Thursday, 24 May 2012

Equipment Watch 2: Launch Skates

I love receiving email about ideas for hockey innovations that I've previously written about here on HBIC. One such idea was Launch Skates, an innovative idea for placing springs in skates in order to maximize skating power thus making a player faster. I first had doubts of the validity due to the claims being unattributed to any professional hockey people, but David Blois, the man responsible for the Launch Skates, wrote me an excellent email in which he cleared up some of the validity concerns I first had. It now seems, however, that the validity of the Launch Skates is very real as Mr. Blois' product will be featured in the June 2012 edition of a science magazine that the world holds in very high esteem.

Popular Science, a monthly science- and gadget-filled magazine, produces an annual "Best Invention" edition in which they highlight the previous year's best innovations. This year's edition, which hasn't reached the market yet, will feature a number of pretty cool inventions - a recirculating shower, an inflatable tourniquet, a better lobster trap, and Mr. Blois' Launch Skates. You can see the preview of the June 2012 edition of Popular Science here, and listed right at the top of the 2011 Invention Awards is none other than "A Spring-Loaded Ice Skate".

While I certainly will not publish anything from the magazine without their authorization before the magazine hits newsstands, Mr. Blois did email the article that will be published about his skates, and I have to say that the credibility of the Launch Skates is now very real and extremely intriguing as a product. One of the men interviewed for the article - a Mr. Bill Heath, hockey instructor for the hockey training center Hockey Extreme in Toronto - tried out the Launch Skates for Popular Science. He states,
"They definitely feel a little different, but once you get used to them, you can definitely feel a boost, especially from a standing start. I skated for 20 minutes and I felt less fatigued."
So there's definitely a good indication from a hockey instructor that these skates offer some tangible results when it comes to playing hockey. Less fatigue means better hockey over sixty minutes, and a less tired player makes less mistakes. This factor cannot be overlooked when considering these skates.

There was one person who did have some concerns in the article. Former NHL centerman Curtis Brown expressed a potential problem that Mr. Blois will be addressing. Again, because it isn't a direct quote, I won't discuss what that potential problem is or how Mr. Blois plans to address it, but Popular Science's thumbs-up - which carries significantly more weight than that of HBIC - will certainly help the Launch Skates find a niche in the market.

Congratulations go out to Mr. Blois for this achievement in attaining a significant honour for his invention from a very popular science magazine. I am happy that HBIC is on the cutting edge in terms of Mr. Blois updating me with his work, and I remain very anxious to see the Launch Skates hit the hockey market in the coming year. I think there is a great potential for the Launch Skates to change skating in hockey, and this Popular Science article gives some high praise to the skates.

Well done, Mr. Blois! I look forward to any additional news you may be able to provide about your product going forward. Thank you for keeping HBIC in the loop about the Launch Skates, and keep up the excellent work!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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