SBD/March 18, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NHL Players May Be Forced To Wear Visors Due To Insurance Concerns

NHL players have NHLPA support to make a personal choice on wearing visors
For the 27% of the NHL’s 740 players who still do not wear visors, the day they will be "forced to do so may be approaching faster than they think,” according to David Shoalts of the GLOBE & MAIL. And it will be “the insurance industry calling the shots, not the NHL, which has long wanted to make visors mandatory but cannot” because the NHLPA “prefers the matter to remain a personal choice.” Insurance firm Burns & Wilcox Canada has medical policies “with more than 24 minor-league and NHL players that cover them in the case of serious and career-ending injuries.” Burns & Wilcox Senior Personal Accident Underwriter Lalita Mohabir said that the firm “will not insure any amateur players who buy a policy unless they wear a mouthguard and a visor and any NHL player looking to supplement the coverage supplied by the league with a personal policy will soon be told he must do the same or be denied coverage.” Mohabir said, “Going through to the NHL, we have not requested this as yet but we will be doing that. When we look at a player fracturing a hand or bruising a knee it’s quite different than the loss of an eye. The loss of an eye is a career-ending injury.” Shoalts noted the question of making AHL, ECHL and amateur players “wear visors or forego any insurance payments is moot since using them is mandatory in those leagues.” But the NHL “remains the most notable holdout.” Mohabir said that she “has not talked to any of her competitors in the sports insurance field." Mohabir: "I do feel they will be taking this stand as well” (GLOBE & MAIL, 3/18).

RACKING UP THE MILES
: In N.Y., Larry Brooks wrote the “imperfect realignment plan the NHL and NHLPA have adopted for the next three years won’t be as injurious to the sport as the one the MLBPA pushed on baseball,” but it “sure isn’t the utopian landscape the folks running the show like to suggest, either.” The Stars, Red Wings, Blue Jackets, Jets, Avalanche and Wild “benefit from changes that create divisions defined, for the most part, by time zones.” But “nothing is more preposterous than pretending this structure benefits the Lightning and Panthers because of a few extra visits a year by the Canadiens, Maple Leafs and Red Wings.” Travel will be “murderous” (N.Y. POST, 3/17).
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