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USA Hockey's neck protection August mandate and our product insight ...

The USA Hockey Congress has mandated neck laceration protection for all players, except adults and on-ice officials under 18, in games and practices starting August 1st, 2024. This includes youth, girls, and junior age groups. USA Hockey has long-recommended neck laceration protection and cut-resistant gear. The Safety and Protective Equipment Committee began evaluating rule changes in November 2023, leading to this new legislation


We have shared information on major hockey neckguard vendors and the pros and cons of integrated cut-resistant shirts versus strap-on neckguard collars. A quick Google search can find additional providers. We encourage further research beyond this list.


Please do your own research and make your own decisions. We do not endorse any vendor and are not experts. This information is a starting point for your convenience. Ensure your U18 player complies with the USA Hockey August 1st mandate, which applies to all U18 players for games and practices.


 

Let's start with a pro/con analysis of the one-piece shirts versus strap-on neck guards based on reviews and information from the web:


One-piece cut-resistant Hockey neckguard shirts


Pros:

  1. Integrated Protection: Provides seamless protection without the risk of shifting or misalignment during play.

  2. Convenience: Eliminates the need to remember or attach a separate piece of equipment.

  3. Comfort: Designed to be more comfortable as they don't have straps or buckles that can irritate.

  4. Streamlined Fit: Reduces bulk around the neck, offering a more streamlined and aerodynamic fit.

  5. Less Interference: Less likely to interfere with movement or vision compared to a strap-on collar.


Cons:

  1. Cost: Typically, it is more expensive than purchasing a separate neckguard.

  2. Limited Flexibility: The entire piece must be replaced if the shirt gets damaged.

  3. Sizing Issues: The garment must fit properly to ensure both comfort and protection, which can be more challenging to find.

  4. Maintenance: Requires more frequent washing and potential wear and tear affects the entire garment.


Strap-On Cut-Resistant Neck Collars


Pros:

1. Flexibility: This can be worn with any shirt, offering versatility.

2. Cost-Effective: Generally less expensive than integrated shirts.

3. Easy Replacement: If damaged, only the neck guard needs to be replaced, not the entire shirt.

4. Adjustable Fit: Usually comes with adjustable straps for a customizable fit.


Cons:

1. Potential for Shifting: May move out of place during play, potentially reducing effectiveness.

2. Comfort Issues: Straps and buckles can cause discomfort or irritation.

3. Bulk: Adds extra bulk around the neck area, which some players might find restrictive.

4. Additional Piece of Equipment: Requires remembering to wear and attach it properly, which could be inconvenient.


Both options have unique advantages and drawbacks, so the choice depends on personal preference, comfort, and budget considerations.


 

Here's a comparison and synopsis of the major cut-proof neckguard hockey shirts from Bauer, CCM, Warroad, Acayne, and Sherwood:


Bauer LS Cut-Resistant Neck Protect Base Layer

  • Material: Features DuPont™ Kevlar® fibers in the neck collar area and a blend of polyester and spandex for the body.

  • Protection: BNQ and CE certified, providing cut-resistant protection, specifically around the neck area.

  • Comfort: Moisture-wicking fabric keeps the player dry, with a comfortable fit for good mobility.

  • Price: Approximately $79.99 to $84.99


CCM NP130 Cut Resistant Neck Guard Shirt

  • Material: Polyester and spandex blend with BNQ & CE-certified cut-resistant fabric for the neck.

  • Protection: Provides significant cut protection for the neck, with an adjustable fit for comfort.

  • Comfort: Improved raglan style fit for better mobility, moisture-wicking properties, and flatlock seams to prevent chafing.

  • Price: Ranges from $99.99 to $109.99



Warroad Tilo Pro Stock Cut Resistant Neck & Wrist Shirt

  • Material: The main body is composed of polyester and spandex, with Cutlon material (Dyneema yarn) for cut resistance, and Ionic+ silver threads to combat bacteria and odors.

  • Protection: BNQ certified with additional foam in the collar for impact protection. It also includes cut-resistant wrist sleeves.

  • Comfort: Designed by NHL player TJ Oshie, it offers high flexibility, comfort, and advanced moisture management.

  • Price: Around $189.00 to $199.00


Sherwood T90 Long Sleeve Shirt with Neck Guard

  • Material: Integrates BASE360 cut protection zones with antimicrobial treatment to maintain hygiene.

  • Protection: BNQ-certified neck guard integrated into the shirt, offering substantial cut protection.

  • Comfort: Designed for high comfort with good fit and mobility.

  • Price: Around $100.00


Acayne Cut-Proof Neck Guard Shirt

  • Material: Typically includes a blend of high-performance synthetic fabrics designed for durability and protection.

  • Protection: Features cut-resistant zones at the neck and possibly other vulnerable areas.

  • Comfort: Designed to be comfortable and functional as a base layer, with moisture-wicking and antibacterial properties.

  • Price: Generally, it varies and is often positioned competitively within the market.


Each brand offers unique features and protection levels, focusing on safety and comfort for hockey players. Bauer and CCM are more traditionally known brands with broad market appeal, while Warroad, developed with insights from professional players, provides specialized features like Cutlon and Ionic+ technology. Sherwood offers a solid combination of protection and antimicrobial treatment, and Acayne provides competitive features at varying price points.


 

Here's a comparison and synopsis of the major cut-proof strap-on neckguards.


Bauer NG NLP22 Premium Neck Guard:

This neckguard is popular for its comfortable fit and high level of protection. Its Kevlar-reinforced exterior offers excellent cut resistance.


  • Protection: Features Kevlar-reinforced exterior.

  • Description: This neck guard offers high cut resistance due to its Kevlar construction, providing both durability and protection against skate blades.

Aegis Interceptor Neck Guard

Known for its advanced technology, this neck guard combines multiple layers of cut-resistant material, providing superior protection while maintaining flexibility and comfort.


  • Protection: Combines multiple layers of cut-resistant material, including Kevlar and Spectra fibers.

  • Description: Known for its advanced technology, this neckguard provides superior protection while maintaining flexibility and comfort. Spectra fibers, known for their high strength-to-weight ratio, add an extra layer of defense.


Shock Doctor Ultra Neck Guard

This neck guard is equipped with aramid fibers, providing high cut resistance, and it also includes a moisture-wicking lining to keep the player dry and comfortable.


  • Protection: Equipped with aramid fibers, similar to those used in ballistic-rated body armor.

We have also listed some FAQs from USA Hockey's regarding the new mandate below.


When does the requirement start?

  • August 1, 2024


Which age levels are affected?

  • All age classifications except adults, including youth, girls, and junior categories, and on-ice officials under 18.


What is the penalty for non-compliance?

Initial team warning, followed by a 10-minute misconduct penalty.


Can waivers exempt players from this requirement?

  • No, waivers are not accepted.


Will neck laceration protectors prevent all injuries?

  • No, but they reduce the risk of injury.


Can players use homemade neckguards?

  • No, only commercially designed and manufactured neck laceration protectors are allowed.


We hope this information helps you as you look for the right product for your player to comply with the August 1st mandate.


Best,


Coach Kevin


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