Well, this was a one in a million shot.
During last Avalanche-Red Wings game at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Avs defenseman Francois Beauchemin attempted to clear the puck from his own zone.
And then, well, this happened:
Look at how tiny that hole is! It’s smaller than the cutouts they use for those Shoot the Puck contests that people, which people normally fail miserably. If Beauchemin had been aiming for that hole, he’d have needed more than one try to do that, but instead it sailed straight through and into the crowd.
Fortunately no one was seriously injured.
A few details, via the Washington Post:
The shot came courtesy of Avalanche defenseman Francois Beauchemin, who was trying to clear the puck but instead sent the disc flying through the hole.
Beauchemin ended up bringing the fan a towel to sop up whatever blood there might have been, and that appeared a fine enough solution because the fan stayed to watch the rest of the game. Hockey fans are a tough breed.
And as that Post story notes, it’s actually happened before!
This was in 2009:
In that instance, a cameraman was actually standing at the hole when it happened, took it in the face, and then calmly continued working. (Keeping the puck as well, so good on whoever retrieved it and gave it to him.)
So that’s twice in eight years, which means it qualifies pretty easily as a freak occurrence. But at the same time, either instance could have resulted in someone being seriously injured. What if the woman sitting near the cutout in last night’s clip had taken the puck in the eye? She had no chance to get out of the way.
Obviously getting clear hockey photography is crucial to covering the sport, so the cutouts serve some purpose. But is there no other way to facilitate that? And if not, could we maybe cover those holes up when they’re not in use, at least?