Ice Hockey Face Protectors

Two hockey players protected by CSA Z262.2-2015
The 2015 NHL season will commence on October 7. There is an assumed image that many professional hockey players are missing teeth due to the constant fighting between combatants and the overall rough nature of the sport. While this stereotype bore truth in the past, with some players wearing their vacant gums as a mark of pride, hockey players today take more preventive measures to protect their mouths. CSA Z262.2-2015 (R2019) – Face Protectors for Use in Ice Hockey specifies performance guidelines and testing methods for face protectors intended for ice hockey.

CSA Z262.2-2015 details specifications for the following as they relate to face protectors in ice hockey: construction, puck impact resistance, penetration, field of view, markings, and instructions for use. The standard makes specifications for the different materials that can be used in constructing the face protectors. It recommends that the adhesives, cleaners, and finishers used with the rubber and plastic of the protectors be compatible with the rest of the face protector and not contribute to an overall loss of strength or flexibility of the product. Many of the guidelines in this standard are intended to secure the safety of hockey players by giving them quality face protectors.

CSA Z262.2-2015 differs from a lot of other safety standards because, as mentioned in the standard itself, “ice hockey is a sport in which hazards are intrinsic to the normal conduct of the game.” So, the face protectors that are constructed and used in adherence to these guidelines will not prevent every single injury, but can help to reduce some hazards. According to the standard, all players accept this fact when they participate in the sport. Specifically related to hockey, the standard describes testing guidelines that account for the impact of a puck or skate blade striking the mask.

Safety is not the only concern placed into the design of this equipment. Since they serve the practical purpose of benefitting the hockey players, it is ideal that the face protectors do not inhibit their performance in any way. This involves maintaining mobility and visibility while having the protector equipped. One test for this is to search for any lens defects. The many different features that need to be tested to ensure the top quality of the protector are all identified in the standard.

The CSA Group is an ANSI-accredited Standards Developing Organization that focuses on design and performance in a wide range of disciplines. Other ice hockey-related standards by CSA Group include:

CSA Z262.1-2015 (R2019) – Ice Hockey Helmets
CSA Z262.6-2014 – (2021) Specifications for Facially Featured Headforms

Two ASTM International standards were used as the basis for many of the testing recommendations featured in this standard. These are:

ASTM D1003-13 – Standard Test Method for Haze and Luminous Transmittance of Transparent Plastics
ASTM D2240-15(2021) – Standard Test Method for Rubber Property — Durometer Hardness

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