A trend in player safety continues to pop up at arenas, as more hockey teams and associations are installing ready-to-flex boards.
Limiting and improving the treatment of concussions has become a big focus for major sports leagues, and the NHL is no exception. One of the initiatives the league has undertaken is to focus on installing flex boards and acrylic glass surrounding the ice. This is in contrast to some older boards and glasses found in arenas, which may contain heavier glass and be supported by materials such as steel.
That trend is now extending to the amateur ranks, where USA Hockey has installed both ready-to-flex boards as well as new glass. The project is taking place on both rinks at the association’s venue–USA Hockey Arena–in Plymouth, MI. According to arena official Paul Fassbender, the project should reduce injuries by providing players with a softer, more flexible surface. More from Hometown Life.com:
The arena upgrades are part of a growing trend led by the National Hockey League, to reduce concussions and other major injuries suffered when players hurtle at high speed into the boards and glass.
“We upgraded for all the safety that the NHL’s been pushing, for concussions,” Fassbender explained. “So we revamped, pulled out the old boards that were 20, 22 years old. heavy, steel boards, and we went with these alumimum frames.
“They have the flex points in them, flex glass. Boards will give more. You’ll actually see the movement of the boards when people get hit into them. It’s supposed to help with shoulder injuries, concussions and be a little softer of a feel when kids are sliding into them or getting hit into them.”
As long as these materials are identified as being crucial to player safety, they will continue to be installed at amateur and professional arenas alike.