In life, and certainly in hockey, there are some ideas that are better left in the back of one’s mind. Here are 10 inventions the hockey world could have done without:
The T-Blade, or “Thermal Blade”, is a skate chassis/blade combo that was designed and patented by the German company, “T-Blade.” The supposed benefits of the T-Blade was that it was supposed to last 4-5 times longer than regular skate blades and that that they would never need to be sharpened. The biggest and most obvious drawback of the product is the God-awful sound the blades make when striding and cutting into the ice. It’s not unlike listening to the person you hate the most in the world eat crackers with their mouth open while you’re trying to sleep.
The Cooper-Alls present a conflicting situation in hockey fashion history (I previously referenced them in, “10 Coolest Style Trends in Hockey”). They were the worst invention in that they were extremely ugly and restricting, but they are also great because they are retro and so ugly that they are cool. You know… like when you dig out your dad’s old gear from the 1970s and 80s. During the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, a few NHL teams, such as, the Philadelphia Flyers and Hartford Whalers rocked the Cooper-Alls.
- Tinted Visors
The tinted visor is the equivalent of the Chester Molester tinted eyeglasses that creepy guy with the bad comb-over who hangs around the mall wears. Just… just don’t.
- Fur Hockey Gloves
I’m speechless. I really don’t know what else to say about these.
- Hespeler Offset Stick Blades
This invention by Hespeler came out about the same time they were introducing offset golf clubs to correct slices and hooks. Somehow, they enticed Wayne Gretzky to endorse this atrocity. Oh, the 90s…
- Micron Skates
These were the first pair of skates I ever owned. The Micron Mega 10-70s were as ugly as they were heavy. The only positive feature to these horrendous-looking skates was that you could kick holes in cinder blocks with them.
- Mid-90s NHL Jerseys
I don’t know what it was about the 90s, but it was a bad, bad time for fashion and style. The 80s weren’t perfect, by any stretch, but the 90s were an absolute disaster. The NHL was no different. The jerseys of the 90s were absolutely disgusting, from the New York Islanders’ “Captain Highliner” catastrophes to the weird, maniacal king and sash sported by the L.A. Kings.
- Stadium Horns
While trying to figure out what they are actually called, I discovered that these rage-inducing horns are actually called “vuvuzelas”. Vuvuzelas have been getting obnoxious people beaten up since the 1960s, when they were first introduced into North American sports fanaticism via Brazil. Who ever invented these should be tarred and feathered.
In 1996, two years after Fox secured the contract to broadcast NHL games, they devised a gimmick called, “FoxTrax” to help bolster ratings and promote hockey in sagging U.S. markets. FoxTrax was a essentially a standard puck containing a circuit board that would emit infrared pulses that would be picked up by special infrared cameras during the broadcast. Viewers would be able to track the puck with a blue glowing circle which would turn to a red streak when the puck was shot. The idea stemmed from market research findings stating that fans new to hockey complained about not being able to see the puck very well on their TV screens and consequently had trouble following the game. The endeavour was a disaster among hockey purists and the idea was scrapped in 1998 amid plunging Nielsen Ratings. Thank God!
- Arturs Irbe’s Head Protection Thing
The Jofa 280 Helmet with the 260.51 cage was the combo worn by Latvian-born goalie Arturs Irbe and it has to be the ugliest headwear ever constructed and assembled in the history of not just sport, but human-kind. My hope is that all of these helmets and any remaining documentation and/or pictures of the contraption be incinerated immediately so that all of our children and grandchildren will be protected from having to see such horrors.