Hockey has a well-earned reputation as one of the most brutal major sports, and now the NHL is taking a decisive measure to promote player safety: The league has unveiled a new hyperbolic penalty box that makes three minutes inside it feel like 500 years.
A penalty that lasts half a millennium for the player but only a few minutes of real time? This is going to seriously change the way the game is played.
The hyperbolic penalty boxes, which were unveiled to a packed stadium at a Penguins game last night, are designed to slow time by more than 87 million percent and force players to sit trapped, just out of reach of the action on the ice, for what feels like centuries. Players who started fights, harassed referees, or charged opponents were all sent to the hyperbolic box yesterday, where they reportedly watched the world around them slow to a glacial pace before their eyes and stayed that way for more than 40 million hours before they were put back into the game, just three minutes later.
Last night, Sidney Crosby officially became the first man to be sent to the box during NHL gameplay, and when he emerged, he immediately fell to the ground gasping and sobbing, having lost his ability to both skate and speak English after 500 years of isolation from his perspective.
“When a player is placed inside the penalty box, it can take days for anyone on the outside to look like they’ve moved even a millimeter, which gives them plenty of time to think about the foul they committed,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, emphasizing that officials can put players inside for infractions ranging from punching to high-sticking. “Because they are only actually experiencing three minutes, the player in the chamber will never have to sleep or feel hunger during the 500 years they are forced to perceive, so hopefully they’ll think twice about committing a penalty again.”
“We also take the skates of any player sent to the penalty chamber to make sure they can’t kill themselves in there,” added Bettman.
And the pilot program is already a success! After a stint in the hyperbolic penalty box last night, Crosby cowered when other players got near him for the rest of the game, and every time the puck came his way, he would look at the tally marks that he had carved into his skin with his fingernails and become silent. Then later, when a ref called Crosby for slashing, he collapsed onto the ice and began screaming in a feral language, clearly preferring death over being sent back to the new penalty box.
Player safety FTW!
Bottom line, the NHL is cracking down on their players, and the athletes are finally paying attention. So don’t be surprised if, thanks to the league, you see a safer, better game—because when that buzzer goes off three minutes later and players are released from the hyperbolic penalty box, they’ll definitely be a little more careful with the fights they pick next time.