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Report: NHLPA to explore mandatory visors for new players

Mar 20, 2013, 4:36 PM EDT

Marc Staal Getty Images

Mandatory visor usage was one of the big developments to come from Wednesday’s NHL GMs meeting in Toronto.

According to NHLPA executive Mathieu Schneider, the players’ union will reportedly look at making visors mandatory for players entering the league, and will also explore grandfathering in visor usage for current players.

TVA’s Louis Jean reports the PA will poll its members on the grandfathering idea, and the Globe and Mail’s David Shoalts notes that, if there’s enough support, the grandfather rule will go to the competition committee.

If it goes through, mandatory visor usage would be similar to the Helmet Rule modification of 1979.

In August of that year, NHL president John Ziegler announced that protective helmets would be mandatory, with the grandfather clause/exception pertaining to players that had already inked a pro contract and were willing to sign a waiver.

It’s not surprising mandatory visors have gained traction, given all that’s transpired lately.

Visor use has steadily increased over the past few seasons, with a recent NHLPA report claiming 73 percent of active players wear a shield — up from 34 percent in the 2003-04 season.

The conversation was sparked further when New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal — who doesn’t wear a visor — took a puck to his eye in a game versus Philadelphia on Mar. 5.

He’s been out of the lineup ever since and, on Monday, brother Jordan told that Marc was planning on wearing a visor when he returns to game action.

More here, from TSN’s Darren Dreger and ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:


Pens’ Orpik can’t think of ‘valid excuse’ against wearing a visor

Visor debate: Senators’ Phillips began using one after a puck to the eye

NHLPA: Visor use an ‘individual choice’

Daly: NHL wants mandatory visors

  1. jayreiterman - Mar 20, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    It’s about time, it’s so hard to see a good player ending his career from one minute to the next, just for blocking a shot.

  2. killerpgh - Mar 20, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    So how will this effect fighting? Currently a player who instigate a fight with a visor on end up getting 19 minutes in penalties. Now you are gonna have players taking off the helmets (which I’m all for) before every fight. The down side to having players taking off their helmet’s is it increases the chance of serious injury from guys hitting the heads off of the ice like Don Sanderson who died a few years back after hitting his bare head on the ice during a fight.

    • bcsteele - Mar 20, 2013 at 5:14 PM

      Your point was exactly my first thought. While I’m all for the players being required to wear visors you have to modify the fighting rules now to make it fair.

      • killerpgh - Mar 20, 2013 at 5:26 PM

        I thought a few years ago a company (maybe Messier’s) was tiring to develop a visor that could be popped off with little effort to be removed for fighting, but couldn’t completely figure it out because it kept popping of at times it wasn’t supposed to. It was a few years ago so maybe newer technology can make that a possibility.

    • jpelle82 - Mar 21, 2013 at 9:45 AM

      its a back door way of eliminating fighting. dont expect the instigating w/ a visor rule to change. in 10-15 years and all the grandfathered non-visor wearing tough guys are out of the league, the evolution of the game will have basicly made the fighter/enforcer role extinct along with fighting itself.

  3. Stiller43 - Mar 20, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    “He’s been out of the lineup ever since and, on Monday, brother Jordan told that Marc was planning on wearing a visor when he returns to game action.”

    I would hope so!!! If almost losing your own eye doesnt wake you up, what will?

    In favor of the proposed rule…in my adult league, facemasks or shields use to be optional (you’d never catch me without a cage on) until similar stuff happened and a guy needed thousands of dollars of plastic surgery on his face. It just makes sense when you have hard heavy objects flying at ~60-100 mph.

    • jpelle82 - Mar 21, 2013 at 9:46 AM

      pretty awesome how orpik talked about it, put one on, then took a shot off the visor 2 games later. smart move

  4. canadabaseball - Mar 20, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    If u do this u have 2 take away the instigator penalty for fighting with a visor that just punishing a player for wearing one

  5. atwatercrushesokoye - Mar 20, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    This is long overdue, every single player in the NHL wore either a visor or cage before they became a professional not sure why all of a sudden once they sign their first pro contract it become “hard to see” in them for some. So get them before they have a chance to take them off.

  6. ethanmacleod1685 - Mar 20, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    Don’t make visors mandatory !

  7. shortsxit34 - Mar 20, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    The instigating rules don’t really need to be changed.

    The reason they have it now is because its unfair to start a fight with a guy not wearing a visor while you hide behind one. If both guys are already wearing one, there is no advantage and no penalty. If one guy does t have one, then the 2+10 applies.

    • killerpgh - Mar 21, 2013 at 12:10 AM

      You’re wrong. The rule isn’t “more face protection”. It’s just “face protection”. Ryan O’Byrne got the 2 for instigating, 2 for unsportsmanlike conduct for having a visor, 5 for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct when he went after Brad Stuart for hitting the Avs captain up high. Both Stuart and O’Bryne wear visors.

      46.6 Face Protection – If a player penalized as an instigator of an altercation is wearing a face shield (including a goalkeeper), he shall be assessed an additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
      Should the player (including a goalkeeper) who instigates the fight be wearing a face shield, but removes it before instigating the altercation, the additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty shall not apply.

  8. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 21, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Finally! Someone thinking about player safety. Thank you.

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