USA Hockey Magazine

November 2014

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Page 18 of 58

17 THEY POP OUT OF THE LOCKER ROOM, covered from head to toe in plastic shells and protective padding, fierce looking little gladiators ready for battle. Underneath all that armor, it's hard to imagine that any- thing could possibly happen to them. But what makes hockey such a great game to play and so much fun to watch — the speed, intensity, non-stop action and physicality — also opens players up to the risk of injury. Which leads to ask the age-old question, are we doing enough to make hockey a safer sport? From endorsing tougher equipment standards and rule changes to providing better education for coaches and officials, USA Hockey never stops trying to make the game safer at every level. But no rule will keep our players safe if not properly enforced. No piece of gear, no matter how cutting edge, will protect players if not fitted properly and worn cor- rectly. No amount of coaching education will help if it falls on deaf ears. Keeping our kids protected in a safe environment while holding true to all the things that make our game so much fun is the responsibility of everyone, from players to parents, coaches to officials. Hockey Safety WHEN IT COMES TO SAFETY, IT'S EVERYONE'S JOB TO PROTECT OUR KIDS BY MARK BURNS PHOTOGRAPH BY KEVIN WHITE SAFE PLAYING IT

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