There is some backlash to a move to have all Junior B hockey players in BC wear full face protection starting next season.
BC Hockey announced the change Tuesday, saying it will reduce injuries and cut insurance and dental costs.
It will affect three junior B leagues in BC including the Kootenay International League.
North Okanagan Kings coach and general manager Bryant Perrier says it caught him and their owner Dean Keller off guard.
“We have a severe problem with this because none of the owners were notified on it. I think there was a small discussion on this. They didn’t say they were going through with this, they said they were going to discuss it, so this thing has opened up a can of worms with no communication,” Perrier tells Kiss FM.
Perrier — who has also coached in the BCHL and played in the NCAA using a full face shield — also disagrees with suggestions it will make the game safer for players.
“Let’s open this up for discussion, but I guarantee you, with these cages on, at our level with older kids — they got to think about 19 and 20 year olds — there’s going to be a lot of shots to the head because they know they’re not going to fight.”
Perrier says wearing full face protection will lead to more head shots and potential concussions, and will hamper players ability to move up to higher levels of junior.
“If something happens and a guy has to defend himself, and if they’ve got two cages on, what are they going to do? Punch the cages, remove the helmets, cross check each other in the face? It’s a head shot, and I think there’s more danger doing that, way more danger. And you’re going to see more injuries and more concussions,” adds Perrier.
The veteran coach and GM also says it won’t help older players in the league.
“What happens to the 19 and 20 year olds. The good players, maybe they don’t play in this league anymore, maybe they go play in another junior b league, or they don’t play. Because how many of them are gong to want to wear a full cage? And this is the players talking. This is what we’re hearing from the players.”
Perrier is hoping BC Hockey will revisit the decision.