Imagine being struck by a hockey puck traveling 100+ MPH while on the ice. As is the daily grind of hockey players everywhere, they rely heavily on the gear they choose to protect their bodies.
“We are seeing a trend in hockey equipment today that focuses on equipment being lightweight,” explains Olivier Jajko, Product Engineer at Warrior Sports, a leading global sporting goods manufacturer. “What customers may not know is that in order to reduce the overall weight of the equipment, some manufacturers are reducing the amount of material used."
Ultimately, that means less coverage for the player. This trend – this focus on the removal of equipment parts to make it lighter – is something Warrior does not take part in. In fact, they focus their experience and knowledge on developing smarter, more intelligent materials. “It’s important that we quantify the material stiffness and maximum loads that our products can withstand. We strive to keep the weight of the equipment down, but are not willing to sacrifice the protection of the players,” says Jajko. During the new product development cycle, Warrior tests the materials to determine stiffness, as well as strength at failure. This helps ensure that the right materials are selected and the players are securely protected. Once the finished product is created, the design and finished component must be re-evaluated.
In addition to following this trend of product development, Warrior Sports is also maximizing product safety. They recently developed a two-way protective padding – SmartCap – which is the first of its kind. The patent-pending padding not only protects the players from bumps and hits during a game, but also protects the opponent during contact. This type of innovative design is helping to make hockey a safer sport without entirely changing the nature of the game.