Dead Teen Hockey Player's Friend Petitions for New Rule

Skater wants neck guards to be required
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2022 5:15 PM CST
Dead Teen Hockey Player's Friend Petitions for New Rule
A jersey for Teddy Balkind, a 16-year-old who died from an injury sustained in a Connecticut high school hockey game, hangs above the Boston Bruins bench before the start of an NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadiens, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in Boston.   (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

A high school student who lost his friend doesn’t want anyone else to go through that. When 16-year-old high school sophomore Teddy Balkind suffered a fatal injury during a hockey game in Connecticut a week ago, he wasn’t wearing a neck guard. At first, authorities said Teddy had fallen and been struck, but later reports clarified that he was still upright and skating when he was struck in the neck. Teddy played for a prep school, and his team wasn’t required to follow the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference rule that players wear neck guards, the New York Times reports. USA Hockey recommends them but there’s no rule requiring them for all hockey players. That’s what Teddy’s friend Samuel Brande wants to change, the Hartford Courant reports. Brande said he wore a neck guard while playing youth hockey but stopped when they weren’t required by his private school team. “Since my friend’s accident I’ve been wearing them,” he told the Courant.

Samuel started a petition, already signed by more than 75,000 people, on Change.org asking neck guards be mandatory to play hockey. A sporting goods store near where Teddy and Samuel played hockey has been selling more of the guards than ever since the accident. Hamden Sport Center manager Patrick Moriary told WFSB that he “would recommend to every parent to make sure that their kid is wearing a neck guard so we don’t have another tragedy like we did last week.” Teddy’s family has not said whether he was wearing a neck guard at the time of his accident, the Times reports. (Read more child death stories.)

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