Death of a player from a skate to the neck reignites hockey’s stubborn debate over protective gear

The death of American hockey player Adam Johnson from a cut to the neck in England has reignited the debate over skate blade safety. The tragedy has made many in the NHL and at other levels think differently about cut-resistant neck protection. Recent incidents of players being sliced in the wrist or through an Achilles tendon have brought some changes. But mandating neck, wrist, or leg protection is easier said than done even in a sport played at high speeds with razor blades attached to players’ feet. It comes with resistance, much like masks, helmets, visors, and other protective gear that took time to implement.