In order to help fight COVID, the NHL will be taking down the glass on the penalty boxes.

Before you get too excited, this means the glass behind the penalty boxes.

As much as we’d love to go old school and remove the glass in front, that’s staying put — though it wasn’t that long ago when the boxes were wide open.

Here’s the NHL’s new policy:

In addition to the removal of the plexiglass shielding behind the Player benches, we also have mandated the removal of the shielding from the back of the penalty box area. This will allow increased air flow away from the penalty box area.

In addition, Club/arenas that wish to utilize the sections behind the benches and penalty box for spectator seating will be required to: (1) erect a plexiglass or acrylic barrier in the seating section immediately in front of where spectators will be sitting, which must be at least 25 feet back from the back of the player bench and penalty box areas and no lower than the top of the player vomitories; and (2) install a seat tarp and station security personnel directly behind the penalty box area and in front of the spectators.

Vomitories! That doesn’t mean what you think it does… 

The glass dividing the penalty boxes will also remain in place.  Not only is it a physical barrier against fights, but against the potential spread of COVID as well.

Besides, you’d run the risk of this happening.

One more change of note.  The league is adding netting to help the officials judge those pucks over glass behind the benches.

To facilitate determinations regarding the puck going out of play and to add a safety barrier between any spectators and the Players, each Club/arena is being required to install a mesh or netting barrier behind the Player benches and penalty box areas where the plexiglass shielding previously existed. Prior to such installation, spectators will not be permitted to sit in the section behind the Player benches and/or penalty box.

These changes will allow for greater ventilation in the penalty box area, while still keeping the players safer from Coronavirus… and each other.

We’ve still gotta keep ’em separated.