discuss visors and other important equipment-related matters at our player meetings this summer.”

Staal is out of the Rangers lineup indefinitely, however doctors are optimistic he will make a full recovery from the eye injury.

  1. sharksfan754 - Mar 7, 2013 at 2:48 AM

    I heard the Canadian parliament is debating the issue…

    • misterchainbluelightning - Mar 7, 2013 at 2:53 AM

      Canadian parliament also debated a zombie invasion recently, and debated the Gretzky trade, they love them some debating.

      • tatdue - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:32 AM

        Maybe you should have actually checked out the video before jumping straight to your reply there buddy…..I’m guessing you might be one of those “headline reading only” people….

  2. misterchainbluelightning - Mar 7, 2013 at 2:52 AM

    Even after Bill Masterson’s death it took the league 11 years and a grandfather clause to get players wearing helmets. In the 30’s the Leafs tried to force players to wear helmets and they threw them on the ice. The hockey mentality trumps smart business and safety usually, but with that being said in 2009 60% of NHL players are already wearing visors, and Im sure that # has risen since then.

    • supercoop8 - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:37 AM

      I read the other day that it is over 70% this year

  3. nothanksimdriving123 - Mar 7, 2013 at 3:10 AM

    Yes, players can currently choose whether to wear visors. Some choices are wiser than others. It will be interesting to see if someday the league tells players their medical insurance will not cover certain kinds of injuries unless they wear a visor.

    • buckyblackhawk - Mar 7, 2013 at 4:30 PM

      I am sure that would go over well with the NHLPA…….

  4. shortsxit34 - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:47 AM

    That’s fine. However, if players don’t want to take simple measures to prevent reasonably forseeable injuries, they need to be held fully responsible for any negative consequences that arise from those decisions. Let them take out their own insurance policies and players forfeit their salary rather than having a guaranteed contract.

    It’s one thing to be injured during the normal course of the game. It’s another to be injured due to, as the NHLPA puts it, a player’s choice.

    • tatdue - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      I find it really funny that people will fight tooth and nail to protect their own rights and freedoms but have absolutely no problem trying to take other peoples rights and freedoms away!

      It’s a dangerous sport, and nobody knows that more than the players themselves….I think that they deserve the right to make their own decisions. If it’s to dangerous for you to watch there is always baseball or bowling….

      • govtminion - Mar 7, 2013 at 9:59 AM

        While I tend to agree, to play devil’s advocate for a few: What happens when a player makes the decision to play without a visor, takes a stick in the eye a la Bryan Berard, and sues the team, the league, etc. for his injury? What if a player gets drafted, gets injured in his first year…? The team is out a draft pick, the player’s career is over before it even really began, and no one comes out happy.

        I respect that the players want a choice in the matter, and if it were something else I might even take their side on it, but as inconvenient as a visor can get (and it is), the next time something like this, or like Berard, or Manny Malhotra happens, I for one will be glad that it’s an annoying little piece of plastic taking the beating and not one of the worlds best hockey players.

      • hockeydon10 - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:44 AM

        The obvious answer is their right and freedom is not being taken away because they also have the right and freedom not to play in the NHL. In this way, they can keep their right and freedom to not wear a visor, or even not to wear any protective gear at all. Then they are not forced to give up this right or freedom, just as the NHL is not forced to let them play without a helmet currently.

      • jpelle82 - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:01 AM

        minion – if a team was so worried about it they would only draft guys that promise to wear a visor or they would write it into contracts. the fact is that owners and gm’s dont care that much, its a business and in any business there is risk, calculated risk. they arent gonna stop drafting a guy like eric staal in the first round because he doesnt wear a visor, i bet it never came into question as part of the decision. either way the teams should have their own say so in this as they are the ones that are employing the player – not the nhl. the nhl doesnt pay or guarantee thier contracts. the nhl shouldnt be micromanaging the aesthetics

      • tatdue - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:10 AM

        I do understand what you are saying govtminion but it should still be the players choice. A visor would not have helped Berard because of how his injury happened and we’ve seen visors break before….What if Staal was wearing one and the shot broke the visor and he lost an eye? Would people then be crying for full cages like in pee-wee?

        hockeydon10 – Your “obvious answer” is just a ridiculous answer! So if Crosby decided he didn’t want to wear one you just expect the NHL to just kick him out right?….You have added absolutely nothing of value to this conversation….

      • shortsxit34 - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:49 PM

        Tatdue take your own advice about reading something through instead of just replying. While your rant about protecting one’s rights while taking away others and how I should watch bowling instead was cute, you failed to notice that I never said the NHL should mandate visors.

