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NHL makes visors mandatory for new players

Jun 4, 2013, 5:31 PM EDT

marcstaalbleedinggetty Getty Images

Starting in 2013-14, the NHL will force players to wear visors for the first time ever.

That was the news out of Tuesday’s NHL-NHLPA Competition Committee meeting, in which mandatory visor use was grandfathered in.

(TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the cutoff is for any player that’s played 26 or more NHL regular-season or playoff games. Any player with less will have to wear one.)

According to NHLPA special assistant Mathieu Schneider, there was a “clear majority” among union members supporting the initiative, though he refrained from giving a specific number.

In March, Schneider said the PA rejected the idea of mandatory visors.

Visor use has been a hot topic throughout this season, and reached a boiling point when Rangers defenseman Marc Staal was struck in the eye with a puck.

Staal, who was not wearing a visor, missed the remainder of the regular season and all but one of New York’s playoff games with cloudy vision.

He, along with brothers Eric and Jordan, have since donned visors.

Staal also said he should’ve been wearing one at the time of the injury, and acknowledged that he voted in favor of mandatory visor usagewithout a grandfather clause — when the NHLPA polled its members earlier this year.

Note: Related to the new initiative, it appears the penalty for starting a fight with a visor will be changed, as per to NHL director of hockey operations Colin Campbell.


Here’s hoping for a ‘constructive’ meeting of the NHL’s competition committee

Daly: NHL wants mandatory visors

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

  1. elvispocomo - Jun 4, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    Was only a matter of time on the visors. Hybrid icing really makes sense as well, which will be tested.

    • 950003cups - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:06 PM

      They should also mandate a minimum size on visors as well. Otherwise we’ll start to see half inch visors.

      • sabatimus - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:24 PM

        I should think they would, especially since the league is also lately obsessed with equipment size on goaltenders….yes yes, snicker.

      • 950003cups - Jun 4, 2013 at 7:32 PM

        Let me post something about sportsmen and equipment upgrades.

        drivers were against the HANS (Head And Neck Support) Device because they felt it restricted their head movement. After Dale Earnhardt died, it became mandatory, and nobody has died since.

        Long ago, the football players had no helmets at all. They complained when the leather helmets came out because they trapped a lot of heat and the ear flaps made it hard to hear. Injuries made helmets mandatory, and by 1950 the Riddell company made the plastic helmet along with cages.

        Years ago in baseball, batters wore ball caps. Despite the fatal beaning of Ray Chapman in 1920, batting helmets were fairly uncommon in the major leagues. In 1937 Mickey Cochrane, of teh Detroit Tigers, suffered a near-fatal skull fracture and there was again a strong call for batter helmets. Cochrane himself went on record saying that players should “absolutely” be required to wear protective helmets. (As should Staal)

        Anyone else have examples of them athletes resisted protection modificatons because it restricted them?

      • badintent - Jun 4, 2013 at 7:59 PM

        The NHL has already mandated that no Canadian city teams can be in the Stanley Cup finals.. violates the TV network contracts.

      • mpg44 - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:20 PM

        I would say that the visors are going to have to be approved for play. I play and you need to have an approved helmet and at least a visor. Problem you will see is players wearing them improperly.

      • elvispocomo - Jun 5, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        They must already have regulations in place for accepted visors, just as they had done with helmets. Players got away with wearing those minimal Jofa ones for awhile but I’m pretty sure they regulated them out. It would be the same with visors.

  2. cspsrbums - Jun 4, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    Why new players all players should wear them

    • sabatimus - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:18 PM

      I don’t think it’s realistic to ask veteran players who’ve never worn visors to suddenly start wearing them–they’d have to adjust immediately. Same thing happened when helmets were introduced: current players weren’t required to wear them.

  3. canucks30 - Jun 4, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    Boom goes the dynamite

  4. chanceoffleury1 - Jun 4, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    I wonder what Sidney Crosby and the rest of the Penguins think about this. I’m sure we’ll know soon enough.


  5. jcmeyer10 - Jun 4, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Good to hear this went through.

  6. helladonks - Jun 4, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    Somehow, the Pens were dragged into this

    • chanceoffleury1 - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:40 PM

      Oh, it was just a joke! It was sarcasm, hence the “/s” at the end of the post. I was just making fun of PHT for posting 9823734 articles about everything the Pens have said or did in the last 18 hours.

  7. r4n6er - Jun 4, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    So what happens to the extra penalty for instigating with a visor?

    • adlent - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:05 PM

      Mt first reaction, too, but very end of article says the penalty is going to be changed.

    • elvispocomo - Jun 5, 2013 at 12:54 PM

      It would have to be. There isn’t really a way to make them detachable for fights, and otherwise you’re requiring players to remove their helmets to fight. That’d lead to another set of potential injury concerns as it’s one thing to have it come off in a fight, but another to mandate they be taken off.

  8. sjsharks66 - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    Sweet. Now fights will be fists to visors…. Lame

    • alicesrightfootesq - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      Fighting will be gone soon, so it doesn’t matter.

      • sabatimus - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:16 PM

        Visors have been mandatory in the AHL for 7 years, and that 1) hasn’t stopped fighting and 2) should help a lot of players adjust to the new rule.

