Mystery solved: How Florida Panthers ‘plywood glass’ embarrassment happened

You’re watching a Florida Panthers game. Suddenly, a puck breaks the glass in front of you. You wait, expecting another pane to be sent out from the back to replace it, as happens in every NHL arena every season at some point. But the replacement ends up being a large slab of opaque obstruction, and suddenly it’s like standing behind Dustin Byfuglien at a rock concert ...

So, what the heck happened at the BB&T Center during the Panthers’ game against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night? Why did the arena crew replace the glass with what, on television, looked to be plywood?

According to George Richards of the Miami Herald, the “plywood” was actually a pane of plexiglass that had the protective backing still stuck to it. The Panthers originally tried to use a piece that had the backing stripped from it, but that pane broke on the way to the ice and this was the “third string” glass. And much like a third-string quarterback, it was annoying and ineffective.

Paige Lewis of Panther Parkway reports that the backing of the glass couldn’t be removed because of the “brutal humidity” in Florida, and because workers only had a limited time to replace the glass:

The glass was back to its normal, accepted transparent state for overtime and the shootout, which the Panthers won.

So kudos to the arena crew for getting that done in time for the fans to witness a Florida victory, which is like fumbling around with your camera before successfully photographing a Yeti.