A registry, established by the Committee on Prevention of Spinal Cord Injuries Due to Hockey, of major injuries to the spine or spinal cord sustained while playing ice hockey contains 117 cases entered between January 1966 and March 1987; 112 of these injuries were sustained in Canada. Between 1981 and 1986 up to 15 hockey related major spinal injuries were reported in Canada each year. Most injuries occurred in teenagers and players under 30 years of age who were playing in supervised games. The most common cause of injury was a push or check from behind, which caused the player to be catapulted head first into the boards. The authors describe the programs currently being implemented to prevent the occurrence of major spinal injuries. Unfortunately, these programs have not decreased the number of injuries reported annually.