The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a world leader in the development of voluntary international standards. Consisting of 89 member countries, ISO addresses standardization in all fields except electrical and electronic engineering.
In 1979, the need for international standards on protective equipment for ice hockey was identified. The first ISO/TC83/SC5 meeting was conducted in Ottawa, Canada, in 1987. Since then, SC5 has met annually, with meetings being held in Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; Colorado Springs, United States; Waterloo, Canada; and Prague, Czech Republic.
In its six years of existence, SC5 has produced two Draft International Standards (DIS) and over 60 related documents. Publication of the DISs for ice hockey helmets and face protectors is uncertain as Finland and Sweden continue to vote against them.
Notable technical advances reflected in the DIS include dynamic impact tests, objective optical test methods for face protectors, and gravity-assisted impact tests for helmeted headforms onto an anvil.
Publication of the two international standards will signify an important step to providing hockey players worldwide with an equal level of protection, and the potential reality of “one product, one test” for hockey manufacturers. However, the creation of a committee by Comité Europeén de Normalisation (CEN) to develop a standard on ice hockey helmets and face protectors for use in the European community has complicated this goal. Through the Vienna Agreement, a charter signifying cooperation between ISO and CEN, the goal of achieving one set of internationally accepted standards for ice hockey helmets and face protectors is closer.