Hours after ACHA Insider reported that the NCAA would announce a transition from full cages to half-shields, NCAA hockey denied that rumor via its official Twitter page. The NCAA simply responded “Sorry, but this is not true. More info to come Friday.”
Naturally, we’ll know more about what exactly the NCAA has planned tomorrow. In the mean time, it seems reasonable to discuss the merits of making such a change.
The minus is that a half-shield would present less facial protection than a full cage (which is on display in this post’s main image). On the other hand, one could argue that it would be that much easier to transition from the NCAA to pro hockey by playing with similar gear.
Which direction would you go in, then?
Tough guys like George Parros won’t wear visors until the NHL makes them mandatory, but the mustachioed fighter might want to don one in practice. Parros took two pucks to the face in recent practices – one under his right eye (Oct. 26) and the most recent to his left eye on Friday, Nov. 4. That last one forced him to undergo laser eye surgery today, a procedure that will sideline him for about one month.
Parros even put up a photo of his stitched-up eye on Twitter recently.
Parros joked that his left eye must have gotten jealous of the dinged-up right side of his face, which you can see from this photo (also via Parros’ Twitter):
Parros is an Ivy League graduate, so it’s not like the “tough dumb hockey player” line of argument works here. Still, his job is to intimidate and fight, which means he’s unlikely to don a visor (at least any longer than he’s forced to).
It feels strange to say this, but hopefully future stitches will come from fists, not wayward pucks. He’ll have to wait until December or so for that to happen again, though.
Mike Brophy reports that Chris Pronger is “home and resting” after what looked like a very scary eye injury tonight. He left the ice immediately after taking a high stick to the face, letting out a frightening scream that was audible during the telecast. Brophy indicates that doctors told Pronger he “should be OK” after that scare.
CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio reports that Pronger will be on bed rest for three days but could return in as soon as 10 days. Pronger is dealing with swelling around that eye, but again, it seems like he avoided a major problem. (Panaccio reports that Pronger will wear a face shield, at least to start.)
Naturally, this close call will probably bring the mandatory visors debate back to hockey forums. Sooner or later another player is going to have his career cut short because of a scary injury, but it doesn’t seem like many players are taking note of these incidents unless it affects them directly.
Either way, it’s a relief to hear that Pronger is OK in the big picture, but we’ll have to wait and see if that diagnosis is a little bit optimistic. Even a player as tough as Pronger would seemingly need more time to deal with what looked like a very dangerous moment, but initial reports are very positive. Stay tuned for updates.