Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Eben Novy-Williams & Tom Keene of Bloomberg,
The National Hockey League may cut the size of goaltender equipment again after it shortens leg pads by about two inches this season to try to increase scoring, Commissioner Gary Bettman said today.
The league and its players’ union agreed this offseason to reduce the maximum length of goalie pads, according to NHL.com, after scoring dropped for the fourth consecutive season. Bettman said the league is exploring additional changes.
“We’re looking at other things that we can do to reduce the size of the equipment and open up more space to shoot at,” Bettman said at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit hosted by Bloomberg Link in New York. “But we have to be careful because, again, goalies are important, valuable, and we don’t want them needlessly hurt.”
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
It’s a nightly occurrence: A prime scoring chance is lost when a player winds up for a shot only to have his stick shatter like a toothpick on contact.
That’s a tough moment for NHL stars. A game may turn on that blown opportunity. But it’s even tougher on the beer leaguer who has to explain to his wife why he needs a couple hundred bucks to replace his twig a couple of times each season.
Today’s composite sticks have their advantages, but there’s clearly a demand for one that can be relied on. And now one might be just around the corner.
A Canadian company called Colt Hockey believes that it has come up with that next-gen stick by using nano-technology to create a more durable shaft. But this new process doesn’t come cheap, so they need $75,000 to expand production. And they’re hoping the crowdfunding website Kickstarter will help make that happen.
Read more recent tweets from Woodley on the goalie equipment issue.
from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,
Now that it has tackled softer caps on shoulder and elbow pads and rounded the glass near the benches to eliminate the "turnbuckle" effect, the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety needs to look into this whole business of skate sharpening.
Like, limiting it to once a month, with the Dave Keon skate sharpener.
For those of you under the age of 50, that's the little whetstone-embedded gizmo, maybe three inches long, that kids used to send away for, with $1.25 and a label from Bee Hive Corn Syrup, to put something resembling an edge on their blades after accidentally stepping on concrete on the way from the dressing room to the ice surface.
No one ever got cut by a skate sharpened with a Dave Keon.
Alas, technology arrived, and with it came the NHL player's penchant for having his skates done every few days on a machine that puts an edge like the amazing Ginsu knife on them, and suddenly the skate cut - like Matt Cooke - is an ongoing menace in the game of hockey.
Just like wearing a visor, each player decides for themselves if they want to wear the protective sock.
But we can question why any of them don't. They may not prevent a cut, but I would think the cut may not be as bad if they do wear this type of sock.
Today, Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider brought the topic up to some of the Capitals players.
“I’ve been wearing them for probably three, four years I guess, pretty much when they came out. I feel like they’re a regular sock but they’re more protective, so I don’t see a reason why I wouldn’t wear them,” Fehr said. “Some guys say they don’t like the feel but I don’t notice a difference.”
from Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal at The Sporting News,
Reebok’s CCM Hockey brand is close to signing a multiyear head-to-toe apparel and equipment endorsement deal with 15-year-old hockey phenom Connor McDavid, the No. 1 pick of the Ontario Hockey League.
If the deal is completed, as expected, it would be the most significant deal Reebok has signed with a young hockey player since 2005, when it signed Sidney Crosby, 17 years old at the time and now an NHL star, to a five-year deal. McDavid would be the youngest hockey player to endorse Reebok.
Glen Thornborough, Reebok CCM vice president of global marketing, confirmed that he was in discussions with McDavid, his family and Bobby Orr, the NHL hall of famer and founder of the Orr Hockey Group, which represents McDavid.
from Joseph Hall of the Toronto Star,
How light can you make a skate? How bendy can you make a composite stick before its shooting utility breaks? What’s the optimal time to pull a goalie?
The hidebound world of hockey is resting more and more on the shoulders of science these days. (Scientists are even investigating whether leaner shoulder pads can help curb the curse of concussions). And when science is involved in a popular pursuit, you’ll usually findJay Ingram nearby.
