At every NHL game, two large nets separate fans in lower level seats from the ice, stretching from the top of the glass to the rafters. They serve to protect fans from pucks that fly from the rink into the spectator areas.
But on Thursday night, it was one of the nets themselves that ended up injuring two fans.
After most fans had emptied out of the arena the Boston Bruins’ 3-0 victory over the Washington Capitals at TD Garden, two women were standing near the glass near the end boards. Suddenly, a pole that holds the protective netting fell from the Garden roof and landed on them.
A few other fans rushed to their aid before medical personnel arrived on the scene.
WARNING: The following image is graphic in nature.
Via the Boston Globe, the aftermath:
Boston police did not release the names of the victims, only to say they’re women in their 20s. The incident happened around 9:40 p.m. At least one of the women was taken away on a stretcher, her neck immobilized.
According to the Globe, the women were taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for evaluation.
The Garden released the following statement: "Two fans were injured following last night's Bruins game when a safety net fell unexpectedly. Our immediate concern is the well-being of these two fans. Safety of our fans is our top priority and we are investigating the incident."
What happened with the netting? It’s unclear, although it could have happened during the deconstruction of the Bruins’ rink that occurs when a non-hockey event is scheduled at the Garden the following day. The Boston Celtics face the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night.
The NHL installed the protective netting in its arenas in 2002 after Brittanie Cecil, a fan just four days shy of her 14th birthday, died after being struck on her left temple by a puck that deflected into the stands at a Columbus Blue Jackets game in March of that year. The League installed the nets for the following season.