Thursday, June 07, 2012

Caged Culture Going Away??

One of the biggest things you see that unique to the college hockey game isn't always the marching bands, but the fact they have full-facial protection for their players, whether it be a full visor or cage. However, with a possible rule change, that may all come to an end.

Every two years, the NCAA rules committee looks at the game and see how they can tinker here and there. Not only are they looking at overtime, but they're also looking at the face of the players. There has been a movement for players to go from a full-face protection to the "aviator" three-quarter shield. In a world where the idea of eye injuries are being batted back and forth in the professional level, it makes you wonder if the NCAA is making this move to help their players progress or regression in the face of safety.

Granted, the aviator design will be a little more protective than the regular visor, it still is much less protective than the full covering they had. Though, outside of midget hockey, NCAA is only league that requires a full-face protection for their players over the age of 18. Even the USHL and NAHL, both junior programs that USA Hockey governs, have the ability for players over 18 to ditch the full protection....I think, their rules aren't up on their website, but I would assume it's the same rulebook as the USA Hockey. Even with the Canadian Hockey League allowing players, even under the age of 18, to play with just a half-visor, it maybe makes NCAA archaic in a way.

It makes you wonder if this is a way to help the players who committed to a college stay there because it would draw closer to the NHL experience in terms of not having to deal with the full-face protection, though I'm sure it's a little more about evolution. Which is a bit odd considering that there's such a huge outcry when it comes to the NHL for more facial protection to be introduced, including the on-again, off-again debate of mandatory visors.

More over, I wonder what this does (if anything) to insurance costs should this thing get passed. While it could raise the premiums of certain aspects of the player's insurance, would it be too much for universities to shoulder the load, especially those one a stretched budget as it is?? More over, will there be a big uproar if these creates more mouth/jaw injuries??

All in all, it's a good step in advancing themselves, drawing even with their Canadian counterparts when it comes to recruits. It will make the experience close to the NHL side and not make players stand-out too much. Plus, it won't make USA junior-tier players feel like they're being reverted back to a much younger time for them. Not only all of that, but it would also give the NCAA a more professional feel to the game, even though they are amateurs.

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