• G. Wayne Marino
  • James Potvin
Keywords: hockey arena boards, energy absorption, impact force, stiffness


The purpose of this study was to investigate the energy absorption and energy transmission characteristics of two different types of ice hockey arena boards when impacted at both shoulder height and hip height. Traditional or standard boards were compared to a new, "softer", and theoretically more energy absorbent, type of boards. A pendulum system was designed to provide a method of impacting both the "glass" and "boards" sections with varying masses and at varying velocities. A Tri-axial accelerometer and a displacement transducer were attached to the pendulum mass to allow direct measurement of acceleration, velocity, and displacement during impact. Using these variables, forces and energies could be calculated. The results of this study indicated that standard arena boards returned 73 % more peak force per joule of initial energy than the new softer boards. The pooled data over conditions also indicated that the standard boards were 136 % stiffer than the new boards and that the new, softer boards absorbed 23 % more impact energy than their traditional counterparts. These results have particular relevance to the problem of injuries in the sport of ice hockey. It would appear that the softer boards are significantly better at absorbing impact energy and reducing peak forces, thus reducing the risk of injury on impact.