youth hockey

Lawmaker Wants CT to Require Neck Guards After Death of Teen Hockey Player

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After the tragic death of a high school hockey player, Connecticut state representative plans to introduce legislation that would require all hockey players to wear a neck guard, or something similar, during practice or games.

Teddy Balkind, a sophomore at St. Luke’s School in New Canaan, died after an accident during a JV hockey game against the Brunswick School in Greenwich.

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference requires neck guards for competition but does not govern private schools. St. Luke’s is a part of the New England Preparatory School Council, which recommends but does not require neck guards.

One of Balkind’s friends, Sam Brande, a high school hockey player in Massachusetts, started a petition on Change.org for USA Hockey to require neck guards for youth hockey.

State Rep. Nicole Klarides-Ditria plans to introduce legislation during the upcoming session to require all hockey players to wear a neck guard or similar protective device during practice or games.

“It’s incredibly heartbreaking what happened last week and sadly this tragic accident may have been preventable had the teams been required to wear neck guards,” Klarides-Ditria said in a statement. “Fast-paced and physical sports like hockey can sometimes be dangerous which is why players wear shin pads, gloves and other protective equipment, a neck guard is one more small piece to keep players safe.”

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