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For several years, cityrinks has been asking City staff why they don't run any bus shelter ads promoting the outdoor rinks. The answer was "no money," but that must have changed. A rink user recently sent this photo of a bus shelter ad space at Dundas and Bathurst. He supplied a caption for the photo: "nothing says fun like skating with a cage over your face." And indeed, this photo is an ad for helmets, not for rinks.
The promotion of mandatory skating helmets by the City safety bureaucracy comes at an interesting time. Concussions among helmeted professional hockey players are on the rise. The Neurotrauma Impact Science Laboratory in Ottawa said this week that today's modern helmets do very little to protect against concussion. So it's back to the drawing board for helmet manufacturers.
At those outdoor rinks where the city's mandatory helmet policy began being strictly enforced four years ago, shinny hockey took a nose-dive in popularity. Skaters never embraced the policy, and rink staff grew tired of having their primary role be helmet enforcement against skaters' wishes. This year, there are few rinks left where skaters are evicted for not wearing helmets, except in the hockey-board outdoor rinks in Etobicoke and North York. Those rinks are named "major" rinks. Public shinny times there, with helmets still mandatory, have much lower attendance than do the nearby unstaffed "minor" outdoor rinks without nets or hockey boards -- which are hopping with pick-up pond-hockey games.
Even though free-style, mostly helmet-less games have been going on at the "minors" (and at the busy downtown neighbourhood rinks) for decades, the claims against the city for head injuries (with or without helmets) have so far been -- zero.
posted on February 24, 2011
By: Sarah Boesveld
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011
Source: National Post·
On the eve of his presentation to Canada's first hockey safety summit in Ottawa Wednesday, Blaine Hoshizaki, director of the Neurotrauma Impact Science Laboratory at the University of Ottawa, told the Post's Sarah Boesveld why he's calling for a total redesign of the standardized hockey helmet and for a few key rule changes.