      • valoisvipers - Mar 7, 2013 at 2:03 PM

        Tatdue Why not full cages? If it offers better protection they should wear them
        as vision is priceless.

  5. stangz11 - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:23 AM

    I respect a players decision to wear one or not, but seeing Staal take a puck like that would definitely scare me into wearing one. I’ve never seen a player in that much pain before. He’s lucky he didn’t lose sight in his eye

    • tatdue - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:13 AM

      It would make me wear one too but I’m glad to see that you would leave it up to the player instead of taking that right away from them…

  6. dbarnes79 - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    They will wait till someone loses an eye or goes blind. Sad but true. Sometimes players need to be saved from themselves.

    • hockeydon10 - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:45 AM

      re: Manny Malhotra?

    • hockeyflow33 - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:00 PM

      Already happened

  7. hagigun - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    It’s pretty simple. Players want the choice: to wear one or not. That is just fine. They deserve to have that right.

    But if a player like Staal takes a puck in the eye, I’m not going to feel bad about it. It was his choice not to care about his safety, so why should I care about his safety? If he doesn’t care, I do not care.

    I used to play men’s league briefly. Most guys wore visors, some wore no shield. I wore a full cage. Did I care about being razzed? NO. I am not going to lose an eyeball playing men’s league. To see these guys given the opportunity to wear a shield and turn it down is beyond me.

    Again, their choice, their consequence. If some dolt refuses to wear his seat belt time and again and then gets injured real bad in a wreck because of it…how should we feel? People want rights, choices and to be left alone…then leave Staal alone. We’ll see you when/if you get back. Tough break kid, but sometimes you make your breaks. Had he been wearing a shield and taking all feasible precautions he could, I would feel horrible for him, his family and longtime health.

    *To be honest, yes I feel bad for him…but if players keep making reckless decisions about their own safety, sooner or later we have to de-sensitize ourselves from it/them.

  8. jpelle82 - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    over the last couple days the thumbs up thumbs down concensus leads me to believe that most agree that the players should be mandated to wear a visor. that players need to be saved from themselves, that it would benefit nhl society (teams, fans), and that risk associated with not wearing one outweighs the obvious choice of keeping one on. i guess i figured more people would be pro-choice these days….just sayin’

    • hockeyflow33 - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:01 PM

      The I know better than you mentality will never end. Imagine the horror of adults making their own decisions?

  9. kitshky - Mar 7, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    All current NHL players should have the choice to wear a visor or not, what they should not be able to do is perpetuate an environment where players starting their NHL career don’t feel pressured to take off safety equipment they’re currently wearing.

    The solution is so simple it boggles the mind there is even a debate about it.

    Every first year NHL player from now on is regulated to continue wearing visors, and every current player’s right to choose is grandfathered in.

    • hockeyflow33 - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:02 PM

      Except that completely ignores the contracted rights of the NHLPA

      • kitshky - Mar 8, 2013 at 11:01 AM

        Ya.. thanks for that Captain Obvious.

        I’m clearly talking about how the NHLPA should responsibly change the current arrangement in the most easily acceptable way to everyone involved.

  10. mgp1219 - Mar 7, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    The NHL & PA agred on mandatory helmets, didn’t they? So why won’t the NHLPA agree to mandatiory visors? it’s just common sense.

  11. pwilson264 - Mar 7, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    I just don’t get it, you would think that in today’s game were the players are much bigger and stronger, and with the new stick technology which shoots the puck at anywhere from 85 to 95 mph on average if not more. that you would want something protecting your eye’s from having a 3oz frozen piece of rubber from possibly blinding you, or causing other head injuries. the league has come up with new rules and equipment to protect players from concussions, so you would think that it should be as equally important to protect their eyes. playing Russian roulette with your eyes just doesn’t make sense. maybe it’s just me ?.

  12. tdrusher225 - Mar 7, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    It’s a lot like the issue of whether to require wearing a seat belt. It can be a personal choice, but no one’s going to feel bad for you when something bad happens.

  13. hattrk - Mar 7, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    This is not about taking away rights. This is a workplace safety issue. The league needs to regulate what equipment is required to wear on the ice. Period, end of sentence.

    • hockeyflow33 - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:04 PM

      They have a committee that works in alongside NHLPA reps to determine proper player safety standards and the guys who play the game at the NHL level disagree

  14. augsburg12 - Mar 8, 2013 at 5:48 AM

    If I was the insurance company supplying the insurance. I would lower my payouts to players injured who are not wearing them. There that problem is now solved. We all know players are just about the money these days.

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