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But Clay played an important role in the history of hockey safety. Clay created the first clear hockey visor in 1964 after he lost his left eye to a high stick.

"So the [situation] isn't like, well, we demand a renegotiation. To the contrary, it's we see the way the system is going to be impacted. Is it something that makes sense to deal with in the context of everything else that we may have to do, which is out of the ordinary and unanticipated, in order to be in a position to possibly play?"

Early Days – Little to No Protective Equipment
In the early days of hockey, there were no helmets, facemasks, or any sort of protective equipment, it just wasn’t anyone’s top priority. Not surprisingly, facial lacerations, concussions, and other head injuries were pretty common. It was rare in those days to see an NHL player who wasn’t missing a few front teeth.

The first hockey player to regularly wear a helmet was George Owen when he played for the Boston Bruins from 1928-29. Back then, helmets and protective gear weren’t required to play the game. In fact, due to peer and fan pressure, many players felt ridiculed and ashamed to wear a helmet.

The 1960s
Despite the repeated injuries, lacerations, concussions, and knocked-out teeth, the majority of hockey players refused to don protective gear for the next 40 years, until an incident in the late 1960’s would change the outlook on safety in hockey.

During a Minnesota North Stars game in January of 1968, Bill Masterton, the center for the North Stars, was skating towards an open puck after a pass. Before he could maneuver out of the way, two opposing players body checked him causing him to lose his balance and fall backwards, slamming his unprotected head into the hard ice.

Modern-Day NHL Helmets
As technology has progressed, so has the technology that goes into hockey helmets, and sporting helmets of all kinds. As concussions and lingering head injuries become a growing problem for players during their careers, and even after they retire, helmets are an ever important part of the game. Chicago Blackhawks Team NHL Face Coverings

NHL’s older coaches debate wearing masks, taking precautions Toronto Maple Leafs Team NHL Face Coverings

Alaska’s lead doctors now strongly recommend wearing face coverings for sports, especially for indoor sports, including playing basketball, wrestling, cheerleading, and playing hockey and indoor soccer. That same strong recommendation for mask wearing goes for adults working out, running on treadmills, or exercising in other ways in indoor gyms. The exception? Swimmers can’t wear a mask when their faces are in the water (but they do need to wear one on the pool deck). NHL Face Coverings

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Golden Knights Face Covering

Based on what the NHL is being told by medical experts, particularly regarding the availability of vaccines to the general public, Commissioner Bettman said arenas could be full in 2021-22, when the Seattle Kraken begin play as an expansion team. Dallas Stars Team NHL Face Coverings

"I think [Fitzgerald] has publicly branded the next two seasons as the 'Learn to Win' phase," assistant general manager Dan MacKinnon said. "We want to be competitive, be pushing for a playoff spot and also playing those meaningful one-goal games."

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