By Leo Scaglione Jr.
NEHJ GOALIE GUIDE: Attack Mode
Goalie skate manufacturers are getting aggressive with two-piece construction, toecap innovations and more upgrades
Skates are a goaltender’s foundation. Whether a goalie is standing, racing behind the net to retrieve a puck, or pushing from one side of the crease to the other, skates are a critical component of the process.
They’re also continuing to evolve.
In fact, one of the latest developments over the past two years has been the removal of the cowling, an operation spearheaded by True Hockey.
“The biggest trend right now is the departure from a traditional goalie boot and cowling to what is being referred to as a two-piece construction goalie skate,” True Hockey senior marketing and business development manager Dave McNally said. “It’s a goalie skate with a player’s holder on it. We were the first to come out with that product, and it’s given us a real stronghold at the National Hockey League level, with well over half of the NHL goalies wearing our products at this point.”
Bauer brand manager Spencer Freer added that the elimination of the cowling, which was replaced with a goalie-specific Vertexx Edge holder at his company, has led to other advancements, specifically with the toecap.
“We started to do some testing and it showed that the traditional style toecap and cowling weren’t all that protective,” he said. “When we started looking at making a thicker toecap, that’s when we started to see a difference.”
When Freer realized that the removal of the cowling didn’t sacrifice any protection to the netminder’s feet, he also noticed that goalies had a better attack angle, which is how close a goalie’s skate can get to the ice before the blade lifts off the ice, which causes a fail out.
“When a goalie pushes across and needs to stop, or he needs to push back the other way, he wants to use minimal effort to be able to get back,” Freer explained. “Having your foot as close to the ice as possible means having a better attack angle.”
Added McNally: “If you’re trying to move across the crease, or you’re trying to get to a puck, you’re constantly pushing off. A better attack angle is a position where you don’t have to adjust your knee upward to be able to do that, which means you can do it with more speed and more efficiency. We like to say it’s more acute power transfer.”
With improving attack angle in mind, True sells a one-piece boot, “which is literally exactly as it sounds,” McNally asserted.
“It’s a one-piece molded boot, where the holder and the boot itself are all one piece, not constructed separately,” he continued. “That’s a patented product that gives us another unique option for goalies. It plays a little bit different because there’s not as much flexibility in the boot compared to the two-piece construction, and because of the minimal flexibility, it allows goalies to attack with more speed and more efficiency across.”….read more