The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has announced key changes aimed at improving player safety.
The announcement, made Tuesday, comes four years after a young player from Nova Scotia had a heart attack and died on the ice.
Ambitious and promising, 16 year-old Jordan Boyd was a recruit with the Acadie-Bathurst Titans in New Brunswick in 2013.
During training camp, Boyd went into cardiac arrest and died.
His parents blamed the league, claiming the staff wasn't trained to use a defibrillator, so they had to wait until paramedics arrived.
The new protocol is meant to prevent similar on-ice tragedies, explained QMJHL Commissioner Gilles Courteau.
“Each and every team has to have three permanent staff that they have to use the defibrillator and one of them has to make sure that the defibrillator is at each and every team event,” he said.
Boyd's heart condition was never diagnosed. The team said it still has to rely on disclosure from players to determine who is at risk once intense training begins.
“The player is going to have to realize and understand how important it is to fill in the questionnaire before he comes to the training camp,” said Courteau.
In addition to ensuring teams know how to use defibrillators, the league will also order annual training on other lifesaving techniques.
Boyd's parents have lobbied for these changes for the past four years.
“It's a bittersweet day but we're pleased with what the league announced today in terms of the safety protocol. We think it's very important,” said Stephen Boyd, the teen’s father.
The league also offered its apologies to the Boyd family.
“We accept the apology from the chairman. We're very grateful for that and speaking with him I believe he's sincere and we accept it wholeheartedly.”
The league will make a $50,000 donation to the Jordan Boyd foundation, which awards post-secondary scholarships to amateur hockey players and is dedicated to CPR training and research into heart disease in young people.
An annual celebrity hockey tournament held in Boyd’s name has also raised $560,000 for heart disease research.