The Penalty Box: Hockey’s Unique Accommodation

hockey penalty box

The penalty box in hockey

In all of sports, this 10’ by 4’ glass enclosed structure stands alone as a unique piece of real estate.

While fans watch the 2014 conference finals between the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings or the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers, they’ll witness penalized players from all four teams banished to the penalty box.

Since the NHL is the only professional sport to tout such an unusual place, I’ve included it my book Hockey Favorites.

Hockey favoritesHere’s an excerpt from the book…..

Hockey is the only sport that boasts a physical cell of sorts with a wooden door and reinforced plexi-glass walls. This is where players get temporarily banished from the ice for their bratty behavior of tripping, slashing, cross checking and excessively rough play.

Rugby, handball, field hockey, lacrosse and water polo may refer to their physical places for time out punishment as penalty boxes.

However, only the sport of hockey’s Penalty Box resembles an aquarium that could conceivably house your favorite big fish.

In hockey’s unique accommodation, punished players serve out their penalties like little kids in a kindergarten time-out for all to see.

Sitting strategically at center ice between the red and blue lines, hockey’s small, isolated glass wall enclosure is visible to everyone in the arena. Fans instantly know who’s been naughty simply by checking out who’s in hockey’s “sin bin.”

Otherwise, they can read the arena’s score board where a player’s violation is prominently cited and their penance time is counted down.

Depending on the violation, visitors can spend anywhere from two to five minutes in the Penalty Box. The sight is often akin to watching caged sharks in a miniature fish tank.

Too bad the NFL, MLB, NBA or FIFA doesn’t construct similar structures for their sports. Watching offending players serve time in a fishbowl penalty box would add a lot of interest and fun to the game.

Pass interference, fouling a three point shooter, booting a baseball or committing a hand ball violation in soccer would all qualify as reasons for “doing time.”

Sure, the jobs of umpires, officials, referees, linesmen and judges would be a little different.

But, sports fans’ overall entertainment would be so much more interesting if other sports, like hockey, adopted a real, physical Penalty Box – my #10 pick in all-time Hockey Favorites.

MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!

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