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NHL participates in player safety summit with other hockey associations

Playing environment, protective equipment, officiating, discipline among topics discussed

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Correspondent

BOCA RATON, Fla.-- In a continuing effort to further the Declaration of Principles, the NHL is participating in a player safety summit this week.

Joined by 14 other hockey associations for the two-day 2019 Hockey Summit - Player Safety here on Wednesday and Thursday, the NHL will take part in discussing a variety of player safety issues that affect athletes at all levels of hockey.

"Sharing best practices is really the goal and objective," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said Wednesday at the annual meeting of the NHL general managers here. "It's about making sure everybody knows what we do and us knowing what they're doing."

USA Hockey, Hockey Canada, the American Hockey League, ECHL, International Ice Hockey Federation, each of Canada's three Major Junior leagues, the National Women's Hockey League, Canadian Women's Hockey League, NCAA, United States Hockey League, Canadian Junior Hockey League and the NHL Players' Association are the other representatives at the summit.

The NHL also participated in a summit last year focused on concussions.

Daly said these summits are a continuation of the hockey development summits put together during the World Cup of Hockey 2016 by Hockey Hall of Famer Pat Lafontaine, who is a consultant to the NHL after serving as its vice president of hockey development and community affairs.

The Declaration of Principles came out of the World Cup summits. Through the Declaration, 17 hockey organizations across the globe issued a set of commonly shared beliefs to further grow the sport. Introduced on Sept. 6, 2017, it was developed by and for hockey stakeholders to advance policies, programs and initiatives, while inspiring fans, players and communities to create the best possible experience for the entire hockey community. Hockey, the principles argued, is a powerful platform for participants to build character, foster positive values and develop important life skills that transcend the game.

"It was Pat Lafontaine's vision of putting a lot of prominent hockey organizations in the same room and talking about common issues," Daly said.

Among the issues expected to be addressed in the player safety summit are playing environment, protective equipment and testing done on protective equipment by the NHL, rules and how they differ amongst the leagues, enforcement, officiating and supplementary discipline.

"Our hockey operations guys and our player safety guys want to tell the organizing bodies of youth hockey what they're seeing in today's player and how they're not protecting themselves and how they're putting themselves in vulnerable positions," Daly said. "We're going to talk about the body-checking rule and when you introduce kids to body checking and when you transition from a non-body checking game to a body-checking game. Those are all very important for how NHL players ultimately develop. 

"We're going to share observations with them and they're going to tell us what they're doing to educate players at the youth level. We'd like to be helpful. It's an information exchange."

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