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White netting at Verizon Center causes issues for some fans (Update)

Sep 27, 2011, 2:32 PM EDT


Last night there was something a little different for fans checking out the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center.

Instead of the usual black netting above the glass at each end of the ice, the netting was white causing the fans to look at the game through different colored lenses… er, fabric. Instead of peering through a dark foreground, fans were made to look at the game through white netting that helped the game look a bit hazy for some fans.

The change for the Capitals was a new one and one that didn’t exactly go over all that well with the spectators on all levels of Verizon Center watching the game. Stephen Whyno of The Washington Times gets the grumpy lowdown from some of the fans at last night’s game.

“The white netting is worse than the old black one, which I wasn’t a fan of,” said Weber Grandish, 36, of Arlington, who has season tickets in Section 115. “The view of the players on the ice is seriously like looking through a snow storm, which is quaint for the Winter Classic, but not for 41 home games. You can’t read players’ names on their jerseys.”

A few fans complained of headaches during the game because they had to watch part of the game through the new white netting.

“When looking through the net on the Section 117 side across the ice the new white netting on the other side of the arena distracts,” saidStephanie Stockman, 51, of Lanham. “By the end of the second period both of my eyes hurt.”

With such negative reviews from these fans and others in attendance, the change that was supposed to be a permanent one at the arena has come under fire. Luckily for Caps fans, owner Ted Leonsis is a guy in tune with what the fans are saying and he let it be known that the fans’ wishes and complaints won’t be ignored.

We will take a closer look at it ASAP. The plan was to improve the fan and TV experience. If we aren’t able to accomplish that goal, then we will return to the netting we used previously. Stay tuned.

White netting versus black netting is a strange battle here as most, if not all, arenas use the darker netting so as to better blend in with the background and have the ice and players stand out when looking through it. Using white netting helps the lights in the arena reflect off of it causing it to be more of a distraction if you allow it to be.

Yes, people fear change and this is the sort of change that can be initially shocking, but by taking a look at the photo provided to us by Stephanie Sutton of, what do you think of it? Is it visually disturbing for you or are some fans just being a bit too sensitive to something new?

(Photo: Stephanie Sutton of

UPDATE (5:05 p.m.): Mike Vogel from the Washington Capitals website reports that the old, black netting will be back in place for their next preseason game against Buffalo on Friday. The fans voices have been heard.

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 27, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    This “protective” netting in general is ridiculous. Every game I go to I wish they would just take it down (knowing full well that will never happen). The event that prompted the use of this netting was a freak accident and the response was a complete overreaction on the part of the league

    • lewdood - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:42 PM

      ^^^^THIS^^^^ One terrible accident, in over 100 years of hockey, and the league throws up an incredibly distracting net. How many pucks go full-speed from shots over the boards in the NHL??? The odds of a fan being seriously injured (or god forbid, worse) have to be infinitessimily (sp?) small. Just take the stupid things down already.

    • stakex - Sep 27, 2011 at 6:28 PM

      Yup. Imagine all the pucks that went into the crowd over the years before they added the netting, and then figure that only ONE person was ever killed by them. The odds of anyone being killed by a puck are extremely small.

      The funny part of the whole thing is the area behind the net is not the most dangerous place for pucks leaving the ice. Pretty much every puck that goes over the end glass is deflected in one way or another, meaning they have very little zip on them going into the crowd. However, pucks fired over the short glass on the side of the rink have a tendency to go strait into the corwd at full speed…. meaning the netting doesn’t even cover the most dangerous areas of the crowd.

  2. wingsdjy - Sep 27, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    Based on the embedded picture, I agree that it’s hazy. I’m kind of curious if it affected the TV experience (I’m thinking it’d mostly factor into PP situations where they move to a camera behind the net).

  3. donttouchthedirtypenny - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    Get rid of the netting. Or at least make it clear.

  4. t9tookey - Sep 27, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    They had white netting in Hershey. I sat behind it once because it was the home opener and that was the seats we could get. I went home with a massive headache and almost got sick. After that, I will never sit behind a netting like that again. If I can’t get tickets on the sides (which is where I like to sit anyway) I’ll sick at home, hook my laptop up to my tv and pay less to watch a game online.

    And the reason why the netting is there in the first place is absolutely stupid. First off, if you’re at a hockey game and you’re not watching the puck you deserve to get hit just for being stupid. I know, it has to be safe so they can draw in the families and “casual” fans (ie those idiots that don’t know squat about hockey and only show up with the team is winning, claiming to be life long fans, and end up on their smart phones more than watch the game…but hey, at least they paid money, right Gary…)

    And as far as the accident goes, if the doctors had done their job, the kid would be alive.

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