Hockey is the winter activity that sends children and youth to emergency departments most often.

Hockey injuries occur when a player falls or collides with other players, boards, sticks or the puck. There is a wide range of injuries that occur during hockey. Head and neck injuries are the most serious (13%) and fractures are the most common (24%).

When playing hockey:

  • Players should wear:
    • a CSA approved hockey helmet with a face mask. Replace your helmet every five years.
    • mouth guard
    • gloves
    • protective shin, elbow and shoulder pads.
  • All equipment should fit properly and be in good condition.
  • Learn and always follow the rules of the game. This helps keep everyone safe.
  • Stretching before each practice and game, and cooling down afterwards can help prevent injuries.
  • Players should learn to skate heads-up when approaching the boards to prevent neck injuries.
  • Take head injuries seriously.  If you suspect a head injury or concussion, the player should be removed from play and assessed by a health care provider. See Concussions, Sport Manitoba for more information.
  • Hockey Winnipeg has implemented a no body-checking rule for
    Midget A2, Bantam A2, all Peewee and below, all A3 age divisions and female divisions

Ice Skating

Skaters should:

  • Wear a properly fitted hockey helmet with face guard.
  • Wear comfortable skates with good ankle support.
  • Skate in the same direction as everyone else on the ice when public skating.

Young skaters should be supervised.  They may need support. Hold their hand, encourage the to hold on to the outside of the rink.  A small chair or skate trainer can also provide support.

If you are skating on an outdoor lake or pond:

Always check the thickness of ice before skating on it. Ice should be 10 cm (4” inches) thick for skating alone or 20 cm (8 inches) thick for skating parties or games. Stay away from ice near open water.

Skiing and snowboarding

Most serious injuries and deaths in skiing and snowboarding are due to collisions with trees and lift equipment.

Skiers are most likely to be injured in collisions, whereas, snowboarders are most likely to be injured due to falling. Snowboarders commonly injure their wrists when they fall and skiers commonly injure their legs, especially their knees. Head and neck injuries are also increasing in these sports and can lead to death or permanent disability.

The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that:

  • Skiers and snowboarders wear a helmet and goggles
  • Snowboarders wear wrist guards
  • Your equipment is adjusted and fits properly, especially bindings.
  • New skiers take lessons and practice on easier runs before moving onto more challenging ones.
  • Children are supervised your children.  Parents should choose a run that is appropriate for their child’s ability.
  • You know the Alpine Responsibility Code and take the recommended safety precautions.

For more information, See Caring for Kids, Skiing and snowboarding: Safety tips for families.