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What the Heck is HECC?

By USA Hockey, 10/10/17, 3:30PM MDT

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The Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC), organized in 1976

The Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC), organized in 1976, is an independent volunteer organization that selects standards including test methods to validate that HECC certified equipment is made according to the selected standard.

HECC is not a standard making group but does select the standard to be used.  HECC has selected the ASTM standard for hockey helmets and facemasks for the last forty years, except for the CSA (Canadian Standards Association) from which HECC selected their half visor standard (ASTM did not have such a standard).

The HECC Certification Program involves three parts: 

  1. Selection of a standard to which a third party can test submitted protective equipment, 
  2. Choosing a third party validator (testing laboratory) to document that protective equipment has been made to the selected standard, and
  3. Communicating and cooperating with playing rules-making organizations necessary for proper compliance and the ultimate safety of the hockey players (at this time, this includes USA Hockey, the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

HECC does not write standards.  HECC only selects standards that have already been approved by some recognized standards-writing organization.  These standards serve as a basis for the HECC certification programs.   This initial phase of standard writing requires input from three groups, consumers, manufacturers, and general interest.   It is important that this is a consensus standard, and that there is equal representation from each of the three groups.  If manufacturers dominate the standard acceptance procedure, it is possible that a standard will not be stringent enough to provide minimum protection.  On the other hand, dominance by consumers may result in a standard that is impractical from a manufacturing or an economical standpoint.  The general interest members include university researchers, medical professionals, and test laboratory personnel, who can add expertise that is not included in the manufacturer and consumer groups.

At this time, HECC contracts with a single accredited testing agency, Intertek Testing Services located in Cortland, New York.  A bid for these services is put out every three years.   

Membership in HECC is open to any and all individuals with an interest in safer equipment and better performances in ice hockey.  The Executive Committee of HECC consists of five officers and three members plus an alternate from the three groups: general interest members, consumers, and manufacturer representatives.  In addition to the elected members, a Chairman of the Certification Committee is appointed by the President to serve on the Executive Committee.  HECC hires a legal counsel to advise HECC on legal matters.

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