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11-16-2006, 06:49 PM
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Location: Denver, CO
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The Danger of Hockey Skates

Ever since the horrendous Clint Malarchuk incident back in the late 80s, I have been extremely paranoid about the sharpness of skates and the potential for a hockey player to get seriously injured. Just recently, Rene Bourque got cut on his neck. A few years back, Donald Audette lost a pint of blood after getting his arm skated on by Radek Dvorak. However, considering how many games at all levels have been played over the last several years, and considering how relatively few incidents involving skates there have been, players must have fairly good protection against skate blades, or the blades must be designed such that injuries are far less frequent.

I played roller hockey in my youth, but never got to playing ice hockey, so I'm not that knowledgable about actual equipment. My question is, how sharp are player's skates (at both a professional and amateur level)? Are there safety devices that minimize the risk of getting cut by a skate (I heard of somethings called "safety blades", but I wasn't sure what they were)?

The reason I am asking is because I want the peace of mind to know that I will never have to see a hockey player get killed in the NHL, in Juniors, in College, or even at the local rink. I am a die hard hockey fan, as big as any of you, but in the back of my mind I know that had Malarchuk not miraculously survived after getting cut in the neck, I probably would not have been able to watch another hockey game again. As it is, I will never forget the feeling of watching someone inch towards death at the hands of my favorite sport.

My follow up question to all of you who play ice hockey is, do you fear of getting cut by a skate? Especially since mainly players voluntarily go down to block shots or passes, the back of their necks and the back of their legs are extremely exposed as there is minimal/no protection. Aren't you scared that another player will step on you in these areas? Also, since there isn't much protection, why haven't (relatively speaking) there been many skate related injuries?


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