Major safety changes at Bell Centre


A view of the curved glass at the end of the visitors bench at the Bell Centre. A similar piece is at the end of the Canadiens bench.
Stubbs photo

Only 90 games until the playoffs!

Fans headed to the Bell Centre, or watching on television, will experience and/or see a few major safety changes in the building, in part related to the frightening injury suffered by Habs forward Max Pacioretty last March 8, in part because the NHL wants to standardize safety in all 30 league rinks.

You’ll see a pane of curved glass at the end of the Canadiens bench and that of the visiting team, aimed to basically deflect a player who is bodychecked there rather than have him stop abruptly. The infamous stanchion into which Pacioretty was ridden by Boston Zdeno Chara is now about 18 inches or so moved back from the boards along the rink, so there’s no chance anyone will hit that similarly again.

This stanchion relocation has removed the glass pane that shielded the Habs’ backup goalie and the RDS broadcaster at ice level, so heads-up for them from this moment forward.

And the hard-as-steel tempered glass around the rink has been replaced with a new flexible, seamless acrylic glass. I’ve just been for a walk and leaned into it, and can tell you it doesn’t take much force for the glass to yield to pressure. When a player is checked into it, the panel itself and those adjacent to it will wobble dramatically, dissipating the force of the impact. A hard check will be loud. Very loud.

Last thing: look for little CH logos appearing in the red line that spans the 85-foot ice surface.

Feature to come on these changes, which players I spoke with on the Canadiens are delighted to see.

The glass is gone facing the ice at the Habs bench. Note the CH logos in the red line.
Stubbs photo


  1. HabsFanInTampa says:

    Since we don’t have any enforcers to defend the dirty hits supplied to our players by opposing teams. Shouldn’t the Habs organization at least set aside a couple o ice level seats for the Montreal Police and RCMP? You know, to “investigate” such goonery for when the fans call 911.

  2. Gerry H says:

    I have tix for the game here Friday night against the Sens. Are they going with the three squads all the way through this initial round of six exhibition games?

  3. Ian Cobb says:

    Would Boston put their yellow stripe on the middle of the ice, to match the one on their back.?

  4. Marc10 says:

    I guess they’ll get the replacement goalie protected after a couple nearly die… Classic NHL.

    Remember what led them to put netting up behind the goals…

  5. SeriousFan09 says:

    Does Stan Chion get an NHL pension since he’s being forcibly retired?

    – I shall always remember Captain Koivu. Habs and Hockey.
    SF09 on Twitter

  6. mike3131 says:

    Joel Bouchard must be glad he’s busy with the Armada!

    Seriously, glad to see the modifications of the stanchions around the players’ benches. And sick logos at centre ice!

    I would’ve loved to have gone down and see the scrimmages but unfortunately I couldn’t make it. So I’m really excited to see Yemelin and Cole in action. I’m also looking forward to seeing Tinordi a year older, and whether Woywitka can really push for the #6 spot.

    Another thing is I’ve been complaining about Spacek all summer, however, I gained a lot of respect when I heard he changed his training regimen this summer and to hear he showed up to camp in top shape. Hell he even lost his double chin! 😉 That being said, I’m excited to seeing him play as well. I don’t expect him to produce points and skate as fast as he once did, but I don’t think I will cringe as much as I did last year when he was on the ice. I believe he can truly solidify his spot as a reliable #5-6, maybe even #4 defenseman.

    Man I’m so happy hockey’s back!!!

    It’s not about the size of the dog in the fight; It’s about the size of the fight in the dog.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      When you look at this new design of the stanchion, it really is amazing the league hadn’t made this change earlier. After the MaxPac hit numerous sports shows showed many replays of past collisions between players and the stanchion. While none had the severity by way of injury or the complete utter destructive force of a collision (apes were not involved in other replays I saw) there were certainly enough bad hits that this simple solution should have come into effect much sooner.

    • cuzzie says:

      I recall listening to Joel explaining the name Armada on 990. Revisionist history at it’s best. He probably thinks Montcalm beat Wolfe.

      Stay Thirsty My Friends!

  7. Chuck says:

    The logos in the red line should be facing the end boards and not the sideboards. That way they’d be larger, easier to see, and would still look similar to the previous red line.

  8. LeeFree says:

    Love to be there tonight!

  9. cuzzie says:

    What’s wrong with the text size? I’m on iPad I’ve got to really enlargen the page to see anything.

    Stay Thirsty My Friends!

  10. FishOutOfWater says:

    those little logos at the red line are sooooo classy looking! i hope other teams dont steal the idea soon.

  11. cuzzie says:

    Just finished reading the Bleacher Report on trade rumours for AK and the probable teams who might be interested. Sharks,Predators,Red Wings,Wild, Avalanche and the Bruins. If PG ever trades anyone to the Bruins he should be forced to eat raw meat.

    Stay Thirsty My Friends!

  12. notjusttrash says:

    Got my pre-season ticks for tonight, too bad I’m so far up I won’t have a good look at the new glass, I like what I see from that photo though.

    No words on the Stars lineup yet? I wanna see Mickey Ribs!

    Keep Calm and Carey On

  13. Awesome, now when Chara intentionally pushes one of our players into the partition he will only get a seperated shoulder and not a broken neck.

  14. Chrisadiens says:

    The new red line seems a bit cheesy, but ah well. The only cosmetic changes I want next year at The Centre, is a new Stanley Cup banner.

    Chrisadiens and HabFan10912, one of the few father son tandems on HIO.

  15. savethepuck says:

    Plan on having the volume turned up so I can hear the first punishing hit from Yemelin running a Star into the glass.Let’s see how loud it is.

  16. HabinBurlington says:

    Montreal leading innovators in safety.

    Jacque Plante – Facemask for Goalies
    Max Pacioretty – The Curved Stanchion

    Which one will be looked back on as the greater invention?

    • Kooch7800 says:

      I would say face masks. The Max P incident should have never happened. Chara had more to do with that then the stanchion.

      I hate Chara. Ever since he broke Raitis Ivanans orbital bone with a cheap punch with the refs holds Ivanis back and basically ended his job with the habs. That is just dirty. He only got a small fine for that as well and the guy was out for two months.

      I really hope there is Karma out there somewhere

      • savethepuck says:

        Don’t recall this incident. Which makes me think, why was the disciplinary committee saying that Chara had a clean record when they were considering his possible suspension while investigating the hit on MaxP. Based on what you are saying, a previous fine for an on ice incident does not translate into a clean record.

      • MJ says:

        I second that. If and when it happens, Chara had it coming for a loooooong time. I can accept him using his size and strength to intimidate and hit hard, that’s part of the game but cheap shots are not.

        This team can use a 6’4″ fourth line centre full of grit and aggression. Paul Gaustad anyone?

    • avatar_58 says:

      It’s just a shame that it takes a near career ending injury to force the change. Plante (and all other goalies at the time) risked their lives if that puck hit them hard. Pacioretty could have been killed and frankly for a few moments I thought he had been.

      What else will we look at 20-30 years from now and shake our heads at? Shoulder pads?

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