Take one hockey skate and stick a battery in it to heat the blade, and this is what you get.
A Canadian-made heated skate blade touted as a means of boosting velocity was approved Tuesday for testing in the National Hockey League.
The Therma Blade will be used by as many as 10 NHL players in games and practices, said the blade’s inventor, Tory Weber of Calgary. The NHL will use this testing phase to examine possible safety issues and the blades’ effect on the ice to determine whether they should be used more widely within the league.
A battery in the back of the skate blade heats up to 5C, helping to reduce friction and push the wearer forward with less work, Weber said.
“It’s very simple technology. A warm blade basically creates a thin film of water and melts the ice,” Weber said. Skaters that use the heated blades, which will retail for about $399, find it’s much like skating on ice that has been freshly groomed by a Zamboni, he added. [cbc]
I have two reactions to this. One is that this is an incredibly neat way of using technology in such a simple way. It makes sense, and the science of it ridiculously smart. My other reaction is one of simply asking, buh?
You can call it complaining and sounding like an old timer, but we’ve come a long way since wooden sticks, skates, and sweaters. Composite sticks, synthetic jerseys, tougher padding made with less material, etc., but this kinda blows my mind.
Not only will you have to suit up, strap on your pads, tape up your shins, and lace everything up, but now you’ll have to make sure you check your batteries. Granted that it’s the equipment manager’s job to make sure that you stuff gets taken care of, but what happens if you start having a bad night on the ice because there is no juice left in your skates?
Imagine the post-game interview in the locker room and the player saying, “I was giving it my all, 110%, but apparently my skates were only at 30% charge capacity. They must have died half way through the third period. Everyone was really giving it their all, but… I’ll just have to get the circuitry in my skates checked out before the next game.”
That being said, I like the concept and am curious to see how it all plays out. Gretzky has given his seal of approval, but I’d really like to hear if this makes that much of a difference. On top of that, does making the blade even hotter allow for better performance? If that were the case and it became an unfair advantage, then that might mean league rules and temperature tests before every game, would it not?