CHICAGO (AP) — If Patrick Kane seems quicker and slicker on the ice than usual, the reason might be more than the Chicago star's raw talent.
Kane, second in the NHL with 46 points, is of six top NHL players — all likely Olympians — transitioning into Bauer Hockey's futuristic OD1N skates and protective equipment.
Unveiled Thursday in Chicago, the OD1N gear shaves pounds from the bulky head-to-toe ensemble hockey players wear and, according to Bauer, improves mobility, speed and performance.
Bauer claims the equipment, which includes skates, a form-fitting body suit and pads, and goalie leg pads, also improves protection through the use of new materials and by staying in place better. Chicago's Jonathan Toews, Washington's Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom and Philadelphia's Claude Giroux are other NHL skaters switching to the customized gear. The New York Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist has been wearing OD1N goalie pads.
"The (design) team set out to completely reinvent speed, to completely reinvent performance, to completely reinvent the safety of the game," Bauer President and CEO Kevin Davis said. "It's game-changing technology."
The OD1N skates weigh only 550 grams each, compared to about 750 for other high-end models in a market where Bauer claims nearly 80 percent of pro sales. Besides the nearly half-pound weight reduction, the skates have carbon composite blade holders with stiffness and flex patterns customized to players' skating styles, like hockey sticks. This improves energy transfer.
Kane and Toews missed the event, but made statements in a video presentation.