Ice hockey is one of the most popular sports in Canada. However, recent trends have shown that minor hockey enrollment numbers are slowly decreasing across the province. Many factors play into lower enrollment, with the most common being the steep cost of playing hockey, followed by the risk of injury. Due to this high risk of injury, research has focused largely on injury prevention initiatives such as rule modifications, equipment changes and education regarding safety.

Gender Differences

  • Male hockey players experience more injuries across all levels and ages (regardless of body checking rules);
  • Men suffered more injuries to the head and face, followed by the shoulder and knee. Whereas women were more likely to suffer injuries to the lower body, including the knee, thigh and ankle;
  • In college athletes, the most common injuries in both males and females were sprains and strains (roughly 1/3). The second most common injury in females was concussions, while males were lacerations and contusions.

Mechanism of Injury

  • Both males and females sustain twice as many injuries in games than in practices;
  • Roughly 35% of all injuries for males and females are a result of player contact;
  • 17% of injuries involve stick induced mechanisms;
  • 14% are related to puck injuries;
  • 15% are related to non-contact mechanisms, overuse, poor movement patterns and improper hockey mechanics.

Common Injuries

Shoulder

Shoulder injuries are more common in males than females, likely due to body checking. Shoulder injuries occur following body checking, striking the boards and contact with other players. The most common shoulder injury is an acromioclavicular (AC) joint separation.

Knee

The most common knee injury sustained during hockey is a MCL sprain/tear, usually resulting from an on-ice collision or from a play