Hockey Fan Injury Leads to Negligence Suit Seeking Better Netting

October 27th, 2014

With the kickoff of the Providence Bruins hockey season, as RI personal injury lawyers, we remind fans of safety tips during hockey games. Pucks striking fans in the stands have caused unfortunate injuries. However, the odds of being injured may be reduced by sitting towards the center of the rink where the puck rarely enters the stands, behind the protective netting on the ends of the rink, or in the upper bowl.

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43 year-old Chip Green has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the NHL and the United Center after a hit by a puck during a playoff hockey game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild. The lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of the NHL and United Center due to insufficient netting surrounding the rinks’ corners. Green was sitting just above the protective glass in a corner. When Blackhawks star Duncan Keith attempted a shot from the corner of the rink, it traveled into the stands and struck Green in the head. Green’s personal injuries reportedly included hearing loss and traumatic brain injury, leaving him unable to work, and affecting his ability to communicate. According to CBS Chicago, at least three people suffered injuries since 2013 at the United Center, all sitting in corners around the stadium. Green is seeking $200,000 in damages and extended safety netting around the rink.

The NHL began requiring netting behind goals following the 2002 death of 13 year-old Brittanie Cecil, who was struck in the head by a puck while attending a Columbus Blue Jackets home game in Ohio. Notably, the netting only covers directly behind the net, so if players attempt a shot from the corner of the rink, or should a puck be deflected, it could travel into the stands where fans are sitting.