Long story short, no you cannot wear a lacrosse helmet for hockey. Not only is it against (most) of the major guidelines, it is also considered dangerous. This is because of differences in design between hockey and lacrosse helmets, as well as cases of injury in the past.
So, the question becomes, why can’t you wear a lacrosse helmet for hockey? Basically, every major rulebook has guidelines prohibiting the usage of lacrosse helmets in hockey. There was a time not so long ago when this was not the case, but it unfortunately is now.
Helmets are typically the most regulated piece of protective equipment in any contact sport, due to the risk of serious injury.
Surprisingly enough, you also cannot use a hockey helmet for lacrosse. Once again, this is a more recent development, and you used to be able to switch up your helmet between the two sports. Due to frequent rule changes in lacrosse recently, this is no longer the case.
What are the hockey helmet requirements?
So what are these rules? Today, hockey is played around the world, mostly according to one of three official rulesets. These rulesets are publicly available for reference:
All three rulebooks currently have guidelines that limit the usage of helmets. Typically, these guidelines specifically state that a helmet must be worn by all players, at all times. They also state that these helmets must include a face guard and/or chin strap, and that they must be specifically designed for ice hockey.
The Canadian and USA rulebooks also have stipulations that the helmets used must be certified by the CSA or HECC respectively. Interestingly enough, the USA Hockey Rulebook states that every age group of player except adult must wear certified hockey helmets. This means that if you’re in the adult age bracket, you can technically wear a lacrosse helmet.
The specific rules are as follows:
Hockey Canada Rule 3.6(b):
While on the ice, including pre-game warmups, all players, including goalkeepers, shall wear a CSA certified hockey helmet.
USA Hockey Rule 304(c):
All players, including goalkeepers, in all age classifications except Adults, are required to properly wear a HECC approved helmet as designed by the manufacturer and with no alterations and chin strap properly fastened.
So youth players cannot. In adult/beer league, I suppose you could wear it, since there aren’t any mandatory guidelines for a proper helmet (although individual leagues could require a hockey helmet specifically.
IIHF Rule 34(i):
During the pre-game warmup and the game itself (regulation time, overtime, and penalty-shot shootout), skaters must wear a certified helmet manufactured specifically for ice hockey with chin strap properly fastened
So, as you can see, all three major rulebooks technically ban the usage of lacrosse helmets in ice hockey. Like we mentioned before, the USA rulebook technically allows adults to use them.
What are the differences between helmets?
Likewise, lacrosse has a myriad of regulations banning the usage of hockey helmets during play. The main concerns with helmets between the sports are that the different designs open up players to potential injury. For example, the face mask on a lacrosse helmet is typically stiffer than on a hockey helmet, accounting for potential ball impacts.
There is also more padding in the back of a lacrosse helmet compared to a hockey helmet. In addition, the face guards on modern hockey helmets are much smaller and typically made of a different material. Until recently, you were able to wear hockey helmets for lacrosse, but the rules have been changed.
The main reasons for the changes were liability and potential injury. Because the International Federation of Lacrosse is experimenting with the design of the game, in the hopes of greater worldwide recognition (for example, inclusion in the Olympic Summer Games).
The size of a helmet is very important to ensure safety, so be sure to measure you or your child’s head before ordering any lacrosse or hockey helmets. Many different brands manufacture lacrosse helmets. Some models, like the Cascade Pro7 and CPX-R, one size fits all. Others, like the CPV and CLH2+ are ordered to size.
There are a few other questions people tend to ask when it comes to lacrosse and hockey helmets. One of the more common questions is.
Whether or not lacrosse helmets have an expiry date?
In short, yes they do. Like any other contact sport, the helmets used for lacrosse need to be certified for safety and rule adherence. If a lacrosse helmet has not been re-certified every year, it is considered no longer certified after three years. Authorized entities can re-certify a helmet up to ten years from the date of manufacture.
Any lacrosse helmet that is 10 years of age or older cannot be re-certified.
Many people also ask how to actually measure a helmet for hockey and lacrosse?
Between the two sports, the helmets are not different enough that the measurements will change. The proper way to measure helmet size for both hockey and lacrosse is to measure the circumference of the head just above the eyebrows, and over the temples.
If you don’t have a tailor’s measuring tape, you can accomplish this by using a shoelace or similar long string-like object. Simply mark the string and then measure it with a ruler afterward.
Another common question is: whether or not it is against the rules to paint or decorate a lacrosse helmet?
Technically, it is not against the rules to paint a lacrosse helmet. Obviously, any decorations that can be considered “modifications” of the equipment are prohibited.
As far as painting the helmet goes, it is allowed. That being said, there are a few things to consider before you paint your lacrosse helmet. First of all, you have to make sure that you’re using the right kind of paint, and the right method.
Simply painting over the shell with a new layer often results in the paint becoming chipped. This is ugly and potentially dangerous. If you try to strip the existing paint to repaint it, you can end up weakening the shell, which is obviously dangerous also.
If you use improper paints (such as certain spray paints), the chemicals in the paint itself can also damage the shell. If you really have doubts about painting your helmet, it’s always recommended to take it to a professional.
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So, unfortunately, you cannot use a lacrosse helmet for hockey or vice versa. Since the helmet is one of the most important pieces of protective gear in any contact sport, it simply is not something you want to mess around with. You can technically get away with a lacrosse helmet if you’re in an adult age bracket in the USA, but it’s not recommended.
That being said, there are plenty of options for both hockey and lacrosse helmets available to players around the world. If you’re looking for the perfect helmet for your sport, be sure to do all the necessary research in order to understand what you’re getting into.