Therma Blade Inc. and Wayne Gretzky launch heated skate blade that a small group of NHL players will begin to test during games



    
           Thermablade will 'revolutionize' hockey, says Gretzky;
           Prototype of heated blade goes into Hockey Hall of Fame
    

    TORONTO, Oct. 16 /CNW/ - Canadian skate blade maker Therma Blade Inc. and
hockey legend Wayne Gretzky today unveiled the revolutionary new heated skate
blade that a small group of NHL players will begin final testing during game
conditions.
    Thermablade, a battery-powered skate blade that will be worn by 8 to 10
NHL players in upcoming NHL games to test the operation of the blade in game
conditions, were presented to the media for the first time at the Hockey Hall
of Fame in Toronto.
    "There's no doubt that we are seeing the latest advance in the evolution
of skating technology and I see Thermablade being popular equipment among NHL
players," said Gretzky, who is an investor in the new skate being produced in
Quebec. "Thermablades are going to revolutionize the game of hockey. They
represent the most significant advance in skate blade design in at least 30
years."
    "The NHL is very interested in confirming the data provided by Therma
Blade Inc., to establish the safety and reliability of the blade under NHL
game conditions, and we have agreed to allow a small group of players to test
these blades in games over the next few weeks," said Senior Manager of Hockey
Operations Kris King.
    "There is a lot of interest among players throughout the NHL right now to
see how Thermablade performs under game conditions," said Stu Grimson,
Associate Counsel for the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA).
    Thermablade is designed to maintain a consistent temperature of
approximately 5 degrees C using a small battery and a microprocessor stored
within each skate blade holder. The warm blade acts to increase the thickness
of the water layer between the blade and the ice surface, dramatically
reducing gliding friction and starting resistance for skaters.
    The reduced friction allows players to reach top speed faster and to
skate using less energy. Physiological benefits include a reduction in heart
rate, increased stamina and less fatigue over the course of a hockey game.
    "This is an incredible day both for Thermablades and for the game of
hockey," said Tory Weber, the heated blade's inventor and the founder of
Therma Blade Inc. "We have spent the last few years working extremely hard to
develop our technology from the ground up, with input from both elite and
recreational players, and we believe Thermablades are truly the next wave in
hockey skate technology."
    Performance tests of the heated blades revealed benefits such as starting
friction being reduced by 65% to 75%, sliding friction is lowered by 50% to
55% and vibration is reduced by about 50%. One example of an effect of these
benefits was that the reduced blade vibration increased the player's feel and
control of their blade edges, players that tested the blades stated that they
felt they could make tighter turns and that they were more confident in their
cornering.
    In surveys of players who used the heated blades during product testing
over the summer, about 85% of players said the Thermablades were significantly
smoother to skate on than conventional blades; 68% said they skated farther
with less effort; about 61% said they accelerated more quickly; 63% said they
felt less fatigue while playing.
    Physiological testing of Thermablade under controlled conditions show
that players using heated blades display reduced heart rates and lower lactic
acid production. Overall performance benefits indicate a physiological
advantage over conventional skate blades as a result of increased stamina and
reduced fatigue.
    Thermablades will be available in specialty sports stores in Canada at a
suggested price of $399.99.
    "Thermablades are about to change the game of hockey," Weber told media
assembled today at the Hockey Hall of Fame. "The technology substantially
enhances skating performance and the heated blade has absolutely no negative
impact on the ice surface at all."
    As part of today's launch event, an early prototype of the heated blades
that Weber has been developing since 1975 - a skate blade with an electrical
extension cord attached - was donated to the Hockey Hall of Fame for display.

    ABOUT THERMA BLADE INC.

    Canadian skate blade maker Therma Blade Inc. is a Quebec-based
manufacturer of heated skate blade technology that was invented by Alberta
resident Tory Weber. Therma Blade is a technologically advanced skate blade
that uses battery powered electrical energy to slightly heat the skate blade,
thereby increasing the layer of water between the blade and the ice surface
and reducing friction at the ice surface. Therma Blade has several proven
physiological and performance benefits for hockey players, including a
dramatic reduction in gliding friction and starting resistance, an overall
increase in stamina and an overall decrease in fatigue. More information on
the product is available online at www.thermablade.com.





For further information:

For further information: Sam McCoubrey, Therma Blade Inc., (514)
362-8989 ext.356, sam@thermablade.com; Shane Matte, Porter Novelli Canada,
(416) 422-7185, shane.matte@porternovelli.com

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