Introducing state-of-the-art dasher board technology designed to significantly improve hockey safety

New technology is the direct result of Rethink the Rink collaboration between Covestro, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Carnegie Mellon University and Athletica.

Did you know that the current hockey rink dasher board design allows for very little, if any, “give” when a player comes into contact with them? In 2018, the first-of-its-kind Rethink the Rink “Make-a-Thon” aimed to tackle this issue, jumpstarting the ideation process around ways to improve player safety without impeding the normal puck play off the boards.

The result? After more than three years of ideating, prototyping, testing and refining, we joined forces with Athletica and the Pittsburgh Penguins to unleash a brand new, state-of-the-art dasher board design. This prototype is not only significantly safer for players, but it does not impede the normal puck play off the board.

The reimagined dasher board design has increased flexibility and movement with a new facing material comprised of our Makrolon® polycarbonate sheeting over an aluminum frame with a polyurethane foam dampening element. This combination allows the boards to flex when hit with body mass but remain stiff when hit by pucks. Renderings courtesy of Athletica Sport Systems.

The new dasher board technology is shown to provide up to 65% reduction in energy absorption when a player hits the boards using scientific testing of acceleration, force and impact.

Now commercially available, the dasher boards – which contain our polycarbonate and polyurethane materials – are equipped to absorb and disperse a portion of the impact when skated into by a player, but remain stiff when a puck makes contact.

The concept was prototyped and tested by dasher board manufacturer Athletica Sport Systems using an automotive standard. Testing on the dasher board system showed:

  • Significant increase in absorption on impact
  • Up to 65% improvement in some of the key metrics of injury criterion such as acceleration and force
  • 150%-450% increase in deflection in comparison to the traditional steel frame design
  • Increased energy absorption within the board system, which facilitates distribution of the impact velocity by 40-50 milliseconds

These improvements are critical, as hockey is the only major sport with a fixed board boundary. While playing hockey, pucks and players make frequent contact with the boards with high speed and intensity.

Learn more about previous Make-a-Thon events:

  • United States

    Make-a-thon 2024

    Safety from the neck down: Tackling neck protection in the 2024 Make-a-Thon

  • United States

    Make-a-Thon 2023

    Taking a shot at foot safety: 2023 Rethink the Rink Make-a-Thon


    Make-a-thon 2022

    The 2022 make-a-thon featured an “assist” from PPG and Athletica Sports Systems.

  • United States

    Make-a-thon 2021

    Three giants of sports, innovation and technology - The Pittsburgh Penguins, Carnegie Mellon University and Covestro - teamed up for the fourth time in a continuing innovation partnership to make hockey safer at every level.

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