|Hockey Invention Gets an Assist from "The Great One"|
by Shad Connelly
In his playing days, Wayne Gretsky used to stream across the ice with fierce speed and impeccable control that few players could match. Now, an innovative new skate blade may help hockey players from pee-wee to professional move with the quickness and ease of "The Great One". The invention even has Gretsky himself wondering: "where was that when I played?"
After over half a decade in development, the Thermablade has arrived on the market. This unique blade incorporates a battery and electronics to keep it constantly heated. By raising the temperature of the blade slightly above that of the ice (it maintains a consistent heat of 41 degrees Fahrenheit/5 degrees Celsius), the invention enables players to cut through ice with greater speed and precision. Therma Blade Inc. describes the feeling of using the blades as being similar to skating on fresh ice all the time, and they claim it allows for quicker acceleration (especially in the first three strides) and greater balance and control (especially around tight turns). The batteries in the blades are rechargeable, and a full charge will last a player a minimum of 75 minutes on the ice.
The idea behind this invention involves decreasing the amount of friction between skate blades and ice. For those who don't remember from science class, friction is the resistant encountered when rubbing one object against another (it also why people who dive onto dry Slip n' Slides don't go anywhere). Skating is actually only possible because there is a microscopic layer of water on ice that acts as a lubricant. With the Thermablade, the raised temperature produces more water between the two surfaces, which means extra lubricant and less friction. As a result, Therma Blade claims starting resistance is reduced by up to 75 percent, gliding resistance is cut by up to 55 percent, vibration is reduced by about 50 percent, and using the blades may add up to an overall energy savings of 10 to 15 percent..
And it seems as though Therma Blade Inc. has done a good amount of testing to attain their results. Since its invention by hockey fan Tory Webber in 2001 (after he put on a hot pair of sneakers and slipped on some ice), millions of dollars have been spent to test the new technology in all sorts of different ways. In their early development, the blades were tested in labs and on sleds. More recently, the blades were subjected to two months of on-ice testing by 150 players across Canada. And just this past fall, the NHL agreed to allow a small group of players to wear Thermablades in games (no word yet on whether they have the OK for future use in the league). Perhaps most importantly to hockey fans, the Thermablade was tested by legendary center Wayne Gretsky, who proclaimed it "the most significant advance in skate blade design in at least 30 years". But, before running out to buy the blades based on Gretsky's endorsement, keep in mind the former all-star is one of the investors behind the new invention..
Thermablade sets (which include replacement blades only, not actual skates) currently retail for $399.99, and are being sold in hockey specialty stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. To find a local retailer, visit www.thermablade.com..
About the Author.
Shad Connelly currently oversees all editorial responsibilities for InventHelp's Invention and Technology News (http://news.inventhelp.com). He received a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (with an English major/Journalism minor) and a master's degree in Professional Writing from Carnegie Mellon University. .
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