One of the challenges in watching hockey is following the puck, which can prove difficult when it literally disappears when play moves along the boards. This is one of the reasons the glow puck was born, before we all realized how stupid hockey looked when the players were chasing what appeared to be a doughnut from Chernobyl on television.
But what if those opaque, puck-obscuring boards were instead ... completely transparent?
At Switzerland’s Winter Classic, held at the Stade de Genève football stadium on Jan. 11, fans could watch the action through the glass and through the boards. It was like the players were competing inside a fishbowl.
There was still a yellow kick plate around the bottom of the boards to act as a guide for the player, and a blue rail indicated where the glass and the boards met so players had a frame (or pane) of reference for hitting the puck off the glass.
But for the fans in the stands, it opened up the viewing experience.
Is this something the NHL should adopt?
It would seem like a mandatory thing for outdoor games, as seats in the lower bowl would have fewer obstructed views and that whole event would seem less closed off and distant. From a television perspective, it would create a new ice-level vantage point for cameras.
Inside the arena … well, you might catch a glimpse of the puck through the first few rows through transparent boards if you’re in the upper deck. But mostly it would be a handy way to find out what the front row is eating across the ice. Or if any of them aren't wearing pants.
The downside for the NHL? Well, the players might be a tad disoriented. The chances for broken glass panes during games increase exponentially with the way teams use the boards. (Do the Panthers have enough opaque stickers to replace them with?)
And wither the advertising along the boards? Would we see a barrage of CGI ads along the boards during the game? Will they (gasp!) just shift the ads from the boards to the jerseys instead?
So there you go: Transparent boards. At the very least it would give us an amazing view of players’ faces smashing against the glass on hazardous boarding penalties. With that, we ask:
Pass or Fail: Transparent boards at NHL stadium games.