OHL introduces equipment changes

August 31, 2011, 9:25 PM

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO — The Ontario Hockey League is instituting equipment changes designed to make the game safer.

The league announced Wednesday that all players must wear soft cap shoulder and elbow pads for the upcoming season.

The change came after a review of safety issues and is designed to "limit the number of head injuries suffered each season," according to the league.

Popular hockey commentator Don Cherry has urged the NHL to adopt a similar rule for years during his "Coach’s Corner" segment on "Hockey Night in Canada."

The OHL’s board of governors has also vowed to hand out more punishment to players who repeatedly get caught throwing checks to the head.

The regular season starts on Sept. 21.

Among the other changes announced Wednesday was the creation of a rule that forbids goalies from leaving their crease to fight another goalie. Violators will receive a game misconduct and automatic two-game suspension.

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