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Heads Up, Don't Duck Hockey

Heads Up, Don't Duck Hockey

Coaches have been telling players to play heads up hockey for years. Not only is it easier to make passes or score a goal when you can see what is going on, but playing with your head up is very important to player safety.  Players that are aware of their surroundings, including an opponent coming to deliver a body check are less likely to suffer injuries.

Now, research has shown that playing with your head up, particularly around the boards, can reduce the chances of sustaining a neck injury. In the video below, Olympians Ryan Suter and Jenny Potter discuss how important it is to keep your head up instead of ducking when playing around the boards.

Here are a few tips on how to help prevent neck injuries:

  • Rule #1 - HEADS UP, DON'T DUCK
  • Hit the boards or goal posts with an arm, a leg or anything but your head first.
  • Skate into the boards on an angle to dig out the puck.
  • Taking a check: Keep your head out of it. Skates parallel to the boards, knees bent, low center of gravity. Skate through the check and get away quickly.
  • No checking from behind. It’s illegal, dangerous and bad hockey.
  • Wear a snug-fitting, HECC-certified helmet in good shape, plus full facial protection.
  • Use a mouth guard every time you’re on the ice.

When you hit the ice this season, remember Heads Up, Don't Duck and you can help make hockey a safer game to play.