Hockey leagues across the country have made neck guards mandatory, based on availability, following the tragic death of former NHL'er Adam Johnson, who died after his neck was cut by an opponent's skate during a game in England on Oct. 28.

The new rule applies to both the Western Hockey League (WHL) and the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL).

"I think it's a great idea," said Moose Jaw Warriors General Manager Jason Ripplinger. "Obviously, under the circumstances what happened overseas, I think it was great for our league to be proactive and make the players wear neck guards."

Before the rule change took effect on Nov. 3, Ripplinger didn't think any of the Warriors players were wearing neck guards.

"A lot of these kids are just out of minor hockey, most of them have been wearing them so I think a lot of these guys will be comfortable wearing them," he added.

Players will have several different options to choose from including a shirt style, bib style, and the typical circle guard that wraps around the neck.

Ripplinger notes the players are on board with the decision.

"No one has complained about it. They get it. Obviously, they don't want anything like that to happen to themselves or any teammates or anybody in any league. They're all for it."

He mentioned that neck guards have been in short supply, however, the team is hoping to have the equipment in stock in time for Thursday night's matchup against the Brandon Wheat Kings at the Moose Jaw Events Centre.

Moose Jaw Winmar AAA Warriors Head Coach Trevor Weisgerber also agreed with the decision. He says minor hockey league players have been wearing neck guards for as long as he can remember.

"We want whatever is best for the players and the kids. If they come up with something that's even better, that no skate can go through at all, that's at the end of the day what you're looking for and why players wear certain gear. With it being your neck and with what had happened there and the tragic accident, it's something that the companies I'm assuming will be really looking into and if they can make something even better that's for everybody."

All WHL players will be required to wear protective neck guard equipment at all times while participating in on-ice activities, including WHL games and practices.

The CJHL has mandated the use of certified protective neck guards during all on-ice activities, including games and practices, for each of its nine leagues, including the SJHL.

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