  9. pmonte3122 - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    Really? Let them wear them if they want…

  10. sabatimus - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    No problem with this. One of my Portland Pirates permanently lost vision in an eye when a puck struck it; they were able to save the eye itself but it’s useless. That same year, the AHL instituted mandatory visors. Call a puck to the eye a freak accident if you want, but the fact is that more and more players are taking pucks (or sticks) in the face, and I think it’s a good idea to help curb the damage.

  11. killerpgh - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    I’m not against this rule, but the part I don’t like is the fact that the NHLPA it saying it’s ok for our current member to have the right to make a decision for themselves, but we are taking away the right for our future members. If the current players can dictate what future players will be mandated to do then they should also be held to that standard immediately.

    • elvispocomo - Jun 5, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      The point obviously is that players coming from Junior will already be wearing visors so there won’t be any adjustment period, where there would be a considerable adjustment period for players that don’t wear them currently and don’t like to. It’s the same as what was done with the helmets, and makes sense when you think about it.

  12. r8rbhawk - Jun 4, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    Dumb, but I guess if I was alive when the league mandated helmets, I would have thought that was stupid too…

  13. soj83 - Jun 4, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    it was only a matter of time, but if the league really wanted to do something to protect players, they would put a minimum weight on sticks…these sticks are so lightweight that they can be lifted with barely a flick of the wrist and shots are probably 10-15 MPH harder than when it was all wood. not a popular opinion but i strongly believe it would help protect players, but it would cost some goals so it probably won’t ever happen

    • mpg44 - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:24 PM

      Actually a very good point . Same reason why the MLB still bans aluminum bats .

    • sabatimus - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:32 PM

      On the other hand, players are just getting stronger and faster, so a heavier stick might at first work out for a little while, but once the players adjust…

  14. Florio's Lawyer - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    “Mandatory”, but only for some?
    Stupid implementation of a rule.
    Mandatory means everybody.

  15. pitpenguinsrulez - Jun 4, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    If only the NHL would make it mandatory for the all of the ICE Crew girls, all NHL teams, to wear string bikinis on ice…jokingly

  16. shortsxit34 - Jun 4, 2013 at 10:20 PM

    Funny how the NHLPA was so adamantly against mandatory visors just a month ago, but change the rules to affect only other players rather than themselves and suddenly they approve.

  17. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 5, 2013 at 2:45 AM

    Well it’s about time…. In a couple of years they will ban fighting.

    valoisjoeybfeld69 – Mar 18, 2013 at 6:42 PM
    Wear the visor already. The visor saved a potential life changing injury for Orpik and Harold recently. C’mon! Smarten NHL. Make this mandatory as you did for helmets. Remember 1979…..

    In August 1979, then president of the National Hockey League (NHL), John Ziegler, announced that protective helmets would become mandatory in the NHL. “The introduction of the helmet rule will be an additional safety factor,” he said. The only exception to the rule are players—after signing a waiver form—who signed professional contracts prior to June 1, 1979. Essentially, this grandfather clause allowed established NHL players to choose whether or not they wanted to wear helmets but forced all new players to wear them.

  18. norcalirish - Jun 5, 2013 at 6:27 AM

    Full face cages are next…followed by long, flowing dresses.

    • elvispocomo - Jun 5, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      I’m sure they said that when helmets were introduced and concussions were first getting attention. Nary a flowery print on an NHL uniform so far.

  19. mikeinindy - Jun 5, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    Yep, get out the skirts!!! Bad day for hockey!

    In all seriousness, did anybody ever think that adding gear that supposedly protects the player will make some of them more reckless? I remember hockey before helmets… Headshots were not that big of a deal, because you got back at least what you gave, and you knew that things could get bad pretty quick. These days, that fear seems to be gone.

    They have changed the rules enough to sissify this great sport (that started to protect gretzky), and the department of player safety is a huge joke — very little fairness, common sense, or integrity there.

    Let’s see if these athletes are as good as we seem to think they are. Let’s please go back to real hockey that we saw Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, and Bobby Hull play.

    • elvispocomo - Jun 5, 2013 at 1:40 PM

      There have also been additions of curved blades and better sticks, greatly improved hockey skates, as well as general equipment for skaters and goalies. Should we limit those so the speed of the game and the quality of the shots are safer to avoid people getting concussions or pucks in the face that are serous enough to consider mandating visors and helmets?

  20. skarfacci - Jun 5, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    I think visors should be OK. just get in the way of the fights. They’ll be Ok. It’s good to reduce eye injuries. Why take a chance?

  21. florida727 - Jun 5, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    I remember when Rip Hamilton was with the Detroit Pistons and he was quoted as saying his “body was his investment”. His point being that he had to take care of himself, because his physical conditioning was his livelihood. How could ANY hockey player in his right mind not want to protect himself from any freak accident like what happened to Staal? Sometimes you just have to make decisions for people so their own stupidity doesn’t put them in harm’s way. Kind of like not letting your 4-year old roam around the shopping mall without you knowing where they are. Tell the NHLPA this is the rule. Don’t like it? Don’t play. It’s for your own good.

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