NHL Making Visors Mandatory in '13-14; Players Will Be Grandfathered In To New Rule
The NHL competition committee "emerged from a day-long meeting late Tuesday afternoon to announce that it had decided to grandfather-in visors, making them mandatory beginning next season for all players with less than 26 games of NHL experience," according to James Mirtle of the GLOBE & MAIL. The decision will require "a rubber stamp from the NHL’s board of governors and the NHL Players’ Association’s executive board, but both will simply be formalities after a survey of players found the majority were on board with the move." The move comes "almost exactly two months to the day" after Rangers D Marc Staal was hit in the eye with a puck and "suffered extensive damage that will likely impact his vision the rest of his life." Visor usage in the NHL "increased to a record high" of 73% this season, which is up "dramatically from approximately" 15% in '98-99, 28% in '01-02 and 50% in '07. Even so, there was "little support for immediately making visors mandatory for all players when the NHLPA surveyed its players in the past few days." Grandfathering them in "became the compromise solution." Yesterday’s competition committee meeting was "attended by all of the league’s top decision makers," including Commissioner Gary Bettman, NHLPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr and Flyers Chair Ed Snider. The other main issues the competition committee discussed were "shrinking goaltending equipment, introducing a hybrid icing rule and forming a subcommittee to look at all players’ equipment." Several "minor tweaks will be introduced in time for next season, including nets that are four inches shallower to allow for more room behind the goal, video review for four-minute high-sticking penalties and the use of hybrid icing in preseason" (GLOBE & MAIL, 6/5).