NHL competition committee agrees on mandatory visor use

TORONTO — At some point in the not-too-distant future, all NHL players will wear visors. That’s the long-term implication of Tuesday’s decision by the competition committee to make visors mandatory for all players entering the league beginning next season.

TORONTO — At some point in the not-too-distant future, all NHL players will wear visors.

That’s the long-term implication of Tuesday’s decision by the competition committee to make visors mandatory for all players entering the league beginning next season.

Five owners and five players reached a consensus to grandfather in mandatory visors, meaning that all current players will still have the choice but incoming ones must continue to wear them as they have in junior, college and in Europe. The committee also voted to give hybrid icing a trial run during the 2013-14 pre-season and to institute shallower nets effective next season.

Mandating visors was the subject of an NHLPA survey that revealed what Mathieu Schneider called a “clear majority” of support for grandfathering them in.

“I think the biggest thing is that every player coming into the league has to have previously worn one,” said Schneider, a former NHL defenceman and special assistant to NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.

“And we have 70-plus per cent of the guys currently wearing them in the league. Overall, it’s just been a change in attitude.”

The eye injury to New York Rangers defenceman Marc Staal in March heated up the debate, even though 73 per cent of players wore visors this season.

“More guys put a visor on after the Staal injury,” said Schneider, who did not wear one during his career. “Every time there’s an injury like that, I think you get any player that’s playing with a visor starts to think about it, or has his mom calling him or his wife telling him or his kids telling him.”

Safety in other aspects of the game was discussed in a meeting at the NHL office in Toronto, including the implementation of hybrid icing. Tested in the American Hockey League during the NHL lockout, racing to an imaginary line across the faceoff dots instead of the puck won’t be implemented immediately but will be tested in all pre-season games.

“There are a lot of players that haven’t played with it, may not fully understand it, and I think this will give them a better idea of what to expect,” Schneider said.

Among other changes, all of which must be approved by the board of governors and the NHLPA executive committee before they go into effect, is the installation of nets that are four inches (10 centimetres) shallower but do not affect the size of the area between the goalposts and crossbar.

Colin Campbell, the league’s executive vice-president and director of hockey operations, said these nets, which have been tested in research and development camps, are designed to create more offence by giving players more room to work in the offensive zone.

All four-minute high-sticking penalties will be subject to video review, and Rule 81.5 that allows for linesmen to waive off icing on “attainable” passes would be eliminated as well. NHL general managers voted in March to shrink some goaltending equipment, and rather than approve that change, the competition committee decided to form a subcommittee to look at alterations to all equipment, including gear worn by skaters.

Schneider said that committee, which could include players, ex-players, GMs and even trainers, will get together “as soon as possible.”

Like helmets, visors could soon become commonplace. But Schneider said Tuesday there was no consideration given to making them mandatory immediately for all current players.

“The question was asked in our survey, but it was a very small percentage of guys that thought that everyone should have to wear one,” Schneider said.

Campbell said there was discussion on changing fighting rules with regard to visors. Currently it’s a minor penalty for instigating a fight while wearing one.

Schneider said there were still some rules and guidelines to work out, including setting size mandates and talking to manufacturers about different kinds of shields available to players.

The NHL has long wanted the change, so the board of governors is expected to approve it. Schneider declined to reveal what percentage of players voted in favour of grandfathering mandatory visors but called it a significant majority.

General managers Ken Holland of the Detroit Red Wings, Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning and David Poile of the Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle and Philadelphia Flyers chairman Ed Snider were the team officials on the competition committee, while Ron Hainsey of the Winnipeg Jets, Michael Cammalleri of the Calgary Flames, Cory Schneider of the Vancouver Canucks and David Backes and Alex Pietrangelo of the St. Louis Blues represented the players. Mathieu Schneider served as the chair, though he did not have a vote.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels goalie Chase Coward tries to find a loose puck during WHL action at the Centrium earlier this season. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Changes on the horizon for Red Deer Rebels next season

New coach, roster adjustments among top priorities for Sutter this offseason

Renovations and construction have begun at Red Deer Dream Centre. (Photo contributed)
Renovations underway at Red Deer Dream Centre

Christian-based addictions treatment centre

Red Deer County's municipal planning commission gave approval for a new directional sign for a business located near Elnora.
(Image from Red Deer County)
Red Deer County garden centre and winery gets sign approved

Delidais Estate Winery and DA Gardens is located near Elnora

(Advocate file photo)
Red Deer County approves home-based hair salon

Salon would be located in rural residential area just west of Innisfail

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Here is a list of latest COVID-19 restrictions in effect in Alberta

New mandatory health restrictions are now in effect in Alberta. Additional restrictions… Continue reading

Mourners organize a memorial, Monday, May 10, 2021, outside a mobile home in Colorado Springs, Colo., where a shooting at a party took place a day earlier that killed six people before the gunman took his own life. (Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette via AP)
Police: Man killed 6, self after he wasn’t invited to party

Police: Man killed 6, self after he wasn’t invited to party

Colonial Pipeline joue un rôle de premier plan dans le transport de l'essence, du kérosène, du diésel et d'autres produits pétroliers du Texas vers la côte Est.(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Gas stations report shortages as pipeline shutdown drags on

Gas stations report shortages as pipeline shutdown drags on

A taxi drives past the charred remains of a car that was burned during clashes between Indigenous people from Cauca state who arrived to support the national strike, with local residents who do not support the blocking of roads in Cali, Colombia, Monday, May 10, 2021. Colombians have protested across the country against a government they feel has long ignored their needs, allowed corruption to run rampant and is so out of touch that it proposed tax increases during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Andres Gonzalez)
42 killed in Colombia protests, human rights agency says

42 killed in Colombia protests, human rights agency says

Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill, on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
All parties in the Commons give approval in principle to pandemic election bill

All parties in the Commons give approval in principle to pandemic election bill

Brigadier-General Jennie Carignan of the Canadian Armed Forces joins soldiers during a lunch with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, Ont. on Monday, July 15, 2019. A parliamentary committee will hear this morning from Carigan,  who was recently tapped to lead the military's efforts to change its culture.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Military police chief defends independence; Vance allegedly said he ‘owned’ force

Military police chief defends independence; Vance allegedly said he ‘owned’ force

In this Thursday, May 14, 2020 photo, a doctor holds his stethoscope during a patient visit in Blackburn, England, amid the coronavirus pandemic. Doctors in British Columbia are being warned they could face investigation or penalties from their regulatory body if they contradict public health orders or guidance about COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Hannah McKay/Pool Photo via AP
B.C. doctors could face penalty for veering from COVID-19 health guidelines: college

B.C. doctors could face penalty for veering from COVID-19 health guidelines: college

A vial of the  AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Alberta says it won't give out more first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for the time being.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Hope for a good summer with one dose in arms, if we ‘crush’ COVID-19: Trudeau

Hope for a good summer with one dose in arms, if we ‘crush’ COVID-19: Trudeau

FILE-In this Wednesday, March 17, 2021 file photo, A make-shift memorial is seen outside a business where a multiple fatal shooting occurred on Tuesday, in Acworth, Ga. Robert Aaron Long, 22, accused of killing eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, in shootings at three Atlanta-area massage businesses was indicted Tuesday, May 11, 2021, on murder charges, and a prosecutor filed notice that she'll also seek hate crime charges and the death penalty. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)
Prosecutor plans to seek death penalty in spa shootings

Prosecutor plans to seek death penalty in spa shootings

Most Read