Contributions gratefully accepted.  Please Email us with details.

In the 1999-2000 Season, four Delco Phantoms players (all boys) received head trauma.  All four were wearing Bauer 5000 Helmets.

October 11, 2000

After a report of a hockey face guard becoming dislodged from a helmet, I-Tech Sport Products, Inc., of Montreal, Canada is recalling 1,000 hockey face guards that attach to helmets. If the helmet is dislodged, a person's face is exposed to possible injury.

For the hockey face guards, only those with "OPTECH System," written on the black side clips, which lock on the plastic eye shield, are part of the recall. The company name, "ITECH," is displayed at the top center of the plastic eye shield, on the chin guard and on the chin guard strap. The model number, "FX 50," is written on the packaging.

Contact the store where you bought the product for more details.

Inclusion of the following article is prompted by the Delco Phantoms Board of Directors decision at their meeting on October 12, 2000.

"Neck Guards -- Please note that at the Board of Directors meeting last night (October 12, 2000), the Board eliminated the Club requirement mandating neck guards be worn at all times since this is not a USA Hockey requirement. Players are free to wear or not wear neck guards as they and their parents see fit."


Saturday, February 13, 1999

Quick action from stands saves Trenton hockey player

Doctor, nurse, firefighter at the game rush to ice when skate slashes throat of defenseman

By Kevin Lynch / The Detroit News

    TRENTON -- Five minutes left in the third quarter. The score was 4-4. The boys, one fan said, were hammering each on the ice.
    Then, in one terrifying moment, everything changed when a hockey skate slashed the neck of Trenton High School defenseman Kurt LaTarte's throat Wednesday, almost killing him.
    The players from both teams stopped the game, came together and did the only thing they could think of to save him: They prayed. "I was just glad to see that both teams just pulled together, put the game aside and took the time out to say a prayer," Kurt LaTarte's brother, Brad, said Thursday evening. "It definitely made a difference."
    LaTarte, 18, was taken by ambulance from the Kennedy Ice Arena first to Seaway Hospital in Trenton and transferred to the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. He was in stable condition and talking Thursday night, his brother said.
    Along with the prayers, Kurt LaTarte was fortunate that Dr. David Wolf, firefighter Alec Lesko and a nurse, Leslie Zancanaro, were at the game when the accident occurred about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.
    Wolf, who was watching his son, rushed onto the ice, along with Lesko and Zancanaro, to help.
    Until the end of the third quarter, all Wolf was thinking about was how proud he was of his son and his son's Trenton High teammates for closing the 3-point lead that Redford Catholic Central had rolled up in the first period.
    "All of a sudden I see the whole Trenton bench standing up and waving their arms," Wolf said. "I thought maybe one of the coaches had had a heart attack."
    What Wolf didn't see until after he reviewed the videotape of the game was that a player fell when one of Trenton's defensemen checked one of Catholic Central's players. His feet flew into the air and his skate caught LaTarte across the throat, severing his jugular vein.
    By the time Wolf got onto the ice, LaTarte had already lost a dangerous amount of blood.
    "I had to put so much pressure on his neck to stop the bleeding that he was having trouble breathing," Wolf recalled. "By the time the ambulance got there, this kid was pretty blue. He was looking very bad. As we wheeled him across the ice, a lot of people there thought he was dead, or very close to dying."
    As Wolf rode with LaTarte to advise emergency doctors on the injuries, LaTarte's teammates began to pray, said Wolf's wife, Anita.
    "Our players went down on their knees, and immediately, the Catholic Central team came off their bench and was right down their with them.
    "It was beautiful."

 Copyright 1999, The Detroit News




  Vol 7 / No. 1 / Winter 1998 / The Medical Journal of Allina




Girls' ice hockey injuries during tournament play

How do they compare in number, type, and seriousness with boys' injuries?

Janny Dwyer Brust, MPH
William O. Roberts, MD
Barbara J. Leonard, PhD, RN

Today, Minnesota girls are playing ice hockey in record numbers. During the 1993/94 ice hockey tournaments, the authors assessed and compared the number, type, and seriousness of injuries sustained by female and male players of similar age in 13 and 26 games, respectively. The most remarkable finding was that the injury rate for girls was half that for boys. None of the 4 injuries sustained by girls was serious; in contrast, 7 (35%) of the 20 injuries sustained by boys required a physician's care. In addition, the average number of penalties assessed per game was 0.9 for girls versus 8.6 for boys. Twenty-five percent of penalties assessed against female players were considered aggressive as opposed to 59% of those levied against male players. In addition, girls held less aggressive attitudes toward the game than did boys. A significant difference between girls' and boys' hockey is that girls play the game as a limited-contact rather than a collision sport. Since collision is reportedly associated with the number and seriousness of injuries, the authors suggest that the rule against intentional collision in girls' hockey most likely is the reason that girls experience fewer and less serious injuries and play the game with less hostility than their male counterparts.

