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Greg Neeld

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Gregneeld

Greg Neeld (born February 25, 1955 in Vancouver, British Columbia) is a retired ice hockey defenceman. He played for the Toronto Toros. He lost his left eye after being high-sticked in a junior game in 1973. Neeld became the first player (excluding goaltenders) to wear a facial shield in regular play. Neeld's injury brought attention to issue of ocular safety in ice hockey, and in Canada, facial protection was made mandatory for minor hockey by 1980.

He persevered with his dream to become a professional hockey player. He was drafted 71st overall in the fourth round of the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft by the Buffalo Sabres and 40th overall in the third round of the 1975 WHA Amateur Draft by the Minnesota Fighting Saints. He never played an NHL game, as the Sabres were not able to get around the rule that a player was required to be sighted in both eyes. However, Neeld appeared in 17 games with the Toronto Toros in the 1975-76 WHA season, registering only one assist. He spent part of the season in the NAHL, and the entirety of the next season. He played two more seasons in the International Hockey League (IHL) for four various teams before going to play in Europe after the 1978-79 season.

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