Ingram, one of the country’s top science journalists and long-time host of Daily Planet on theDiscovery Channel Canada took a look at the physics, chemistry and even statistical analysis that’s being poured onto the ice these days. The resulting special, Scoring With Science: Hockey Revealed, will air on the network Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. The Star spoke with Ingram about the program last week. Following is an edited version of that conversation.
Q. What elements of hockey are you going to be looking at in this show that can be translated into scientific terms?
A. Quite a few actually. The first thought would be the equipment. We do quite a bit on the design of skates. We went to the Bauer factory in St. Jerome, Que., and they worked very closely with an ice hockey research unit at (Montreal’s) McGill University and we spent time at both places.
So skates for one thing, sticks for another. There’s a lot of research looking into composite sticks to make sure they have the right flex and are designed in the optimum way.
But we went much further afield; we looked at the analytics of hockey.
from Dana Flavelle of the Toronto Star,
In what would be a David and Goliath contest, Bauer Performance Sports Ltd. says it plans to be a contender when the multi-million dollar license for the National Hockey League jerseys comes up in 2016.
The NHL license is currently held by Reebok, a company roughly six times Bauer’s size in terms of annual revenues and part of the global athletic giant Adidas.
“We have every intention of bidding,” Bauer president and chief executive officer Kevin Davis said after the company’s annual general meeting Tuesday at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
If successful, it would be a huge coup that would give the leading hockey brand more sales and marketing muscle, a sports apparel industry analyst said.
The NHL jersey business is worth an estimated $200 million a year, including fitting the players themselves and their fans with replicas.
from Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette at Canada.com,
Hockey sticks have come a long way from the days when I was a kid and there was no better feeling than taking your first slapshot with a brand-new Sher-Wood P.M.P. 5030 in your hands.
The P.M.P. was a fantastic stick until the bottom of the wooden blade would begin to split, it would get waterlogged, lose its snap on the puck and you’d be begging your parents to buy you another one.
The reason kids from my generation wanted the P.M.P. is that it was the stick most of the pros were using. More than 200 NHLers were using the P.M.P. model during the late 1970s and more than 6 million of those wooden sticks were made after Sher-Wood first put them on the market in 1976.
Other popular sticks over the years included the white Canadien model that was used by a number of former Habs, including my favourite Montreal defenceman, Guy Lapointe; the Victoriaville stick that my favourite player, Bobby Orr, used with one strip of black tape; the Koho model Mario Lemieux preferred early in his career; and the Titan stick Wayne Gretzky used before switching to the silver Easton aluminum shaft with the wooden blade when he was with the Los Angeles Kings.
from the Financial Post,
One would expect the CEO of one of the world’s largest sports and recreation equipment producers to be sitting on pins and needles in hopes an NHL lockout could be avoided. Yet Kevin Davis, chief executive of Bauer, remained unusually calm last week when negotiations between the NHL and the NHL Players Association were at a stalemate. The league and its players may now be in a lockout scenario, but Mr. Davis does not expect the freeze on the 2012-13 hockey season will have a material effect on his company, which enjoys a 52% market share in hockey equipment. He spoke recently with Hollie Shaw about corporate branding outside of the NHL, the potential impact of a lockout on his business and how to increase participation in the sport. Following is an edited transcript of their conversation.
Q: You have said there is a misperception that most of your “elite” category — the category which makes up 48% of your sales — consists largely of NHL players. How do you think a lockout would affect sales?
A: When we talk about elite performance and recreation, we are talking about the price point of the product—not necessarily the athlete that is using it. So when we say 48% of our revenue comes from elite, if you are a 14-year-old frequent hockey player in a high-level travel team, you are an elite player. Our primary market is the 12- to 18-year-old hockey player. We want the NHL season to start as much as anybody else does, but from a business standpoint there are about 650 guys playing in the NHL and about six-million kids playing hockey around the world. From a financial point of view, for us it is a very small part of our revenue.
Q: Isn’t it likely, though, that a lockout would affect the marketing of your products?
A: We are the number one brand in the NHL in every category, and certainly having those guys on the ice is better for our marketing than not having them on the ice. But, while it is important, we don’t rely solely on NHL as our marketing for kids....
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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