A new dasher board design could be finding its way to the NHL. The new design is a product of a partnership between the Pittsburgh Penguins, Covestro LLC, Athletica Sport Systems and students from Carnegie Mellon University.
The partnering organizations unveiled a new prototype of dasher boards, now commercially available, that the Penguins said are safer for players upon impact but do not impede regular hockey puck play that occurs off of the boards throughout a game.
According to the Penguins, the boards provide up to 65% in energy absorption improvement when a player hits them, a figure that the Penguins said was calculated using scientific testing of acceleration, force and impact.
“This is a tremendous achievement that will make the game safer,” President and CEO of the Penguins David Morehouse said in a prepared statement. “It is very exciting how Covestro, students from CMU, Athletica, and the Pens came together to create a dasher board that has a hard exterior so that the puck behaves the same way, but also has enough give to reduce injury when a person hits the boards during play. It is literally a game changer in making the game safer.”
The Penguins, @CovestroUS, and Athletica Sport Systems announced a state-of-the-art dasher board design that has been installed at the Covestro Innovation Rink at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) September 29, 2021
CMU students first initially came up with the concept during the university’s fourth annual Rethink the Rink Make-a-thon project. These students partnered with engineers at Covestro, a German producer of high-performance polymers which maintains its North American headquarters outside of Pittsburgh, to create the material that surrounds the dasher boards. Athletica Sport Systems, a dasher board manufacturer based in Minneapolis, then tested the concepts and found that when compared to traditional steel frame-designed dasher boards, the new concept boards had a 150%-450% increase in deflection.
“Make-a-thon and the new hockey rink dasher board application is a testament to how we can combine material science and leading minds to problem solve. It is a great example of how innovation and collaboration come to life,” Haakan Jonsson, chairman and president of Covestro, said in a statement. “This is a win for the collaborative venture between the Pens, Covestro, Athletica Sport Systems and CMU. And we expect more safety improvements to come from future Make-a-thons.”
The Penguins first showed off the new boards at its Covestro Innovation Rink at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex on Sept. 28.
By Jon Sorensen