Women in Canada have played ice hockey since 1892. In recent years, girls and women throughout the world have begun to participate in organized hockey programs in record numbers. In recognition of this trend, women's ice hockey became a medal event for the first time in the 1998 Winter Olympics.1

In Minnesota, large numbers of girls entered the sport in 1994, when it was sanctioned at the high school level for interscholastic competition. Between 1993 and 1997, the number of girls' high school hockey programs increased from 0 to 85 varsity or junior varsity programs (Minnesota Amateur Hockey Association [MAHA] statistics). During that same time frame, the number of girls' community-level feeder teams grew rapidly, from a handful to 258 (MAHA statistics). In 1995, high school girls competed in their first state hockey tournament and their male counterparts celebrated their 51st. In that same year, USA Hockey, Inc, estimated that nearly 40,000 Minnesotans under age 19 were playing hockey and reported that Minnesota trailed only Michigan in number of teams registered.2

Given the soaring popularity of youth hockey in Minnesota, increasing injury rates should be a concern. Ice hockey is a sport in which injuries are common and some are serious. Indeed, for male players, the rate of catastrophic injuries at high school and college levels is higher for ice hockey than for football,3 and the number of serious hockey injuries appears to be increasing. For example, in Canada, the number of catastrophic spinal injuries was 0.7 per year from 1966 through 1980 but increased to 15 per year from 1981 through 1987.4 In the United States, the number of cervical spine injuries rose from 1 per year from 1988 through 1994 to 7 in 1995 during USA Hockey competition (written communication, Alan Ashare, MD, USA Hockey, Inc, 1995).

The rate of noncatastrophic hockey injuries is high at the community or youth hockey level in the United States. In one study of male hockey players 9 to 15 years of age,5 one in three players sustained an injury during one winter hockey season. Contusions were the most common injury. However, 17% of the injuries, mostly fractures, were serious and required a recovery time of 8 days or more. In another study of male hockey players 9 to 15 years old,6 contusions were also the most common injury reported. Thirty-six percent of all injuries were serious; of these, most were fractures. A study of male high school varsity players7 documented 75 injuries per 100 players; 46% of the injuries required a week or more of recovery time. We were unable to find any published studies of girls' hockey injuries.

Subjects and methods

During the 1993/94 winter hockey season in Minnesota, we collected injury data at 39 tournament games (13 girls' games and 26 boys' games) for boys 11 or 12 years of age, boys 13 or 14 years of age, and girls 8 to 14 years of age. Ten of the girls were under age 11. In total, 388 players-127 girls and 261 boys-were studied.

When an injury occurred, a certified athletic trainer recorded detailed information on a standardized injury form. Injury rates were calculated in player-hours (the denominator derived from 12 players on the ice in each game multiplied by actual playing time multiplied by 1,000). All injured players received a follow-up phone call 1 to 2 weeks after the injury to verify information and document recovery times.

In addition, score sheets from each game were collected to assess the number and type of penalties assessed. Penalties provide information on style of play and can be classified as instrumental or aggressive. Instrumental penalties are defined as infractions to gain a tactical advantage and include holding, tripping, and interference. Aggressive penalties, which are assessed when the player's aim is to intimidate or cause injury, include roughing, charging, checking into the boards, and checking from behind.8

Ninety-five (75%) of the 127 girls and 211 (81%) of the 261 boys were surveyed about their knowledge of and attitudes toward hockey and reported their height and weight. Human subjects approval was granted by the University of Minnesota Human Subjects Committee, and written consent was obtained from each of these players and one of her or his parents.


The injury rate for female hockey players was approximately half that for male players: 50.5 versus 106.4 per 1,000 player-hours. The injuries sustained by female players were minor and consisted of 4 contusions, 2 (50%) to the upper body and 2 (50%) to the leg or foot. None of the injured girls required medical attention beyond that given at rinkside, and all were able to return to the ongoing game. In contrast, male players sustained 20 injuries, 13 (65%) of which were contusions. The remaining injuries consisted of 3 (15%) head and neck injuries, 2 (10%) sprains, 1 (5%) abrasion, and 1 (5%) fracture. Boys' injuries were distributed as follows: 8 (40%) to the head and neck, 4 (20%) to the upper body, 4 (20%) to the leg or foot, and 4 (20%) to the arm or finger. Of the 20 injured boys, 7 (35%) were referred for further medical treatment and 4 (20%) were unable to return to play for 5 days or more.

Girls' injuries resulted from falling and being hit by a puck or stick. Boys' injuries resulted primarily from collision (31% legal checking and 11% illegal checking) and rule violations (16%). Girls were assessed 12 penalties in 13 games for an average of 0.9 per game, with 3 (25%) classified as aggressive. Boys were assessed 224 penalties in 26 games for an average of 8.6 per game, with 132 (59%) classified as aggressive.

