Like every inventor, Bill Forster remembers exactly when the idea first popped into his brain: Stanley Cup playoffs. Two seasons ago. A typical Saturday night in his living room. “It was the intermission, and I was listening to Ron MacLean talk about how scoring is way down in the NHL,” he says. “Then, when the game started again, a guy rattles a shot from the point and it hits the crossbar. And I thought: Hmmmm.”
His bright idea? Bevel the crossbar—and the posts on each side—so pucks deflect into the net, not out. “I’m a bit of a purist, so when
people talk about increasing the net size, it freaks me out,” says Forster, who owns a Maytag store in Toronto. “But for some reason, this idea doesn’t.” In fact, the 58-year-old is so convinced, he spent countless hours and thousands of dollars applying for a U.S. patent. His design was approved last month. “Goalies are going to hate it,” he admits. “But if it boosts scoring, if it creates excitement, if it increases viewership, then it’s what the NHL has been looking for.”
One thing is certain: scoring has dropped league-wide. During the 1992/1993 season, the average game included 7-2 goals. Last season, that figure fell to 5.6. But a bevelled goalpost? Pretty silly solution, right?
“Actually, we’ve talked about that for the last three or four years,” says Mike Murphy, the NHL’s vice-president of hockey operations. “I literally had a bevelled post sitting on my desk all last winter, and we’re definitely going to build some and have them tested.” When told of Forster’s patent, Murphy wished him nothing but luck. “I hope he’s successful. We’re looking at improving the product on the ice—and we’re not concerned with who makes the money on the puck or the stick.” Or in this case, on the angled posts. M
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