Orange Look-Up Line at Langley hockey rink could be wave of the future

WATCH: One B.C. arena has a new idea to prevent injuries, taking a page out of the baseball playbook. Squire Barnes reports.

If baseball can have a warning track, why not hockey?

Langley Sportsplex has put a thin orange line along the edge of its hockey rink. About three feet wide, it’s called the Look-Up Line, and encourages players to do exactly that.

“We learned about last summer. We saw it on the internet, and thought it was a good thing to maybe think about doing,” said Bud Pope, General Manager of the Langley Sportsplex.

“It’s like having a coach tell you to keep your head up every time you step on the ice. You step over the look-up line to get on the ice, and as you’re playing in a game you’re looking down at it.”

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The line was developed by Tom Smith, an American hockey player who had to quit the sport after suffering two spinal injuries from crashing into the boards in 2008 and 2009.

READ MORE: Former NHL players sue league over concussions

“We have awareness for people that are doing hitting. There really is no awareness zone for people getting the hitting,” says Doug Harding, a hockey coach at the centre.

“So many injuries happen along the boards because people aren’t prepared.”

Relatively new, the Look-Up Line has gained the most traction in the United States, where both the NCAA and USA Hockey have endorsed the concept. So far growth in Canada has been slow, but that may change.

“I’m going to endorse it myself and see if we can’t start getting more of these in some of the local rinks,” says Mike Todd, a director with the Vancouver Thunderbirds Minor Hockey Association.

“There’s logos all over the ice, so what bearing does it have on the play? All it can do is add to the safety of the game.”

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