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NHL Orders Arenas to Hang Safety Netting Behind Goals

June 21, 2002|Associated Press

TORONTO — NHL arenas will have a different look next season as part of the league's response to safety concerns for fans.

Netting will be hung behind the goals following the death in March of a 13-year-old girl who was struck in the head by a puck.

At its meeting Thursday, the NHL's Board of Governors ordered installation of the nets as well as standardizing the height of the glass around the rink to a minimum of five feet.

The decision follows the death of Brittanie Cecil, who was hit by a deflected slap shot March 16 at a Columbus Blue Jacket game.

She died two days later after an injury to an artery in her neck caused internal bleeding, the first documented death of a fan from being struck by a puck at an NHL game.

Although a league report found its arenas to be safe, Commissioner Gary Bettman said, "We're doing it because we think it's the right thing to do after what has happened."

The netting will hang from the ceiling, and rest on top of the glass.

It will be hung across the end zones, stretching from the corners of the rink.

Bettman said such measures would have prevented the puck that struck Cecil from entering the stands.

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