I don’t know how I find this stuff sometimes, there always seems to be something interesting around the league that can be found on various sites across the net. This time right on the hometown Newsday website, they picked up an AP story on heated ice skate blades called Thermablades.
After reading the Newsday story, I decided to do a little more digging.
Basically, these blades use a battery and a microprocessor to heat the blades to a temperature above freezing that in turn decreases friction on the blade – which will allow for better on ice control. The league is looking for a small group to test the product before allowing it for widespread use – mind you it would also need to be approved by the player’s union.
Are you a tech junky like me and need to know exactly what Thermablade is? Per the Thermablade website:
Thermablade performance-enhancing skate blades are a patented new skate technology that’s revolutionizing the game of hockey. Thermablade skate blades are heated to significantly reduce the friction of the blade gliding on the ice. You get a quicker start and skate faster, and every stride feels like you’re skating on fresh ice.
Thermablade skate blades help players at all levels of the game to become better skaters. The major benefits of Thermablade technology include:
- Faster acceleration, especially in your first 3 strides
- Tighter turns
- And increased control.
Thermablade also helps you conserve energy. With Thermablade, starting resistance is reduced up to 75% and gliding resistance is cut by up to 55%. There’s also a significant decrease in energy-robbing vibration. What it all means is that, on Thermablade skate blades, you have more energy late in the game, when it often counts most.
The key components that set a Thermablade apart from an ordinary skate blade are a battery and electronics integrated into the heel of the blade holder. These connect to a resistor which heats the blade to 5°C. A full charge lasts a minimum of 75 minutes of on-ice time, and recharging the batteries takes just 2 hours.
Where the heck was this when I was in High School? I really love when technology makes it into sports – first we get equipment and jerseys that wick moisture and now blades that stay above freezing – GENIUS! Personally, I feel that Thermablade will have just as big of an impact on the sport as aluminum and composite stick shafts. I would love to test a set of these out on my Graf’s…. (hint hint nudge nudge).