The majority of players in the NHL are currently wearing visors (70%) but many are dead against it, and want it to be a personal decision. Nearly 100% of rookies are wearing the visors, for protection of their eyes.
In an article today in The Toronto Star
it was revealed that the NHLPA is reconsidering their position on mandatory visors for all players in the NHL.
There has always been a stigma attached to players who wear visors, as if they're "not men, suck cages" but that is not true. In 1978 the NHL made it mandatory for all new players to wear helmets and it was grandfathered in, so any players already in the league had the option. Many chose to wear the protective helmets, but it's still optional to wear a visor today.
“I wear a visor because I’ve been hit close to the eye a few times,” said Leafs centre David Steckel, who works on the penalty-killing unit. “I like my eyes and I’d like to keep them. Whether (the NHL and NHLPA) grandfather it in is up to them. But I like my eyes, so I wear a visor.”
Steckel has it right and the bottom line is your eyes, and no one can dispute that, no matter what they say. Nazem Kadri currently playing with the Toronto Maple Leafs, says "he doesn't see himself taking it off" since he wore the visor when he came to the NHL last year. He is just happy he doesn't have to continue to wear the 'cage' he was required to wear in minor hockey.
The most recent injury to newcomer Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers, when he received an accidental skate to the head during a warm up skate, while he was without a helmet, and required several stitches,
says it all.
NHL players are now more inclined to wear their helmets during warm ups, however it is not mandatory by the league.
Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins is still not playing this year (except for a few games) from a concussion he received last season and his return is still in doubt, but when he is playing he wears a helmet with visor and ear protection.
Any changes to the rules will not be enforced until the NHLPA gets the blessing from the players, and since over 70% already wear visors, a new rule is within sight.