PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Ice fog rises from the rink as the Iceoplex crew at Southpointe repaints the face-off circles and all those other lines that complete a hockey rink.
They do it every five years or so. But this time, they’re adding a 40-inch-wide orange line all along the boards. Like the warning track in baseball, the “Look-Up Line” is there to warn players when they’re getting close to the wall.
So you might say, how could a player not see the boards? But when you’re skating along, as fast as you can, looking at the puck, the boards may be the last thing you’re thinking about.
A head-down collision at just five miles an hour can be enough to cause a level of paralysis.
“We’re hoping that this orange line gives them what they need to look up and know where they are, and get their heads up so they don’t get any injuries,” says marketing director Mandi Pryor.
She says Iceoplex is the first rink in western Pennsylvania to add a Look-Up Line. It was created by a Massachusetts man who suffered severe spinal injuries after two separate collisions with a hockey wall.
Iceoplex rink manager Jerry Obiecunas is videotaping the process for a YouTube video.
“We want to be able to present our way of doing it to the next person who decides to do this at their rink,” he explains. “Give them a little bit of tips of what to do, what not to do, what to look out for. Things like that.”
If Iceoplex “goes orange,” can the Pens be far behind?
“I think the NHL should take these precautions, just as we are at our rink right here,” Pryor says.