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Sales of hockey neck guards go up after fatal slashing accident

Hockey neck guards selling fast at local store

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Hockey players of all ages around central Indiana are snapping up neck guards after an incident in England that left a former NHL player dead.

Kelly Smith, assistant manager at Perani’s Hockey World, said he’s had a hard time keeping them in stock.

“We pretty much sold out of all of our shirts and our neck guards,” Smith said. “We had a few left, but they were kind of older ones that we had sitting around, and we actually did eventually sell them.”

Sales of neck guard picked up after an October 28th incident that took the life of former NHL player Adam Johnson. Johnson collided with another player during a game in the English Elite League. That player’s skate slashed Johnson in the neck. Despite being treated on the ice, Johnson later died at a hospital.

Such an incident is extremely rare, but it has happened before.

“There was a player for the Buffalo Sabres, Clint Malarchuk, he was a goal tender. It was a bang bang play where a player got knocked into him underneath the helmet that goes down under the neck, but it got up enough and it cut him and it cut his jugular, and the trainer just happened to save his life,” said Smith.

Neck guards cost anywhere from $15-$75. The guard is sewn into a shirt that can be worn under the jersey.

Perani’s, located on the northern edge of Indianapolis, serves a growing hockey community that ranges from recreation leagues to high school teams throughout Hamilton County.

Smith thinks it’s only a matter of time before neck guards become mandatory.

“The way the hockey community is when an incident like this happens, they look at things and they take the time to fix those issues,” said Smith.

Police in the UK charged a man with involuntary manslaughter in connection with Johnson’s death, but they have not identified the suspect.