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What's new at Nationwide Arena: New boards elevate fan experience

by Staci Pawlak / Columbus Blue Jackets

The inside of Nationwide Arena will look a little different to many fans attending Monday’s home opener against the Red Wings. The most notable changes include the new high-definition scoreboard, ribbon boards, and party tower monitors.

However, a few things will be different about the rink itself, including new blue-capped stanchions around the ice surface and larger panes of glass that will improve visibility for fans in the lower bowl.

“Game experience is going to be great. Looking through a new piece of glass, the stuff that gets beat up throughout the year, it’s definitely great,” said Ian Huffman, ice technician at Nationwide Arena.

The changes have many other benefits in addition to elevating the experience for fans. For starters, the blue soft cap on the stanchions will provide for a safer game for the players, helping to protect them from concussions or lacerations when they get checked into the boards.

Not only that, but as any hockey player and fan knows, the outcome of a game can often be decided by a bounce of the puck off the boards. Sometimes, it’s an awkward bounce off the boards. The new dashers help to eliminate those bad bounces, making it one less thing a player has to think about when he bounces a pass to a teammate.

“The players this week have been out testing the boards, checking bounces and things like that. They’re very happy, it’s definitely good,” Huffman said.

The new changeover dashers also make life easier for the arena crew at Nationwide Arena who often have to tear down and rebuild the ice rink in a matter of hours since the building also hosts concerts, events, and other shows throughout the season.

“We can get them in and out quickly after shows, get back to a hockey set or get them out of the hockey set depending on what we need,” Huffman said.

No detail has been overlooked with the new additions at Nationwide Arena. Even the color of the dashers and stanchion caps mirror the blue shade of the seats, creating a coolness factor that will only intensify with the energetic atmosphere at home games.

In other words, if the new stanchions, dashers, and larger panes of glass had voices, they would be screaming, “Let’s Go Jackets!”

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