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Tuesday, October 16, 2021

hot hot hot
I caught wind of Thermablade, the electronically-heated ice blade that slightly accelerates the melting of ice under your skate to give the skater a speed/power boost, a couple of weeks ago. And I figured, even with Wayne Gretzky’s endorsement, it would remain a fringe oddity.

Wrong. The National Hockey League is getting ready to test them with players, with an eye toward introducing them into games.

Maybe I’m missing something. Can someone explain to me how this wouldn’t lead to completely chewed-up, slushy ice during the course of an NHL game?

We’re talking about creating less friction/resistance between the blade’s edge and the ice surface in order to achieve the extra speed — fine. But that means more water on the ice, which will build up. Even now, with the unheated friction effect from regular skates, a lot of the rinks in the league end up with soft ice. How will they fare when you add heat to the mix?

I know the Zamboni will still be there to do its job between periods. But will it be able to compensate for the extra wear-and-tear? I’m doubtful.

In fact, I can see this attempt to speed up the game having exactly the opposite effect: Creating slog-fests where skaters will struggle to gain traction on slushed-up ice, with a marked increase in injuries from added muscle strain to boot.

I’d like to think the league’s ice expert, Dan Craig, is being consulted on this. It looks like he’s been in on it, but I can’t find any ruling from him. If he’s signing off on it, I guess it won’t be a problem. But I’d like to hear an explanation that makes sense.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 10/16/2007 11:11:01 PM
Category: Tech, Hockey, Science | Permalink |

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