Nick Ritchie is at the start of his burgeoning professional hockey career, but if it weren’t for his visor, he might be in a far worse predicament today.
As Yahoo’s Neate Sager first reported, Ritchie was playing in his first game back with the Ontario League’s Peterborough Petes Thursday when he was struck in the face by a slapshot from teammate Matt Spencer:
Ritchie, the Anaheim Ducks’ first round pick (10th overall) this summer, was hit in the cheekbone before the puck ricocheted into his visor and tore the shield clean off. He later told the Peterborough Examiner he'd suffered a swollen cheekbone, but he should consider himself very fortunate the game has progressed to the point visors are mandatory.
This is something to bear in mind the next time some hockey dinosaur decries the use of visors as detrimental to the game; if those people were given their druthers – and let’s continue trying to withhold those particular druthers – it’s entirely likely hockey would lose a number of top young talent before they ever appeared on the NHL scene.
Contrary to what some will tell you, progress helps the game – and in this case, it helped ensure Ritchie can continue to blossom as an on-ice force.