According to New York times, hockey helmets will now have a standard, 5 star rating system and it won’t make them sexy. More padding is required in the helmet to reduce the probability of concussions resulting from direct blows to the head. Viginia Tech scientists already tested and ranked the 23 available helmets for football. Those rated 5 stars have the best chance of preventing a concussion during impact. The key to safety is the amount of padding in the helmet and that will make helmets larger and more round, not something professional hockey players will want to see on their heads, unless they want to look like the Great Gazoo.
Sales of the NR and 1 star football helmets plummeted as parents moved to higher rated helmets to ensure better safety for their children. This forced football equipment manufacturers like Riddell to change course and offer more effective helmets to consumers. Will this happen in hockey? It is hard to say, as far the large hockey equipment manufacturers go so far, they are skeptical. Looks trump safety with the pros, who only recently, despite overwhelming evidence that visors save eyes, started wearing eye protection on their helmets in droves.
Will looks trump safety with hockey parents? We will see. At the end of the day parents are the ones buying hockey helmets and if they aren’t as safe as they’ve thought the manufacturer fastest to market with such a product may win a large amount of business. The NHL is home to 700+ customers, while minor hockey registrations are north of 600,000. Someone will do the math correctly on this soon.