Hide the manes! NHL tightens warm-ups, helmet-less with only one exception

Hide the manes! NHL tightens warm-ups, helmet-less with only one exception
Hide the manes! NHL tightens warm-ups, helmet-less with only one exception

“The NHL is making it mandatory to wear a helmet in the pre-game program,” noted journalist Chris Johnston from TSN on Twitter a few days ago.

The change does not appear immediately. That’s probably why even the competition management didn’t issue any official communique. “The rule applies to players who entered the competition in the 2019/2020 season or later. Others have an exception,” Johnston clarifies.

In practice, this means that Blümel, other Czech newcomers Jiříček or Lauko or future world stars such as Lafreniére, Stützle or Slafkovský already have to put on their helmets automatically during the warm-up. After all, she and most of the current NHL staff practice it without regulation.

On the other hand, in addition to the Russian gunner Ovechkin, Tampa captain Stamkos often warms up without head protection or, for example, the Seattle trio Dunn, Larsson or Tanev, who likes to show off his mane.

Sometimes it’s a fad, other times it’s more of a habit or a ritual that the players stick to. “I like this. It’s something the NHL is famous for,” Victor Hedman, Stamkos’ no less famous teammate, told the Tampa Bay Times. “As a kid, you dream of getting there one day, and you don’t take your helmet off at least once.”

As a rule, it is also a grateful moment when fans can easily recognize some of their idols. The gradual tightening of the rules has caused mixed reactions among supporters. “Embarrassingly. Not good for promoting hockey at all,” Sportsnet podcaster Shane O’Brien tweeted.

For example, Jake Leschyshyn from Vegas does not remove his helmet during the pre-game warm-up.

With the new arrangement, the management of the competition is trying to take care of the health of the hockey players more consistently. Warming up without a helmet seems harmless, but just search the Internet for a ten-year-old shot of Taylor Hall.

The then-Edmonton forward slipped while warming up, was hit by a teammate’s skate after the collision, and Hall can be glad he emerged from the terrifying encounter with a monocle and a giant scar that required dozens of stitches.

A stray puck bounce during warmups last month again sidelined Los Angeles guard Alexander Edler for three games. There are countless similar unlucky warm-up injuries. Wearing a helmet would often mitigate some injuries.

The NHL is actually just sticking to a proven approach. In 1979, it was introduced that newly arrived field hockey players must add a helmet to the mandatory equipment. The “creeping” rule caused a few veterans to race around NHL rinks without head protection back in the early 1990s. The last of them was Craig MacTavish, who rejected it even just before his retirement in 1997.

Three years ago, the NHL also modified the rules regarding the loss of a helmet during a game. Until recently, the hockey player could continue, but now he has to immediately go to the substitute.

This unified the rules with the IIHF and European hockey, where helmets are strictly put on already when skating. In the fall of 2019, even the legendary Jaromír Jágr recognized it during the renewed premiere in the extra league. He paid two thousand for the fluttering curls during the warm-up. Because the Kladno bohemian did not learn his lesson, the fine was doubled after the next start.

Only then did he hide the curls for good. And the NHL will meet a similar fate.

The article is in Czech

Tags: Hide manes NHL tightens warmups helmetless exception

NEXT Binotto could head to Audi, Turrini says. Ferrari’s options reduce Juventus’ problems – F1sport.cz