What Hockey Glass Is Made Of

Hockey glass refers to the glass that sits on top of the boards in ice hockey rinks. This glass was created for several reasons, firstly it protects spectators against line-drive pucks that miss that net and go above the boards. Hockey glass is an extremely effective way to keep fans from getting hurt by flying pucks. Also, hockey glass prevents pucks from flying out of the rink during games so the game doesn’t have to stop as frequently. Another advantage of hockey glass is that it keeps cool air in when the floor is being flooded before or after use. Due to the lack of cold air circulating to the seats, the water on the ice freezes faster.

What is Hockey Glass Made Of?

When you watch hockey games, I am sure you and every hockey fan has wondered why the glass does not break after getting hit by a 100 mile-per-hour slapshot!? It is obvious that regular glass would crack if it were to be struck by one of these slapshots. So, what is hockey glass made of? The penalty box, team benches, and sides of the rink are all covered in hockey glass. In the past, the glass in hockey rinks was tempered. A piece of tempered glass is approximately four to five times stronger than a piece of annealed glass for when pucks missed the hockey net. The process of heat tempering glass involves cutting and examining annealed glass panels before transforming them into temperable glass. In an industrial oven or furnace preheated to 620°C, annealed glass panes are typically processed. When the tempered glass reaches the requisite temperature, it undergoes a process of high-pressure cooling called quenching. Quenching is accomplished by blasting high-pressure air across the outer surface of a glass with a series of nozzles arranged in varying positions. As a result, the outer layers of glass cool rapidly, but the inner layers of glass remain hotter for longer periods of time. Slowly cooling inner layers of the glass create tension inside and compression outside as the center tugs at the outer surface. Tempered glass is stronger and more durable as a result of this chain reaction.

In modern times, hockey glasses are made most commonly of special safety plexiglass. In many NHL arenas and locally owned arenas, tempered glass has been replaced with Plexiglas to ensure player safety. Plexiglass is composed primarily of acrylic, which is rolled into sheets. Plexiglass is a lightweight, shock-absorbing alternative to glass because it is made of plastic instead of glass. The plexiglass pane will crack instead of shatter, so the glass can easily be replaced. 

How Tall is Hockey Rink Glass?

There are two things hockey glass does well. Firstly, it can withstand the impact of players slamming into it, and secondly, it is transparent and allows the audience to see the action unobstructed. Despite being called glass, Plexiglas is not made with heated liquid sand, as traditional glass is. Plexiglas is made from acrylic plastic sheets. On the dasher boards around the arena, Plexiglas is mounted and held together by supports. As compared to tempered glass, acrylic glass is better at absorbing shock which is safer for the players when they are hit into the glass!

So, how tall is hockey glass? The boards should be forty-two inches (42″) high above the ice surface. Safety glass shall be attached to the boards and extend vertically from each end of the rink no less than eight feet (8′) above the end boards and not less than five feet (5′) along either side of the rink. With the exception of official markings provided in these rules, all surfaces and boards should be white in color, including the kick plate at the bottom of the board, which should be light yellow. League approval is required for any variations from the current dimensions of a hockey rink.

How Often Does Hockey Glass Break?

There were many instances of glass breaking in the 80s and 90s but nowadays, it happens far less often. Thanks to plexiglass, it is becoming rarer and rarer to see the glass break in a hockey game. Unlike tempered glass, plexiglass breaks only by cracking, so it is easier to fix than tempered glass. A relatively higher frequency of glass shattering happened with tempered glass than with plexiglass. As a result, shards of glass would end up flying into the crowd and on the ice.

In terms of safety and visual experience, Plexiglass provides the best design for a hockey arena. With its shock-absorbing and flexible acrylic base sheets, the game is more secure for players as well as spectators. Plexiglas cracks when it breaks, so shattering glass is no longer an issue in hockey arenas.

Essentially, Plexiglas is a plastic material made up of methyl methacrylate, an ester of methacrylic acid, as its main component. Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) is the technical name for this material. However, it is also commonly referred to by many other trade names like Perspex, Acrylplast, Acrylite, Altuglas, Perclax, Lymacryl, Lucite Acrivill, Oroglas, and Vitroflex. Yet, Plexiglas is its original and most well-known trade name.

Plexiglas is an excellent alternative to glass. Because of this, acrylic glass is also known as acrylic glass and is one of the most widely used plastic materials. In contrast to glass, however, it is truly shatter-proof, very flexible, as well as transparent (its transmission factor is 0.93, whereas that of glass is between 0.80 and 0.91).

How Long Does It Take to Fix Hockey Rink Glass

Yes, sometimes a big hit or a heavy slapshot can shatter or crack the glass. Sometimes glass breaks, but it is only a small crack. When it happens, the arena crew will remove the broken glass and replace it with a fresh one.

So, how do they fix it and how long does it take to fix broken hockey rink glass? It will take between 10 and 20 minutes to complete this process. There are some rare cases where the glass completely shatters, in which case repairing the glass can take up to 45 minutes. In situations like this, the referees are more likely to end the period and add the extra time to the next.


When you attend your next hockey game, you’ll appreciate the engineering that keeps fans and players safe behind the glass. In some older rinks, you can still see glass but this is becoming much less common and the majority of hockey rinks use Plexiglas, a flexible, lightweight, and durable plastic alternative. If you have any comments or feedback on this article, we would love to hear from you!

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