I always find these articles to be some of the best I've written, despite me hardly writing anything. I am actually more proud of these articles, despite them being hardly read or commented on, than I am of the work I put in on the "You're Wearing That" articles. Showing how things are made gives us a much deeper appreciation of how things work. If you've been a reader of this blog for a while now, you've seen the previous editions: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three. We've covered a lot of hockey in terms of how things are made: skates, rinks, goalie pads, composite sticks, pucks, gloves, wooden sticks, and a piece on how to relace a hockey glove. Today is no different as we look at how goalie masks are made and painted, and the ThermaBlade debate.
Anytime you can get an endorsement from Wayne Gretzky, you're in good standing, I'd say. There were four NHL players that had agreed to test the the ThermaBlades this season, but the NHLPA kept their names under wraps to avoid any additional media scrutiny. However, word was leaked out that five players were testing the blades this season: Toronto's Mark Bell, Chicago's and Ottawa's Martin Lapointe, Detroit's Kris Draper, Edmonton's Marty Reasoner and Calgary's Matthew Lombardi. However, Reasoner was the only player who approved of the blades. In fact, the poor reviews from Draper and Lapointe have prompted the NHLPA to walk away from negotiations in endorsing the blades.
"I wouldn't buy them," Lapointe told the Toronto Star, adding the battery-powered blades didn't always heat up.
"I just didn't notice a difference," Draper told the Toronto Star after using them twice during practices.
Sam McCoubrey, Therma Blade Incorporated's vice-president of sales and marketing, had this retort: "I'm not sure that wearing them twice qualifies Kris Draper to denounce the blades."
McCoubrey also said the company would try to persuade other NHLers to test the blades. NHLPA boss Paul Kelly was more concerned about endorsing a product that has a high price tag while delivering little advantage to players.
"Before we give our approval or endorsement to a hockey product that will increase the cost to the average family, we should take steps to ensure that this product indeed performs as advertised," Kelly said to the Toronto Star. I fully agree with Mr. Kelly on this one. More testing should be done, and good on the NHLPA for their decision on this.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!