ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Voluntary Standards Play Defense in Hockey Games

New York, Apr 16, 2007

With the National Hockey League (NHL) Stanley Cup playoffs in full swing, hockey fans turn to the ice to watch the pinnacle event surrounding one of the most dangerous and exciting competitive sports.

A game distinguished by unforgiving, slippery surfaces, airborne pucks that reach speeds of up to 100 mph, lightning-quick maneuvering, and often intentional collisions with other players, ice hockey poses a multitude of inherent safety hazards.

Players rely on specialized equipment to facilitate game play and to provide much-needed protection. Besides their skates and sticks, hockey players don a full range of safety gear, from helmets and mouth guards to shin, elbow, and shoulder pads. A number of standards help to keep them protected, ensuring that essential equipment meets specified performance and safety requirements.

USA Hockey, the governing body for amateur ice hockey in the United States, mandates the use of equipment that has been certified by HECC (the Hockey Equipment Certification Council). HECC-certified equipment satisfies the requirements of standards set by recognized standard developing organizations such as ASTM International, a member of the American National Standards Institute.

ASTM F1045-06, Standard Performance Specification for Ice Hockey Helmets, is used to assess the performance of players’ helmets and is intended to reduce the risk of head injury without compromising the form and appeal of the game. The standard specifies minimum requirements for head coverage, as well as the location and size of any helmet openings. Helmets that meet ASTM F1045 are also tested for adequate shock absorption and for the strength and elongation properties of the chin strap.

Designed to reduce the demonstrated hazards of the sport involving the face and eyes, ASTM F513-00, Standard Safety Specification for Eye and Face Protective Equipment for Hockey Players, is used to evaluate face protectors worn over helmets for added defense against injury. Under the standard, face protectors are assessed for stick blade penetration, area of coverage, impact resistance, field of vision, and compatibility with helmets.

Due to their position as the last line of defense against the competition’s oncoming goal, goaltenders wear special equipment to protect against direct hits from the puck. ASTM F1587-99(2005), Standard Specification for Head and Face Protective Equipment for Ice Hockey Goaltenders, details specifications for protective head and face gear worn only by goalies. These requirements balance the need for increased head coverage and high impact resistance while ensuring an unobstructed field of view.

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