Bob Marsh                                Princeton’s Ryan Radke is helped off the ice during a game against North Okanagan in November. Radke suffered cuts and abrasions to his face that a full shield might have prevented.

Bob Marsh Princeton’s Ryan Radke is helped off the ice during a game against North Okanagan in November. Radke suffered cuts and abrasions to his face that a full shield might have prevented.

Local hockey players unhappy with new face shield rule

Coach calls it a right of passage

Princeton’s elite hockey players are less than thrilled with a recent BC Hockey decision that Junior B teams will wear full face protection starting next season.

“None of them are really happy about it,” said Posse head coach Mark McNaughton.

“I told them they really have three choices. They can wear it, they can work hard enough to make Junior A, or they can quit hockey.”

The move is an attempt to make players safer on the ice, by reducing dental and facial injuries.

However McNaughton said players see the right to choose less face protection as a measure of how far they’ve come in the game.

“It’s one of those things that junior hockey players really look forward to, being able to put on that half shield. It’s a bit of a right of passage for hockey players.”

He said full face protection will “not really” have an impact on the game.

“It doesn’t make you play any better or worse depending on what you have on your face, as far as I’m concerned,” he said.

There is a safety factor, he conceded.

“It will eliminate, basically, 99 per cent of the dental injuries and 90 per cent of cuts and stuff but as far as major injuries I don’t think it will have much effect.”