Neck guard

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A goalie wearing a neck guard.

A neck guard is a piece of protective equipment worn by an ice hockey player around the neck area. The guard is designed to prevent injury to the neck by pucks, hockey sticks, and skate blades.

This piece is critical to goaltenders, who are more likely at risk to be injured in this area. Buffalo Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk suffered a severe injury during a game against the St. Louis Blues on March 22, 1989, when Steve Tuttle collided in front of Malarchuk's goal and his skates got caught on the front of Malarchuk's neck, slicing open his internal jugular vein. Malarchuk made a full recovery, but would have almost certainly died if medical assistance was not provided. Ever since then, many National Hockey League (NHL) goaltenders have worn neck guards, such as Henrik Lundqvist, Marc-André Fleury, and Semyon Varlamov. However, it isn't required for NHL goaltenders to wear them.

On February 10, 2008, Florida Panthers forward Richard Zedník was behind the play and skating into the right corner of the Buffalo Sabres' zone, when teammate Olli Jokinen lost his balance after being checked by Clarke MacArthur. Jokinen fell head-first to the ice, his right leg flew up and struck Zedník directly on the side of the neck, hitting Zedník's external carotid artery. Clutching his neck, Zedník raced to the Florida bench, leaving a long trail of blood along the way, and nearly falling into the arms of a team trainer. He fully recovered from the injury. Neck guards have been mandatory for all players in Sweden following the 1996 death of Bengt Åkerblom in a similar accident.

Most neck guards, such as those manufactured by Bauer, contain fabric that is BNQ (Bureau de Normalisation du Quebec)-certified.[1] Most neck guards have a moisture system which helps keep the guard cool, ensuring the player's neck won't get too hot while working.


  1. ^ "SUPREME Neck Guard". BAUER. Retrieved 2017-03-15.

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