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NHL to Test Thermablades

closeThis post was published 10 years 10 months 3 days ago which may make its content inapplicable to the current Islanders roster and/or team news. This site is not responsible for any misunderstanding.

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).

Michael Schuerlein

4 Comments

  1. Ok. I think I have a problem with this. If, indeed, you have both teams skating with these blades would they not have to resurface the ice more often?

    Let's think about some place that has a hard time keeping the ice the correct temperature to begin with… Like… Tampa… Would the additional "heat," as minimal as it may be, make the ice that much softer, quicker? And we've seen the injuries that can occur with "soft" ice.

    I'm not like this… But then… who am I to judge… I skate in a circle and go forward only. What do I know.

  2. Dee,

    The blades would be around 41 degrees, the temperature wouldn't have a significant impact on the ice surface – the stadium lights would have more of an affect.

    I can see your point, but these would actually help the players skate better – as there would be less friction and resistance. Any ice skater would agree that when the blades pack with ice, or you don't have a good edge you are prone to injury.

    I actually want to try a set of these so I give a real opinion.

  3. I have to admit, when I saw the headline elsewhere, my first thought was "gimmick." (The advent of $150 "one-piece" sticks has me wary of new hockey tech.) But seeing your post made me think about it more, and it sounds great. I wonder if this tech would be an even bigger help to rec' league huff-and-puffers, since the snow just builds up on us for all three periods?

  4. Dominik,

    Those were my initial thoughts – they should help us non-pros out more then anyone.

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