- User Rating: Very Good
Pros:Can keep freak accidents from being a big deal
Cons:Uncomfortable, considered unfashionable by trendy youths
The Bottom Line: The CCM Neck protector could be the difference between a life threatening injury or no big deal
▪ The worst that can happen
Hockey skates can inflict some serious wounds. A few years ago NHL hockey player, Joe Sakic, had someone step on his thigh and the skate cut him to the bone, literally. I saw a player buying a new helmet because he misplaced the earflaps he had removed and nearly lost an ear as the result. One guy I know was nearly killed while sitting when a collision on the ice cart-wheeled a player into bench. The result was a skate blade cutting his throat and sending him to the hospital for emergency surgery.
Thats almost enough to make you want to pull your kid out of hockey, but all of those were freak accidents the type of thing that happens to one out of a million players. If you think hard enough about it, Id bet you can come up with similarly gruesome tales for the most innocuous of activities. (I know a guy who lost a finger hanging up a soccer net too). You send your kids out to ride their bikes with helmets not because it is likely they will need them as much as because you want to avoid such bizarre accidents.
In hockey a neck protector is much the same. Canadian Leagues generally require all players under age 18 to wear neck protection. The U.S. Leagues for the most part do not.
This means that parents need to make the rules and decide if neck protectors are important to wear.
▪ Neck Protectors
Neck protectors in general dont appear as if they are going to do much of anything. In fact, most have little or no padding. The CCM Neck Protector is no exception. It is lightly padded, but there isnt enough bulk to ward against a blow from a puck or stick leaving a large bruise.
The point of a neck protector isnt to prevent contusions, but to minimize the possibility of lacerations. To this end, all of the neck protectors that I have seen, including the CCM, are made from ballistic nylon with Kevlar for cut resistance. This means that a stick or skate to the neck will likely still hurt, but has less chance of being life threatening.
▪ Various Styles
The CCM Neck Protector is a simple collar style. It is little more than a band around the neck with some padding and a Velcro strap to adjust it. Other styles have a bit more comprehensive protection with an attached shirt to ensure more complete protection. There is an in-between style that incorporates a short or long, lightly padded bib as well.
CCMs collar style will give adequate protection to the neck. Again this is a device meant to protect from cuts to the neck, so the longer protection of the bib and shirt styles will add a small amount of cut protection to the upper chest, but many shoulder pads already cover this area as well.
▪ Getting kids to wear one
This might be the biggest issue that any parent will face with a neck protector. Kids simply find them uncomfortable. Honestly, they dont set high standards in that area. Of course there is the issue of, But Dad, Ill look like a geek! as well. Trying to tell a kid how cool they might look with stitches in their neck doesnt seem likely to go over too well either.
The CCM Neck Protector is a little more comfortable than some do as it does have a bit more padding in it. The Terrycloth lining promises more comfort than any of the competitions lining as well. The neck protectors in the shirt style neck protectors seem pretty nice, but the long sleeve shirt might be a hassle for some who prefer a lighter undergarment.
With some of the injuries that Ive seen, its surprising that USA Hockey doesnt require these for any age group in youth hockey. It seems the only sure way to get kids to wear them and educate parents of how important they might really be.
A few of my other reviews that you might find helpful:
Fitting and Selecting Hockey Protective Gear
Bauer Protec Toe
Jaybird Hockey Friction Tape
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