(Oct. 10, 2003) -- During the final three home games of the Toronto Maple Leafs' preseason, fans were asked to participate in the selection of the most desirable netting for Maple Leafs games during the 2003-04 season. In the first game, fans saw the dark netting used last season. In the second game, the same netting, but white, was used and in the final game, clear monofilament netting was used.
More than 2100 fans responded to the questionnaire, which asked for opinions, not only on the view of the playing surface, but also on the view of the video board and score clock. Analysis of the fan responses demonstrated that 85 per cent of fans up to row 20 rated their view of the ice surface to be good to excellent with the clear netting, while 87 per cent or fans seated above row 20 rated their view of the ice to be good to excellent. Similarly, 83 per cent of fans up to row 20 found the clear netting to be good to excellent when viewing the video board, while 95 per cent of fans seated above row 20 rated their view of the video board to be good to excellent.
"We are extremely pleased with both the participation and results of this process," said Bob Hunter, senior vice-president and general manager of Air Canada Centre. "This questionnaire provided a forum for our fans to have a direct impact on their view of the game and the results have shown that the monofilament netting was the most popular choice of fans at the game, as well as those watching on TV."
With all Maple Leafs preseason games broadcast on Leafs TV, viewers voted online through the team's website at mapleleafs.com for what they believed to be the clearest television picture. Online results showed that, again, the monofilament netting received a rating of good to excellent from 95 per cent of respondents.
This clear type of netting will be produced by Aimcon Arena and Recreation Products of Orillia, Ontario, and is currently used in four other arenas around the National Hockey League. The NHL mandated the use of safety netting in all league arenas prior to the start of the 2002-03 season. The netting will be in place when the Maple Leafs open the home portion of their 2003-04 schedule Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens.