NHL and Olympic Blue Lines: Why are they Blue?

Watching NBC Sports’ extensive hockey coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics and the NHL has sparked my interest in the origin of the sport’s blue line.

I understand that in hockey games two blue lines proportionately divide the rink into three equal zones, thus separating the offensive and defensive ends from the center-ice neutral zone.

I’m also aware that these blue lines are important in determining whether a player is off-sides. That occurs when an offensive player crosses the opposition’s blue line and enters the offensive zone before the puck arrives.

However, what I didn’t know always bugged me.

Why paint these lines blue? And, what specific shade of blue are they?

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