It’s been 10 years since the NHL’s first fan death forever changed the way the game is played.

On March 16th, 2002, a slap shot from Columbus Blue Jacket Espen Knutsen was deflected by Calgary Flame Derek Morris with the puck hitting 13-year-old Brittanie Cecil in the head.

According to an exclusive story in The Calgary Sun, Cecil was able to walk to a first aid station and function normally the following day.

No one realized that her head had snapped back after being struck by the puck.

Two days later she lost consciousness; doctors discovered the swelling in her brain too late.

Brittanie died later that evening, two days before her 14th birthday.

The tickets to the game were an early present from her father.

The NHL mandated netting in all of its buildings three months later in hopes of preventing similar tragedies from ever happening again.

Calgary Sun Sports Columnist and Jack FM morning show co-host Eric Francis calls initial fan complaints about the nets moronic.

“‘I can’t see the game now, it distracts my view of the game’, are you kidding me?” says Francis. “This is something that killed someone before and they’re going to try to protect you and you’re going to try to complain that your view is obstructed?”

“It’s tragic that it took the death of a young girl for us to finally get that netting up; can you imagine going to a game now without the netting?” he asks. “I would not take my wife or either one of my young children to a game these days if there wasn’t netting there.”

Sportsnet960 – The Fan’s Dean Molberg remembers the immediate reaction following the shot heard around the league.

“All of a sudden nets went up around the league; it seemed like a harsh reaction to a singular incident,” says Molberg. “But I don’t know if you can dispute it, it seems like it was the right thing to do.”

Molberg says the league took a lot of roadblocks out in a hurry to make sure the nets were put up as soon as possible.

Morris refuses to talk about the event publicly but Knutsen has met with the teen’s family in the years since.

In an interview with the Dispatch later that December, Knutsen says “It really shook me, my teammates, and everyone around the team more than people could ever know.”