Im in the minority but I think its all kids watching older guys and wanting to be pro's before their time. Visors are the same. I saw a kid have the top of his ear taken off in a scrimage so there is a reason for them. Things are always going to happen but if my kid damaged his face or his ears just because he wanted to pretend to be a man, I would rather he kept wearing the cage and guards. Not sure what happened to the world where dressing like guy who plays jr hockey before you are good enough to play it was a thing. We called those guys posers where I am from.
I've seen kids get hit in the ear with the puck and thankfully they had an ear guard in. Wasn't pretty, could have been worse.
U18 is the key. It is still considered Youth Hockey until Jrs, College or Men’s League. As a parent is worth the risk?
Guys I get it, but it was a school assigned helmet. I just thought if he wore it all last year it should be fine this year also. He already bought some guards and put them in for todays game, just had not heard of it before.
High schools fall under NFHS rules (instead of USA Hockey), I am almost certain (not 100%) that preps do as well.
This link compares USA to NFHS to NCAA:
Section 3 is equipment: but ear guards are not mentioned (might be too minor to highlight).