Coming to you soon if Thomas Smith has his way, a 40 inch orange painted stripe on the ice around the boards. The name of this orange line is the “Look-Up” line. It reminds players to look up and re-focus where they are in retrospect to the boards of the rink and to be aware of the other players around. So far 100 rinks in 17 states across America and some rinks in Canada have these lines. The estimate is by October 2015, 225 rinks in 27 states will have incorporated the Look-Up Line.
The player behind the idea is Thomas Smith. Back in 2008, he was around 19 years old with a bright hockey future before him. Thomas’s first head/spine injury was that year. It was a miracle that he learned to walk again. The experienced a second spinal injury in 2009. He now walks with two canes. Thomas’s goal is to prevent others from succumbing to the same injuries he received and to remind players about slamming others into the boards, especially their heads. The idea of the painted line came to him as he watched a game of baseball. In baseball the players know when they are near the boards because the ground has markings. He thought “why not hockey?” Paint a line around the boards so players have a visual reminder of where they and the other players are.
When a player is in the zone with the puck on his stick, nothing else is on his mind. His location and that of the other players is overshadowed as the player focuses on the three-inch disc at the end of his twig. The orange line will help the player to pull his focus back to the bigger picture in regard to his location on the ice and how close the other players may be. Smith’s aim is to eliminate all head and spine injuries in hockey. The next arena to embrace this addition to the ice will be painted at an arena in his native state of Massachusetts at the Iceoplex at Southpointe.
Why the color orange instead of any other color? Studies revealed that yellow faded during the game, and the use of red is already used for the center line and the face off circles. Do you know that the Yellow Cab Company’s vehicles are actually painted orange? Orange stands out in a snow storm while yellow fades into it. A tidbit of information to impress friends. Back to hockey, orange is associated with safety so it became a natural color choice for the stripe. In addition, orange causes no problems when viewing a game on television. Likewise fans at a game and the players themselves can still see the puck as it enters the orange zone. When it comes to hockey, change is never quick. This is true whether it is the NHL or USA Hockey. USA Hockey plans to do a study on the line project before making a decision concerning its endorsement.
I am not sure if it will work or not. I mean will the NHL allow a new and different color line on the ice? What will the teams say about it? Knowing that the Junior’s are using this line might help it get into the major league but it won’t happen this season.
What about you, what do you think?