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USA Hockey Policy Statement on the Look-Up Line

The USA Hockey Board of Directors approved the Policy below regarding the Look-Up Line at the Saturday June 7th, 2014 Board Meeting.  Installation of the Look-Up Line is not required under USA Hockey rules, and USA Hockey has not taken a position about whether the Look-Up Line should be recommended.  The specific policy passed by the USA Hockey Board of Directors is as follows:

USA Hockey Policy Statement

Policy J. (new)

Board of Directors, June 7, 2014

USA Hockey recognizes the potential public interest on the use of a "Look-Up Line" painted on the ice surface in an effort to promote player safety.

Ice Facilities that wish to employ a "Look-Up Line" are permitted to do so and are encouraged to report any pertinent observations to the USA Hockey Look-Up Line Safety Task Force.

A “Look-Up Line” colored a Pantone 151 [c] Safety Orange, is to be painted around the entire circumference of the ice surface.  The “Look-Up Line” is to extend 40” inches in width from the bottom of the kick plate of the boards.  For further information please visit www.justcureparalysis.org.


USA Hockey Safety Task Force Report and Recommendations related to the Look Up Line

At the USA Hockey Winter Meeting in January 2014, President Ron DeGregorio appointed a Task Force to review safety-related proposals.  The group was comprised of Charlie Fuertsch, Dr. Michael Stuart, Tony Ciavaglia, John Coleman, Paul Day, with Jim Smith and Bill Hall as co-chairs, and was assisted by USA Hockey staff members Casey Jorgensen and Pat Kelleher. 

The proposals to be reviewed included Playing Rule Proposal #1: To create a “Look-Up Line” that extends 40” from the edge of the boards around the rink.

The Task Force was charged with seeking further input and reporting back to the Board of Directors at the 2014 Annual Congress on these proposals.  The Safety Task Force sought feedback from USA Hockey Councils, Committees and Sections Chairs, and Affiliate Presidents, as well as through a survey of rink owners and operators conducted by Serving The American Rinks (STAR).


The Task Force recommended the following:

The Safety Task Force believed there was insufficient data to determine whether the Look-Up Line would result in enhanced safety to participants.  

The Safety Task Force did not believe that USA Hockey could mandate the Look-Up Line at this time.  Mandating the Look-Up Line without sufficient data supporting the safety benefits would likely not cause all rink owners to install the line, and would likely cause a shortage of rinks that comply with USA Hockey requirements.

The Safety Task Force also did not believe that USA Hockey should issue a recommendation that rinks install the Look-Up Line.  USA Hockey should not issue a recommendation unless and until there is sufficient data confirming the safety benefits. 

While not recommending that USA Hockey mandate or recommend installation of the Look-Up Line, USA Hockey strongly believes in seeking safety enhancements to its program, and USA Hockey should monitor any rinks that choose to install the Look-Up Line on a voluntary basis. 

The Safety Task Force further recommended that study on the Look-Up Line begin immediately with existing secondary research, specifically reviewing insurance claims through USA Hockey on spinal cord injuries over the previous five season: where, when and how were injuries incurred? How old was the injured player?  The specific circumstances surrounding the injury, etc. The results of this research would also establish a baseline against which all future actions and research can be measured.

Beyond the near-term study of secondary research, the Task Force further recommended:

  • The study of insurance claims from rinks – if any - that have already installed or plan to install the Look-Up Line
     
  • Quantitative and qualitative research with multiple sources that are actively involved in the conduct of games at participating pilot rinks (e.g. players, coaches, referees)


This research will be overseen by a committee chaired by USA Hockey’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Michael Stuart, and should, if possible, be done in conjunction with existing studies overseen by the Mayo Clinic.  The committee will also include members of the Safety and Protective Equipment Committee, Risk Managers and STAR.

In addition to the above research, the Safety Task Force also recommended that USA Hockey also take additional actions utilizing and promoting known measures that will enhance the safety of USA Hockey participants.  This will include additional funding and an emphasis on the promotion of Heads Up Hockey through training of all USA Hockey coaches and players through modules, drills, videos, posters and brochures.  A recent USA Hockey PSA video on Heads Up Hockey and links to the USA Hockey Concussion Management Program will be emailed to all USA Hockey players, parents and coaches on an annual basis.