Some UND players begin wearing neck protection

Nov. 14—GRAND FORKS — More than half of UND's players began wearing neck protection during last weekend's series at Minnesota Duluth.

The undershirts with turtlenecks arrived in Grand Forks on Thursday and equipment manager Dan Johansson had them shipped to Duluth in time for Friday's series opener.

Of UND's 19 skaters who dressed against the Bulldogs, 12 wore the new undershirts including the Fighting Hawks' entire top line — Owen McLaughlin, Jackson Blake and captain Riese Gaber.

"I didn't even notice it, honestly," Gaber said. "They're really comfy and obviously they're a good option for us to have."

UND won both games at Minnesota Duluth, 4-2 and 2-0.

The undershirts with neck protection have been in high demand since last month, when former Minnesota Duluth forward Adam Johnson died when a skate blade cut his neck during a professional game in England.

UND players wore stickers on the back of their helmets last weekend to honor Johnson.

The NCAA does not mandate neck protection for all players.

All National Collegiate Hockey Conference games are required to have an on-site Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and an on-site ambulance. If the on-site ambulance leaves the arena to transport a participant, the game is not allowed to re-start until another ambulance has arrived on site.

According to The Athletic, there are no ambulances on site for pro games in England.

All NCHC games also are required to have an on-site medical physician.

UND has its team doctor (Greg Greek) and athletic trainer (Mark Poolman) at all games — home and road.

During a January 2019 game at Canisius, Golden Griffins player Matt Stief was cut by a skate in the neck area in front of UND's bench. Greek immediately jumped onto the ice to help Stief.

The Canisius medical staff quickly joined Greek and attended to Stief, who was transported to the hospital.

Stief returned to action by the end of the month.

"I can't thank Mike Ziemer and our training staff and North Dakota's staff enough," Stief told

College Hockey News.

"What it could have been, right? I'm just thankful."