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Ice Hockey UK statement: Player Health, Safety and Wellbeing Review, and Action Plan

In response to the tragic passing of Nottingham Panthers player #47 Adam Johnson after an on-ice incident, IHUK as an organisation and we all individually, send our sincerest and heartfelt condolences to Adam Johnson’s family, friends and team-mates.

We also have deep sympathy for anyone else involved in or were witness to the incredibly tragic accident, and praise the professionalism of those officials, paramedics and all other staff that were at the scene.

It is without question an extremely sad moment in time for our sport right around the world and a stark reminder of our collective duties as custodians of the sport.

The health, safety and wellbeing of our players must be our first priority. We have an absolute duty to do everything within our power to prevent a tragic accident like this from ever happening again in our sport.

With this in mind, and the need for short, medium and long-term action, Ice Hockey UK, along with its principal stakeholders has made the decision to continue, and indeed accelerate what has been an ongoing process of review in the key area of player welfare, and carry out the following steps.

1. SHORT TERM (immediate): Ice Hockey UK will extend the existing International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) recommendation, and mandate until further notice, that all players at all levels across the GB representative teams use an approved Ice Hockey Neck Guard/Protector whilst participating in all on ice activities with GB. All protective equipment must be worn without alterations and as directed by the manufacturers’ specification.

2. MEDIUM TERM (within 12 months): Ice Hockey UK, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, including the IIHF Medical Committee, will conduct a thorough Player Health, Safety and Wellbeing Review, considering all aspects of player welfare, including but not limited to safety equipment, e.g. the use of neck guards, helmets, facial protection, mouthguards, player mental health and wellbeing, and the application of IIHF rules.

3. LONG TERM (ongoing): Ice Hockey UK will seek to provide its stakeholders with clear guidance on the ongoing and continuous improvement of player welfare, both nationally and internationally, and their duties within this area. This will include ensuring that all stakeholders can demonstrate that they proactively manage player welfare within their organisations.

It is deeply regrettable that any player loses their life playing our sport, and it is incumbent upon us as the National Governing Body for the sport to do all we can to prevent a repeat of this tragic accident, but also to prevent other foreseeable incidents in the future. We have a moral and legal duty to respond in a measured and reasonable way. It is highly possible that other reviews will take place at a national and international level and Ice Hockey UK will participate proactively in these processes.

Click here to see the letter in full from our Chairman, Lord Clifton Wrottesley.