It is my belief as an ex-international player and current national coach, that the wearing of a gum guard whilst playing hockey is an essential part of your equipment regardless of the standard, level or age group you are playing at. Too often in the past I have witnessed terrible incidents where players have not been wearing any mouth/teeth protection, resulting in catastrophic consequences for the unprotected player.
Just last year, two national players were involved in (separate) incidents where the lost teeth as a result of not taking the issue seriously, and were playing without gum guards. They both now have either had corrective surgery (at great expense), or wear a plate with a false tooth… something that could have easily been prevented had they taken the wise and mature decision of wearing a gun guard whilst playing their sport.
Since then, MAX® has come on board and now supplies the national squad with gum guards (including the recent Olympic team that went to Beijing). The players feel much more reassured playing with equipment they know is reliable and expertly manufactured, and many have commented on the comfort and quality of the gum guards supplied by Max® compared with previous makes they have used.
Thanks Jacques and Nico for your support and expertise.