ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A recent hit at an NHL game has many in the hockey community thinking about safety around the glass.
On Tuesday, Boston Bruins player Zdeno Chara checked Montreal Canadiens player Max Pacioretty into the glass, causing a severe concussion and cracked vertebrae. A Twin Cities man says he has a product that could prevent such injuries.
Hockey players know that when you play the sport, you will get hit. But when the Boston Bruins took on the Montreal Canadiens, player padding wasn’t enough.
Pacioretty was checked into the glass partition. He ended up with a severe concussion and a broken neck.
“It’s a worst case scenario,” said Chris Guertin, president of Sport Resource Group.
While there was foam protection on the glass when Pacioretty was hurt, Guertin said there isn’t a standard requirement for the NHL or even high school rinks. The foam might be there but it’s not thick foam.
Some arenas do have thick padding around the glass, others don’t.
After seeing a similar hit on the ice four years ago, Guertin invented a foam edging he said could prevent serious injury.
“The density on our foam pad, it’s almost of a weight bench density. You can squeeze it together and at the absolute strongest, you’re still going to get 3/4 of an inch of protection,” said Guertin.
Guertin is in contract talks with the NHL to put his product in rinks around the country. And since Pacioretty’s injury, more people are taking notice.
“Unfortunately, until there’s an injury, a lot of time there’s not demand. Now there’s demand,” said Guertin.
Hockey is a sport where there will be hits, be it on the ice or on the boards.
“My experience is if you’re playing in a game and you’re worried about stuff, you’re going to be irrelevant really fast,” said hockey player Ted Ferrara.
But Guertin argues those hits should never put a player’s life in danger.
“Hopefully the next time there’s a hit like this, with a safer pad, we’ll never hear about it, because the player gets up and walks away,” said Guertin.
Pacioretty is still in the hospital recovering. The NHL did not suspend Chara.
Montreal Police are starting a criminal investigation into the on-ice hit, but wouldn’t go into detail on what kind of charges could be filed.