Why Don’t NHL Players Wear Cages?

NHL players don’t wear cages because they are against the rules in the league. However, even if they were allowed, many players wouldn’t wear them because they aren’t very comfortable and can block the player’s vision of the ice.

When playing hockey, safety is very important. Pucks, sticks, and skates often fly wildly, and players need to protect themselves, especially their heads. If you have watched leagues outside of the NHL, you may have seen players wearing a full-face cage attached to their helmets.

But why don’t players in the NHL wear these cages? Keep reading to learn more.

Key Takeaways

  • One reason that NHL players don’t wear full cages at all is that it is against the rules of the league (except in certain unique situations). However, they are allowed to be worn in many other leagues around the world, and even required in some cases.
  • Even if cages were allowed, many players wouldn’t wear them because they can be uncomfortable to wear, and can block some vision of the ice.
  • Instead of cages, NHL players will wear visors. These are required by most players in the league, and do a good job of protecting the eyes of players.

Why Don’t NHL Players Wear Cages?

One of the main reasons that NHL players don’t wear cages is simply because they may negatively impact their ability on the ice. Because of their design, these cages can block the vision of players a little, and potentially distract them during the game.

These cages leave a decent amount of space from one bar to the next, but as you look side to side to scan the ice, they will certainly get in your way in some situations. In addition to potentially blocking vision, many players find these cages uncomfortable.

They can also add some weight to the helmet and can impact your mobility and restrict movement. While some players can wear them without an issue, others will certainly struggle with them.

But not only do players often not want to wear them, but the NHL doesn’t actually allow them to be worn. There are some rules that allow a player to wear a cage, such as those recovering from injury, but most players will not be permitted to wear a full cage.

Players in the NHL may not wear full-face protection like cages, but there are plenty of leagues that not only encourage this type of protection but also require it. This includes junior teams in Canada, many youth leagues, and plenty of others around the globe.

The Growing Popularity of the Visor

While cages are not allowed in the NHL, wearing a visor is. In fact, wearing a visor is actually required in the league now. A visor provides partial protection for the face (mainly the upper face and eyes) without inhibiting vision as much as a full cage does.

These are required because they can help reduce eye injuries, as they can deflect things like pucks and sticks that would’ve otherwise hit players in the face. The visors can fog up at times, which can be annoying, but this is a small price to pay to keep your eyes safe.

Visors became required in 2013-14. Rule 9.7 in the NHL rulebook states that all players with less than 25 games of NHL experience (as of the start of the 13-14 season), must wear a visor that is properly affixed to their helmet.

There are a few players still in the league that don’t have to wear visors, but within the next few seasons (once all of these player exceptions retire), each and every NHL player will be required to wear a visor.

Final Thoughts

While cages are worn in plenty of leagues around the world and can protect a player’s face, they aren’t worn in the NHL. Not only does the league not allow them for most players, but many players find them uncomfortable and they can interrupt a player’s vision.

Do you think the NHL should allow and encourage players to wear full cages? Or do you think the current rules are better? Let me know in a comment.

About Kale
Being from Canada, hockey is essentially a way of life. I instantly fell in love with the game since I was being put on skates. From playing as a child (and the occasional street hockey game with friends today) to being a fan for over 20 years, I’m here to share my knowledge and passion for hockey. Email: kale@hockeyhow.com

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