The NHL encouraged helmets, while many of the old boys club and tough guys didn't feel like wearing them. The NHL has been trying to get players to wear visors for years. The NHLPA even suggested the NHL should some how compensate players for wearing the additional protection. NHL players when they do wear visors often wear half shields, as they look cooler.
The NHL has spent recent memory trying to have its players wear the best protective equipment, oddly against the NHLPA who don't think players should be forced to wear protective gear, and against Don Cherry, who thinks "European" is a dirty word, and believes they're the only ones wearing visors. Obviously, the NHL takes player safety seriously, as they are constantly trying to force their players to wear the best protective gear. For players to say "well we think they down played head injuries", I'd say, the NHL trying to force you to first wear helmets, and now visors, show they take head injuries very seriously, and maybe it's time the NHL players cared as much about their safety as the league? Without asking for more money in return for wearing protective equipment.
Here's a unique idea, maybe the NHL should refuse to pay players who miss time for injuries sustained while wearing less than full safety gear? Get puck to face and concussed? Broken jaw? Missing teeth? Bad eye injury? Well, if anything less than a full visor, why should the NHL/your team pay you a dime while you're out, given they've been begging you to wear a full visor for years? Maybe sue the guy who fought you and punched you in the face, repeatedly, during your "job" as the league specifies it's a "penalty".
And as of now, for all the 18 year old kids thinking about the NHL (or NFL) there is a high chance of head injury. Your option is make millions a year, and risk a small chance of a chronic injury, or go to SIAST and make $50,000 a year like the rest of us. But $10 million later, for playing a game, don't be trying to get even more millions for yourself. You could have retired at age 20, after two years in the NHL, having outearned what most decent folk earn in a lifetime. But you chose to risk the head injury at age 25 or 30, while being too cool for a helmet decades ago, or too cool for a visor now, and you'd probably do it all over again, as $10 million is actually a pessimistic lifetime NHL salary. Wear your visor. And out earning the average Saskatchewan worker by 20 to 1, it's pretty tough to get sympathy for injuries suffered, playing a known violent sport, while refusing to wear the protective gear the league repeatedly asked you to wear.
Now, injuries suffered due to violent play in recreational and children's leagues? That might be a better lawsuit.
Nick Henselmeier - Saskatoon