Several years ago, Ross Longbottom was playing hockey when he was hit in the neck with a stick. It was accidental, Longbottom said, but it left a mark.
“It could have been worse. I thought, ‘Okay, that’s it. I’m going to buy a neck protector.'” She bought one made by Hamilton-based Aegis Impact Protection and hasn’t thought much about it since. Until very recently.
Last Sunday, the Dundas resident was showing off his neck guard at a Regional Non-Contact Hockey League game. In fact, Longbottom said, neck protection has been “the talk of the locker room,” after the Death on ice of former NHL player Adam Johnson due to a neck injury.
For the company that made the Longbottom neck protector, the result of the increased attention paid to neck protection has been a boom in sales. a phenomenon that at least one other seller is reporting.
“We’ve had our best week of sales since we started our business,” said Aegis owner Joe Camillo. “People feel it’s sad that it took this tragic death… to really bring to light the importance of proper protection.”
Since Johnson’s death last week, several local and international Hockey organizations that did not require neck protection have done so or are doing so. considering the possibility.
Camillo, who also owns a clothing company, said he became interested in designing a neck guard when his children played hockey because he found that equipment lacking compared to other equipment.
The Aegis neck protector, which was launched in 2012, is cut and impact resistant, he said, and uses a material that hardens on impact.
Normalize neck protection
Since Johnson’s death, Camillo said the company has received orders from all over the world and has sold most of its shares. “We’ve sold thousands of pieces in a span of eight days.”
He says it appears that neck protectors, which were already standard in many hockey environments, are becoming even more normalized, like seat belts or bicycle helmets.
“Before, you would ride a bike and never think twice about putting on a helmet. Now, you would never think twice about putting one on.”
He says objections to wearing them can include comfort, aesthetics or feeling like the equipment isn’t cool. His product is very comfortable, she says, and she believes more professional players wearing neck guards will help with any image issues.
Longbottom says he doesn’t know why he didn’t wear a neck protector until recently. “I just hadn’t thought about it much,” he said. But now “I think everyone should use it.”
And in his experience, other players think similarly. “I would say that at least half of the players [in my dressing room] “They were talking about it and two or three of them said they would surely get one.”