Friend of hockey player killed during game seeks changes in safety regulations

There are calls for change in the youth ice hockey community following the death of a St. Luke's player in a freak accident last week and his friend is among those leading the effort.
Hockey player Samuel Brande now has part of his good friend with him whenever he hits the ice - Teddy Balkind's initials and number are scrawled on his stick.
"He was the most positive person I've ever met. He never walked around camp without a smile," said Brande.
The Massachusetts teen is also channeling his grief into action with a petition asking USA Hockey to require neck guards for youth hockey. Right now, neck guards are just highly recommended.
"They make us wear helmets, they make us wear gloves, they make us wear cups, they make us where shin pads - I don't know why they don't make us wear neck guards," said Brande.
Balkind was a sophomore at St. Luke's School. He died Thursday after he fell to the ice during a game at Brunswick and another player's skate cut Balkind's neck.
The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference requires players to wear neck guards, but Connecticut private schools aren't governed by the CIAC.
CIAC rules state, “Any player who, after being warned, fails to wear a throat guard, shall receive a misconduct penalty.”
"The purpose of a neck guard is to prevent cuts," said Kyle Bensen, owner of Bensen Ferguson Sports. "It's like a collar you wear around your neck. It has a piece of Velcro in the back. It's a ballistic nylon."
Hockey stores in Connecticut have seen a run on neck guards after Balkind's accident.
The racks at Pure Hockey in Stamford have been empty since Saturday morning, with employees estimating half their current calls are for neck guards.
Pure Hockey's marketing director tells News 12 it's a trend they're seeing across the country and online.
Brande says his own hockey team is already changing its guidelines. He hopes others do, too.
"It's no one's fault that this happened, but I just don't want anybody to go through what me and my community is going through," said Brande.
Brande says he's looking into a designing neck guard with Balkind's name on it.