Playing hockey is risky, even at our level with no checking.
Here are today’s main topics
- The Most Common Hockey Injuries
- 7 Ways to Reduce Your Risk on the Ice
- Warming Up Your Goalie
- NHL Skate Blade Accidents
- Hockey Clothing You Probably Don’t Wear
- Safety Off the Ice
- What does “Stay On The Ice” mean?
Body parts listed at these two sites are: Head, Neck, Shoulders, Knees, Groin, Hamstring, Legs (Calf), Foot and Ankle, Hand, Back – Isn’t this every body part we have?
Types of Injuries: Concussion, Sprains & Strains, Cuts, and Lacerations, Bruises and Contusions, Muscle Cramps, Muscle Soreness and Overtraining Syndrome (probably the only one that won’t affect me).
7 Ways To Reduce Risk
- Consult your physician before playing hockey
If they know you well enough, they may say go for it. Or they may want to give you a complete physical before giving you the OK to play.
- Wear good gear
– Make sure it fits properly for maximum protection and is comfortable.
– You don’t need to get the very best equipment, but don’t get the cheapest either.
– I wouldn’t get a $50 helmet. After getting my concussion I think the helmet is our most important piece of gear.
IMPORTANT: After every time you play, check all your equipment for defects. Skate laces ready to break? Helmet: Not cracked, Facemask screws tight, straps in good shape and holding your helmet on your head properly. Many NHL players have their chin strap hanging way under their chin. I recommend that your chin strap fits snug, so your helmet stays in place.
- Proper warm-up
Stretching before you get on the ice (I stretch at home).
Once on the ice, start slow until your muscles are warmed up. I don’t touch a puck until my legs feel warmed up.
- Don’t play over your skill level
Even though I feel I’m a decent skater, I’m not going to play in an Over 30 Beer League. I wouldn’t even play in Over 30 DIH/PUH. Some of the guys may have been playing college hockey a few years ago and can skate circles around me. This level of hockey tends to include rougher play, harder slap shots, and alcohol. Slap shots = no one between you and the goalie (I got hurt). It’s also possible that a player or two may have a few beers before stepping on the ice (It is called a Beer League). This can result in some chippy play and injuries, that I’m not interested in anymore.
- Get in shape
The more you skate, the better you’ll get. Your legs and other body parts will get stronger, reducing the chance of injury.
This past Friday in DIH we didn’t have enough players because some guys were out of town for a tournament. I played defense again. Normally we have 3 line changes, so we skate for 2 minutes and rest for four minutes. We only had 3 guys on defense. So, we rotated doing double shifts: 4 minutes on the ice and a 2-minute rest. The last 10 minutes was brutal. When you get this tired, that’s when you are more likely to get hurt.
- Know your limits
Stay in control on the ice. I’ve been guilty of this. This is even more important as you get tired. You know what you want to do, but if your legs feel like rubber, you’re not going to be able to turn, stop and keep your balance like you could at the beginning of the game. Remember that when you fall you may get hurt, but you could also injure other players, especially with your skate blades.
- Don’t try to stop your opponent by doing something you’ll regret
I remember at the Fantasy Camp Dave Lewis telling us campers not to do anything foolish to hurt the NHL players with $1m legs. We don’t have big hockey contracts, but our health is just as important as any NHL player. If a player makes a nice move to get past you, don’t trip them. Don’t cross-check someone, because you are frustrated you can’t get the puck away from them.
Remember, we’re more likely to get injured, now that we’re older. Injuries also take a lot longer to recover from, which may keep you off the ice.
NOTE: I see more rough play in DIH because players know they won’t get a penalty. Plus there are younger skaters (50 which makes a difference). Having referees in league games is like having a cop behind you while driving. You are more likely to behave yourself.
Too often I believe we take our goalies for granted and think they can’t get hurt because they wear so much equipment.
I would probably get hurt the first time I tried to block a shot with all that gear on.
I’ve included an image from Coach Jeremy at HowToHockey.com on Warming Up The Goalie
NHL Skate Blade Accidents
- 1989: – Clint Malarchuk’s throat/jugular vein was cut by a stray skate. It required 300 stitches to close the 6” wound. Clint believed he was going to die. He said “All I wanted to do was get off the ice. My mother was watching the game on TV, and I didn’t want her to see me die.” Goalie for the Buffalo Sabres.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tg1uzVjdYC4 (WARNING: Very Graphic!)
- 2008: A teammates skate blade cut Richard Zednik’s carotid artery. Right winger for the Florida Panthers.
- 2013: Erik Karlsson had his Achilles tendon sliced. Defenseman and Captain of the Ottawa Senators.