Wide variations in player size were noted. Such disparity is typical of youngsters undergoing physical changes during puberty. According to one study,9 the impact force exerted by larger players can be 70% greater than that exerted by smaller players, implying that differences in size have an impact on injury when hockey is played as a collision sport. In our study, male players, on average, weighed more than female players (table 1), but the variation in weight between the smallest and largest players in the female and male groups was 90 lb or more.

The survey data showed that girls had played hockey for fewer years than had boys of the same age. Eighty-one percent of the girls had played the game for fewer than 4 years, whereas 90% of the boys had played it for 5 years or more (P¨.001). Female and male players also exhibited different attitudes toward hockey (table 2). Although most players of either sex stated that it is important to be a good sport, boys were more apt to view the players on other teams as enemies. In addition, boys were more likely than girls to remain in the sport despite repeated injury, play in pain, and want to win at all costs.


In our study, we found that female hockey players sustained fewer and less serious injuries than did their male counterparts during tournament play. We suggest that this finding relates, in large part, to the most significant difference between the rules for girls' and boys' ice hockey: Girls of any age are not allowed to body-check, whereas boys 11 years of age or older can body-check or purposely collide with a rival player to gain a game advantage. The no-checking rule in girls' hockey allows players to play a finesse game that focuses on skating, passing, stick handling, and playmaking.1

Body checking contributes to the number and seriousness of injuries sustained by male players and to the hostile nature of the boys' game. In most of the studies of male hockey players that we have cited here,3-7,9 body checking-both illegal and legal-was associated with injuries, especially the more serious injuries. In two studies of male youth hockey leagues, illegal and legal checking caused 59%5 and 64%7 of all injuries. Another study of male youth hockey injuries9 showed that fracture rates were 12 times higher and that more penalties overall and more aggressive penalties were assessed in checking than in nonchecking leagues. Our study also demonstrated that playing without checking in girls' hockey resulted in fewer penalties overall and fewer aggressive penalties than did playing with checking in boys' hockey.

Other factors may influence the difference in injury rates between girls' and boys' hockey. Since girls have played the game for fewer years than boys, their average skill level is lower, which could place them at increased risk for injury. Conversely, their lesser skill level and resulting slower speed, combined with their use of excellent protective equipment for the noncollision aspects of the game, could decrease their risk of injury. In addition, the fact that girls display less aggressive attitudes toward the game than boys may reflect gender differences or could be the result of their not playing the game as a collision sport.

Ms Brust is director of research, Allina Foundation, Minneapolis. Dr Roberts is associate clinical professor of family medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis; in private practice with MinnHealth Family Physicians, White Bear Lake, Minnesota; and fellow, American College of Sports Medicine. Dr Leonard is division head and associate professor of nursing, University of Minnesota School of Nursing, Minneapolis.

Address for correspondence:
Janny Dwyer Brust, MPH
Director of Research
Allina Foundation
5601 Smetana Dr-81485
PO Box 9310
Minneapolis, MN 55440-9310

E-mail address:


1. Longman J. Women's hockey: no fights, just skating. New York Times 1997 Apr 7:A1
2. Brust JD, Roberts WO, Leonard BJ. Gladiators on ice: an overview of ice hockey injuries in youth. Med J Allina 1996;5(1):26-9
3. Cantu RC. Catastrophic injuries in high school and collegiate athletes. Surg Rounds Orthop 1988 Nov:62-6
4. Tator CH, Edmonds VE, Lapczak L, et al. Spinal injuries in ice hockey players, 1966-1987. Can J Surg 1991;34(1):63-9
5. Brust JD, Leonard BJ, Pheley A, et al. Children's ice hockey injuries. Am J Dis Child 1992; 146(6):741-7
6. Stuart MJ, Smith AM, Nieva JJ, et al. Injuries in youth ice hockey: a pilot surveillance strategy. Mayo Clin Proc 1995;70(4):350-6
7. Gerberich SG, Finke R, Madden M, et al. An epidemiological study of high school ice hockey injuries. Childs Nerv Syst 1987;3(2):59-64
8. McCarthy JF, Kelly BR. Aggressive behavior and its effect on performance over time in ice hockey athletes: an archival study. Int J Sports Psychol 1978;9:90-7
9. Regnier G, Boileau R, Marcotte G, et al. Effects of body-checking in the Pee-Wee (12 and 13 years old) division in the Province of Quebec. In: Castaldi CR, Hoerner EF, eds. Safety in ice hockey. Philadelphia: Am Society for Testing Materials, 1989:84-103



  Vol 7 / No. 1 / Winter 1998 / The Medical Journal of Allina




Last updated 03/11/2004