The Unfortunate Need for Neck Protection in Hockey

Tyler Bertuzzi

I say an unfortunate need because it has taken a long time and too many tragedies for leagues and governing bodies (besides Hockey Canada and the IIHF to name a few) to take a serious look at mandating neck protection for their players.

There have been too many injuries to count over the years about cuts to various parts of the body from skate blades with ones cutting the neck sticking in our minds and with the most recent Adam Johnson incident that has garnered world headlines. Our thoughts are with Adam, his family, friends and the hockey community in general as all navigate his loss and the need for more protection.

An accident that seems to be increasing can be preventable with protection from established products on the market. In this we aim to shed light on a few options for players that are available on the market and that are in high demand currently. We will explain the options with their features, price (USD) and availability in an effort to help get players more protected.



To start, there are two certifications that most companies try to receive for their guards and that is CE certification and BNQ. CE is a European certification that you see on any product that may be sold in Europe and CE has their own guidelines to dictate if a products is safe, healthy and able to be utilized in Europe.

Each product needs to be tested by a CE certified lab and will receive a pass/fail grade with feedback if failing. BNQ is specifically for cut resistant materials which stands for Bureau de Normalisation du Quebec. They have set up testing requirements with a sharp blade swing test to verify the cut resistance, they have also set guidelines for the amount of coverage needed to cover the vital areas of the neck.

Neil Pionk, Winnipeg Jets

For the most part this is a Canadian guideline, but the majority of companies making cut resistant products want to sell in both Canada and Europe so they include both BNQ and CE certifications on the products.

The thing to keep in mind is that the old days of neck guards being uncomfortable and rigid are most definitely a thing of the past. The materials now are very comfortable and contour to the body with moister wicking properties. So let’s get into it with a few options from Shirts with neck guards and just neck guards. There are many options out there and these are just a few. When looking at options that may not be included make sure there are certifications of BNQ and CE when possible


Has a padded Kevlar cut resistant neck guard from all that I have seen it does not offer any BNQ or CE certification as of now. Offers a Velcro adjustment on the neck so the player can customize the tightness to the neck to achieve optimum comfort. Also has cut resistant material in the wrist area to protect against any blade cuts in between the elbow pad and the glove. Being it is a base layer it offers moisture wicking properties to keep you dry or from overheating during play This is a great option for both Youth and Adult when back in stock, the perk is that it also offers the wrist protection from cuts. Down fall is the price as it is the more expensive option, but you get more protection and great quality.


Offers DuPont™ Kevlar® brand fibers for the neck guard and is BNQ and CE certified with Velcro adjustability. Added feature is Bauers HeiQ Fresh tech and Smart temp Tech that assists in prevention of the odor causing bacteria and helps regulate body temp to keep you cool as needed. Also added is gripper print on the arms to lock the elbow pads in better. These are a great option in both Youth and Adult where and when available. It is very protective, but drawback is that it does go higher up on the neck and for some that is more to get used to Offers DuPont ™ Kevlar ® brand fibers for cut resistant protection with a 100% Para Aramid fiber lining and is BNQ and CE certified protection.

T.J. Oshie

This also offers the HeiQ Fresh technology prevents odor-causing bacteria. An inexpensive option for players to get proper protection and for them to try and get used to wearing neck guards, is a little more rigid to potentially not work the best for some players. CCM Is BNQ and CE certification offers an adjustable neck attachment for a custom fit, utilizes moisture-wicking fabric to keep players dry. Seems basic, but is very comfortable and players prefer the neck protector as it is slightly lower cut and more flexible to increase comfort and still meets all standard certifications.

Shock Doctor

Ultra Compression Hockey Long Sleeve Shirt w/ Integrated Neck Guard

Compression shirt with four way stretch designed to match the shape of the player’s body while in play and while in movement, providing great comfort and performance. Offers Shock Doctors Sleeve Lock™ design along with silicone grip to keep elbow pads in place while playing. Velcro closure provides custom comfort on the neck guard for comfort and protection. BNQ & CE Certified

Great option for both performance and neck protection, great price and the neck protection is flexible and comfortable. For the price is product and great to see a women’s fit. Only downfall is the neck guard may ride up a little high, but something that can get used to.

Shock Doctor

Shock Doctor

Ultra 2.0 Neck Guard $19.99 USD Youth, Junior, Senior Low-profile anatomical lightweight and flexible design for best in class comfort and movability, Velcro closure for custom fit. BNQ and CE certified  It is the most flexible, low cut, comfortable and inexpensive design on this list.

Featured Image Credits: Yahoo, THN

Jason Kacures

Jason Kacures

I've been passionate about hockey throughout my life, playing and coaching for over 20 years. My interest in hockey equipment evolved into a rewarding career in the industry, with over two decades of experience in managerial roles. I take pride in growing the game, helping players improve, and enhancing their enjoyment through quality products.

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