Capitals’ T.J. Oshie wears neck guard during game vs. Islanders

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Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie wore a neck guard in a game against the New York Islanders on Thursday night. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Oshie participated in warmups wearing the neck guard developed by his clothing company, Warroad Hockey.
  • This follows Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin wearing turtleneck-style protection in Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Winnipeg Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers also wore neck protection Thursday during his game against the Vegas Golden Knights.
  • During Capitals practice Thursday, forward Tom Wilson wore a base layer shirt with neck protection.

T.J. Oshie was on the ice in warmups Thursday night while wearing a @WarroadHockeyCo neck guard following the death of Adam Johnson.

Oshie founded Warroad.

🎥 @Sportsnet

pic.twitter.com/WqgOHZBbuo

— The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) November 2, 2023

Backstory

Oshie wearing a neck guard comes after former NHL forward and Nottingham Panthers player Adam Johnson died following a “freak accident” in a match in Britain’s top hockey league last Saturday. Johnson suffered a serious cut to the neck from a skate.

In the wake of Johnson’s death, the English Ice Hockey Association (EIHA) approved neck guards/protectors as a mandatory piece of equipment for “players at all levels across English Ice Hockey.” The mandate will take effect Jan. 1, 2024, but does not include the Elite Ice Hockey League, which Nottingham participates in.

On Wednesday, the Western Hockey League (WHL) mandated that players will be required to wear neck guard protection effective Friday. The WHL joins the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) as major junior hockey leagues making neck guard protection mandatory for players.

Four Pittsburgh Penguins players donned neck protection gear during practice Thursday at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

The players — forward Lars Eller and defensemen Erik Karlsson, Marcus Pettersson and Ryan Graves — wore black sleeves that connected at the back. The Penguins were the first NHL team to reach out to the league about experimenting with neck protection following Johnson’s death.

Johnson played 13 games for the Penguins from 2018-19 through 2019-20.

The Penguins mandated their minor-league affiliates, the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins (AHL) and Wheeling Nailers (ECHL), have players begin wearing neck gear, Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said Monday. The AHL Penguins played Wednesday night, but players did not wear neck gear — likely because equipment manufacturers have been unable to meet the demands of hockey teams at every level that are seeking to procure neck protection.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Wednesday the NHL and its Players Association would explore options for neck protective equipment, which unlike helmets and visors is not mandated in the league.

Required reading

  • How the Penguins are leading push for NHL neck protection after Adam Johnson’s death
  • After Adam Johnson’s death, will ‘stubborn’ NHL players embrace neck-protective gear?
  • Shocked by Adam Johnson’s death, former Penguins teammates remember ‘a great young man’

(Photo: John McCreary / NHLI via Getty Images)

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