At an even tin Chicago this afternoon, hockey equipment company Bauer gave the world its first look at three new "game-changing" products that it hopes will be the future of on-ice gear: a new protective body suit, goalie pad, and player skate.
Bauer's development team "set out to completely reinvent speed, completely reinvent performance, and completely reinvent safety," CEO and President Kevin Davis said. The result was the Od1n line of gear, which accomplishes all three goals by making the equipment lighter and tuning the performance based on an athlete's body type and playing style.
The first piece of new equipment is the Od1n Protective Body Suit. Bauer eliminated more than four pounds of weight from what players wear now "without compromising protection between the shoulders and ankles," said Craig Desjardins, Bauer's General Manager of Player Equipment.
The body suit uses a curved composite structure and foams never used in this type of gear before to achieve its weight savings and performance capabilities. The company also utilizes an optical scanner that creates a 3D model of an individual player's body to create a body suit specifically tailored for them.
"You really don't feel like you're wearing anything," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. Toews is one of six players Bauer worked with while developing the gear, along with Toewes' teammate Patrick Kane, Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom of the Capitals, Claude Giroux of the Flyers, and Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Toews and Backstrom have already begun wearing the Od1n suit in NHL play.
The second piece of equipment was a new, lighter goalie pad. Traditional pads are made by stitching together four or five pieces of synthetic leather. But the Od1n pad is one unique piece that is thinner, lighter, and more consistent than a normal pad. It's one-third the weight of other pads, which gives the goalie extra speed, and it has inserts that can be tweaked based on what a goalie wants to customize rebound control.
"Moving side to side, especially kicking your legs out, feels a lot faster," Lundqvist said. According to Bauer, he has been using the Od1n pad for more than three weeks in practices and games.
The final piece of new equipment Bauer debuted was the Od1n player skate. The company's developers scrutinized every part of the skate, Desjardins said. They then redeveloped it to be lighter than other skates, while giving players the best energy transfer possible.
The Od1n skate looks different from traditional blades — there's an extra support element between the blade and bottom of the boot. It's also more than one-half pound lighter than other skates. "It's like you're running with running shoes," Giroux said. "It makes you realize how fast you can be on the ice."
Bauer didn't announce pricing for the new gear, of if it will even be available to non-pros. But Davis and Desjardins did say that even though some players are using the Od1n line in NHL games now, it will officially hit the ice in February — at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.