Minor hockey coaches must wear helmets
Published Thursday, November 6, 2008 6:09PM MST
Hockey Alberta will now require all minor hockey coaches to wear helmets while on the ice after one coach in southern Alberta died after falling on the ice and another was put into a coma with a head injury.
The decision also applies to all Junior A, Junior B, college and university coaches.
"It's probably something that should have been done years ago," said minor hockey coach Pat Kernaghan.
Hockey Canada made the recommendation for all minor hockey coaches to wear helmets while on the ice this spring. Since then head injuries incurred from falling on the ice have killed one Alberta coach and put another in a coma.
"Nobody wants to see us lose another coach," said President of Alberta Hockey Terry Ledingham.
Ron Ebbesen, a coach from Strathmore, Alberta, died on Oct. 21 two weeks after he hit his head on the ice during a practice.
Another coach, Mike Peters from Medicine Hat, was put into a coma with a head injury after he fell hard into the boards at a hockey scrimmage on Oct. 1.
The new rule which forces coaches to wear a C.S.A approved helmet with the chin strap securely fastened is prompting some coaches to ask questions about how the rule will be enforced and how far it will go.
"I think it's going to come down to 'how are we going to be penalized and how do you monitor?'" said coach Bryan Keller.
"Are we going to have to wear full equipment, because someone is going to get paralyzed? I just think it's opening some pretty ugly doors," he said.
Keller isn't the only coach having trouble accepting the rule.
"I just got a phonecall from our office and once coach just apparently resigned and you know I wish him well, but it's time to move on," said Ledingham.
Beginning Jan. 1 coaches will be penalized for not wearing a helmet.
With files from Joel Gotlib