Oct 13, 2010, 11:13 ET from BAUER HOCKEY, INC.

Bauer Hockey, USA Hockey and Hockey Canada join leading medical experts to promote hockey safety and education

TORONTO, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ - A newly-created hockey panel that will focus on increasing education and awareness of safety in the sport was officially unveiled today and features some of the most influential organizations in hockey as well as top North American medical professionals.

Bauer Hockey initiated the panel in an effort to strengthen communication surrounding safety issues such as concussion awareness and management, and neck injury prevention. The safety panel includes representatives from Bauer Hockey, USA Hockey and Hockey Canada as well as leaders in the medical and athletic training communities. The panel, which first convened in August, will hold its first public discussion on October 14 at Bauer Hockey's BauerWorld event in Boca Raton, Fla.

"The goal of the hockey safety panel is to promote the sport of hockey at all levels through better education and communication of the safety issues faced in today's game," said Ken Covo, senior director, research and development, Bauer Hockey, who will co-chair the hockey safety panel. "We will examine existing issues as well as identify opportunities for improvement while raising overall awareness and education for players, parents, trainers and coaches."

The hockey safety panel currently includes:

  • Mike Bertsch - USA Hockey:

In his role as assistant executive director, marketing and communications, Mike works closely with USA Hockey's membership and leads efforts to increase safety communication throughout the organization. In addition, Mike brings a wealth of hockey coaching knowledge to the panel having coached at both the high school and NCAA levels.

  • Dr. Lisa Fischer, MD, CCFP - Fowler Kennedy Sports Medicine Clinic

Lisa is the director of primary care sports medicine in London, Ont., and has been a clinical sports medicine physician for more than 15 years. She served as the president of the Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine and holds the chair position on the Canadian College of Family Physicians Sport Exercise Medicine Program.

  • Mark Lovell, PH.D - UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program

Mark is the co-creator of the ImPact Test, the first, most-widely used, and most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system. ImPact is currently utilized by every team in the National Hockey League and the National Football League, as well as numerous teams in Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and several other leagues. Mark brings more than 26 years of concussion management experience to the safety panel.

  • Todd Jackson - Hockey Canada

Todd is the senior manager for insurance and member services at Hockey Canada and brings more than 30 years of experience in hockey safety to the panel. In his role at Hockey Canada, Todd oversees safety and risk management initiatives as well as the components of that national insurance program. In addition, Todd has served as equipment manager for numerous teams, including Canada's National Women's Team.

  • Glenn Riefenstahl, ATC - University of New Hampshire

Glenn is the head athletic trainer for the University of New Hampshire men's hockey team, one of the premier programs in NCAA hockey. Glenn enters his 23rd year with the Wildcats and is involved with all aspects of the team's athletic injuries and corresponding care including emergency injury management, prevention and injury rehabilitation.

"Communication and education regarding safety in hockey has always been a focus for Hockey Canada and the creation of this panel will only strengthen our efforts to provide players, parents and coaches with valuable and timely information," Jackson said. "I look forward to playing a part in increasing the dialogue and raising awareness of the safety issues we all face in today's sport."

Covo and Larry Weber will serve as co-chairs of the safety panel. In addition to his role as the senior director of research and development for Bauer Hockey, Covo has an extensive playing and coaching career. Weber serves as Bauer's director of risk management and compliance and has been heavily involved with the company's ongoing efforts to increase awareness of the safety issues in today's game.

The panel will gather numerous times throughout the year and publish information for the hockey community that will be distributed online, in-store at hockey specialty retailers across North America and at the grassroots level. In addition to providing readily accessible information, the panel will examine current safety standards and guidelines and recommend enhancements to meet today's needs as well as gather insight from various age groups and playing levels. Bauer Hockey will also look to leverage the panel's findings to help guide future product development and enhancements.