Fortunately, these players did return to playing hockey.
Erik Karlsson is still playing and is one of the best players in the NHL.
These types of injuries are rare, but they can happen to any of us. When older players (includes me) get tired, we are more likely to fall. Be extremely careful when getting up if other players are near you. Skate blades can kill us! I’m so thankful no one got cut when my skates went from under me and I landed on the back of my head. Getting a concussion sucked, but now I realize someone could have been seriously hurt from my skates.
Hockey Clothing You Probably Don’t Wear
Required in kid’s leagues
Core Neck (Kevlar) Protect Shirt – $60
Cut-Resistant Hockey Socks – Swiftwick – $40
After Erik Karlsson’s injury, an increased amount of NHL players sought protective socks – Protective sock could have prevented Karlsson’s injury
Skate fender (defense) – $80
I remember wearing ankle guards when I played on my high school team. I think they were leather and looked like ankle weights. If I continue to play defense, I should get these.
Do ice rinks have defibrillators and trained staff?
In February 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the federal government will spend $10 million to put more defibrillators in Canada’s hockey rinks.
I don’t know if the United States or other countries are putting defibrillators in their rinks. I can’t find any information.
Portable defibrillators are being widely used. They weigh between four and seven pounds and cost between $2,500 and $4,500. American Airlines has them on all their flights. A lay person, particularly one who has had CPR training, can be taught to use an AED in five or six hours.
– 2005: Jiri Fischer from the Detroit Red Wings collapsed on the team’s bench after suffering a seizure. He had previously been diagnosed with a heart abnormality. Jiri never played in the NHL again. He is currently the Red Wings Director of Player Development.
– 1998 Playoffs: Chris Pronger (was a great defenseman for the St. Louis Blues) got hit in the chest with a shot playing against the Detroit Red Wings. He dropped to the ice. I was at this game; the arena went silent. He was OK.
– I guess my age makes me think about this now.
I hope I haven’t scared any of you so much that you want to quit or never play hockey. I just want all of us to realize the dangers we face.
Safety Off the Ice
- Throw rugs (Local Fire Marshall) – Throw seniors to the ground
OK to put in slippery areas: Kitchen and Bathroom, but not too many
- Not wearing slippers or shoes in your house (my Dad was strict on this)
- Use the hand rails going up and down stairs (I’m not good with this)
At the end of all my podcasts and website pages, I say Stay On The Ice.
Yes, we all want to play as long as we can, but we also have to listen to our bodies, doctors and spouses. If you have an injury that needs rest to heal, then you must decide if you’re going to temporarily stop playing.
If you feel like something is going to break every time you skate, then maybe it’s time to hang up your skates. You could go out and “Take it Easy”, but that may not be the best option. I think you’re more likely to get hurt if you try to change your style of play.
We all Love Hockey, but we also want to be healthy enough to play with our grandkids and enjoy life when we retire.
I think not playing hockey anymore because we physically can’t or maybe our doctor or spouse tells us to stop, is going to be like not being able to drive anymore. We know that day is going to come if we are lucky enough to live that long, but it isn’t something we look forward to.
If you’ve been listening to this podcast you know I’ve had my share of injuries since returning to hockey in 2017.
Episode 1: I talked about my injuries and what caused them. Lessons Learned Returning To Hockey
Nov 1st my primary insurance changed to Medicare. Hopefully this works as good as advertised.
$20 Hockey league Insurance. What does league medical insurance cover?
Check with your league to see what’s covered.
Something about me
Last time I mention my first job was a caddie at a country club. Like most kid’s I also had a lemonade/Kool-Aid stand in front of our house. In the winter, I shoveled snow from neighbor’s sidewalks and driveways for money. I never cut lawns for money, because I had bad allergies and asthma when I was young. I got allergy shots once a week for years.
In my baby book, I got from my mom, there is the following certificate: This is to certify that James has been graduated from Speech Class.
This certificate is dated April 6, 1960 (7 yr – 3rd grade – Kindergarten at 4 yr).
I was in this speech class because I had a bad stuttering problem. I remember some kids called me Porky the Pig.
I think the resolution for me was to slow down when talking. So I was lucky this class corrected my issue.
I hope you enjoyed this episode.
I believe Hockey Safety is an important topic that we all need to take seriously.
Please share my podcast with friends and other players.
Let me know if you have any other suggestions to keep us safe.
Show Notes for this episode are located at AgelessHockey.com/9
You can also leave a comment at this location
My email is Jim@AgelessHockey.com
Please visit AgelessHockey.com for more information
I value your time and appreciate all of you for subscribing to my podcast. Thanks for listening!
Have fun playing the greatest game on earth!
STAY ON THE ICE