I understand the reasoning, but I still don’t like it. I don’t expect I will ever like it.
Went to the local junior hockey game Wednesday, first time in a number of years that I have done so.
For those who aren’t hockey fans, “junior” is players aged 16-20. In Canada those playing junior hockey are aspiring to professional careers, or at least university sports scholarships. It is fast-paced and usually pretty entertaining.
There have been new safety measures instituted since the last time I attended a game. In my youth there were practically none other than some glass at the ends of the rink to stop pucks that missed the net going over the boards and perhaps killing a fan.
A number of years ago the glass was extended to go all around the rink. Then mesh was added at the ends, running from the ceiling to the rink level, somewhat like you will find behind home plate in a baseball stadium.
Now I discover that the mesh encircles the entire rink. No more stray pucks, at any point, leaving the ice and winding up in the stands.
I’m not sure how many people would get injured by a flying puck leaving at centre ice. That would be an errant pass, not as hard as a shot on goal. which might cut you if you weren’t watching the play. Still, it is tough to argue that mesh all around isn’t better for safety.
That doesn’t mean I have to like it though. I find the mesh impedes the view. Not much of an issue when I go to an NHL game – I sit so far from the ice surface that there is no chance of a stray puck hitting me, so there is no mesh.
But the arenas are much smaller at the junior level. Wednesday’s game was played in rink that might hold a thousand fans. That meant there was nowhere in the building to watch the game without having to look through the mesh. Unless you wanted to stand rinkside and look through the glass – but I like to sit to watch a hockey game.
I wasn’t impressed that I couldn’t see as well as I would have liked. But I didn’t get hit by a puck. Mind you, in the hundreds, maybe thousands, of hockey games I attended in arenas without mesh, I never once got hit by a puck.