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WHL making neck guards mandatory for all players

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Western Hockey League (WHL) players will be required to wear neck guards starting this week.

The league announced its mandatory neck guard protection policy will go into effect on Nov. 3, or as soon as the equipment is available to teams.

“All WHL players will be required to wear protective neck guard equipment at all times while participating in on-ice activities, including WHL games and practices,” the WHL said in a news release Wednesday.

The league noted, however, that it could face some challenges in acquiring neck guards from licensed suppliers due to increased demand following the death of Adam Johnson.

Johnson, a 29-year-old American hockey player, died after his neck was cut by a skate blade during a game in England on Oct. 28.

Johnson’s death has prompted some leagues and teams across Canada to discuss neck protection for players.

Hayley Wickenheiser, a four-time Olympic women’s hockey gold medallist who completed medical school after her playing career and current assistant general manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs, called for mandatory neck protection “at every level in hockey," following the incident.

With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press

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