Wanna blog? Start your own hockey blog with My HockeyBuzz. Register for free today!

Some Info on the New Uniform System (Plus the History of Hockey Equipment)

January 22, 2007, 3:07 PM ET [ Comments]

Unforunately I'm not down at the All-Star game, but here is some info from the league's press releases. Credit to the league for their innovative thinking and for not making any drastic cosmetic changes that would have led to backlash from the fans...

I'm sure Ek will have all the news from Dallas as the day goes on...

Danny Tolensky - [email protected]


The new Rbk EDGE Uniform System will be introduced as Eastern and Western
Conference All-Star uniforms during the 2007 NHL All-Star Celebration in Dallas,
Texas. The uniforms will make their first on-ice appearance tonight during an open
practice at the American Airlines Center for both All-Star teams before formally making
a debut during the 55th NHL All-Star Game on Wednesday, January 24.

All 30 NHL teams will wear the RBK EDGE uniform in their respective colors and designs
this fall with the opening of the 2007-08 NHL season.

“Designed in collaboration with NHL players and the NHL Players’ Association, the Rbk
EDGE Uniform System provides the cutting-edge technology required by the player of
today"and tomorrow -- while remaining respectful of our sport’s glorious past,” said
Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President, NHL Consumer Products Marketing and Retail

“Reebok’s long history of innovation combined with Reebok-CCM Hockey’s expertise in
the sport have culminated in the creation of the Rbk EDGE Uniform System,” said Matt
O’Toole, President and CEO Reebok-CCM Hockey. “The enhanced materials engineered
into the system will help the League’s great athletes in taking the fastest game on ice to
an unprecedented new level of performance.”

Reebok and the NHL consulted some of the top scientific minds in the country to perform
independent tests to validate the performance features of the Rbk EDGE Uniform System.
Wind tunnel testing conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed a nine percent reduction in drag, enabling a player to move faster on the ice. Central Michigan University’s thermal regulation studies authenticated the effectiveness of the Rbk EDGE Uniform’s core temperature management system, resulting in a cooler and drier player.

The entire Rbk EDGE Uniform system was created with an anatomical fit to integrate better
with players’ shoulder and elbow padding, core protectors and shin guards. This design
allows for an increased freedom of movement which provides for a better range of motion
for the player.




* Stretch Mesh - for the underarms and back provides a balance of movement and ventilation.

* X-Trafil - heavy duty X-Trafil for the shoulders and elbows provides durability in the high abrasion areas.

* 4Way Stretch - four way stretch pique for the core body to create greater range of motion/freedom of movement. Enhanced with "Bead Away".

* Playdry Stretch Fabric - stretch fabric features "Playdry" to provide increased comfort and temperature control.



"The Rbk Edge jersey feels great ... excellent mobility. I had no problem getting used to the new jersey during practice, nor have my teammates, and it's much lighter than what we're wearing now. We won't be as drenched and heavy in the third period. The socks are
much lighter as well. No worries moving forward."
-San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton

"I always thought what we were wearing was good enough, but the RBK Edge Uniform is the real deal. I heard all of these great things about it and I know we have been testing it for a long time, but you can't believe it until you've tried it in practice. It is so much lighter than what we have today ... the air seems to flow right through you and it takes in almost no moisture. It definitely makes me feel faster. It's unbelievable.”
-Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier

"I love the new Rbk EDGE jersey ... I love the new socks. It's a very comfortable uniform, much lighter than what we're used to. It will help me and everyone in the League perform to our maximum capability, particularly late in a game when we can sometimes get a little slower and heavier. This is a real step forward and it will be great for the League and our game. I wish I had it earlier in my career and if I could wear it as early as this week, I would."
-Buffalo Sabres forward Chris Drury

"The Rbk jersey is just a very comfortable jersey, much lighter throughout. As a goaltender, it fits just right. That's the biggest thing... it isn't too tight. It's also so much more water-resistant compared to what we wear today. Everything about it is better."
-Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo



Players began to protect their shins from sticks and
pucks by using strips of leather or felt, reinforced with
thin lengths of cane. Leather gloves were worn less for
protection than to keep a player warm from the outdoor

The first goaltender to wear leg pads was George Merritt
of the Winnipeg Victorias in the 1896 Stanley Cup chal-
lenge game against Montreal. Merritt strapped on a pair
of cricket pads and posted a 2-0 shutout over the Mon-
treal Victorias.

Circa 1900
Players began to protect their kneecaps with a large
square of leather or canvas, reinforced with felt. They
also wore gloves that were made from leather and had
padding consisting of animal hair and felt. Some gloves
added thin sticks of bamboo or rattan positioned over the
wrist portion to provide extra protection.

Fred “Cyclone” Taylor, a star player in the early part of
the century, is said to be one of the first players to protect
his shoulders and back from injury. Taylor took some
scraps of felt from a harness shop in his hometown of
Renfrew, Ontario and sewed them into his undershirt
around the shoulders and down the back.
Players began to use elbow pads made from felt.

Knee and shin pads were attached together to provide
increased protection.

After having his nose broken from a Howie Morenz shot,
Montreal Maroons’ Clint Benedict became the first goal-
tender to wear a mask in an NHL game on February 20,
1930. The leather facemask did not prove practical and
Benedict abandoned it after just two games. Montreal
Canadiens’ goaltending great Jacques Plante became the
first netminder to use a mask on a regular basis in the
NHL in November, 1959. On March 31, 1973, Pittsburgh’s
Andy Brown played against St. Louis without a mask
"the last appearance by a maskless goaltender in an
NHL game.

Beginning with the 1930-31 season, it became manda-
tory for each player to wear a number on the back of his
sweater, measuring at least 10 inches in height.

Circa 1931
After Montreal Maroons star Babe Siebert suffered a
broken thumb, trainer Bill O’Brien put a shoehorn inside
Siebert’s glove to provide reinforcement and protection to
his thumb. This clever invention was the impetus for the
reinforced fiber thumb which would become a staple on
hockey gloves in the 1930’s.

Players began to better protect their elbows by wearing
leather pads on the outside of their sweaters. Players
also began to protect their forearms, sewing felt pads
onto to their long-sleeved undershirts.

Toronto Maple Leafs’ star Ace Bailey suffered a ca-
reer-ending head injury when he struck his head on the
ice after a collision with Boston’s Eddie Shore. Shore
became the first high profile player to wear a helmet
regularly in the NHL after the collision. Helmets, though,
were still not widely used in the NHL until the 1970’s. In
1959-60, only four players Charlie Burns and Vic Stasiuk
of the Boston Bruins, Warren Godfrey of the Detroit Red
Wings and Camille Henry of the New York Rangers wore
helmets on a regular basis.

As improvements continued to be made to all forms of
equipment, the League passed a rule that prohibited the
use of pads “made of metal or any other materials likely
to cause injury to a player.”

Post World War ll, felt and leather shoulder and elbow
pads began to be replaced by pads made of plastic and
fiberglass. The shoulder pads were similar to those
that had been developed for football. By the late 1940’s,
numerous players were being injured by this latest equip-
ment innovation. NHL President Clarence Campbell in
1950: “There is considerable support for the view that the
elbow pads and shoulder harnesses being supplied to
teams at the present time are taking on the appearance
and effect of heavy armor, which, while protecting the
wearer, is inflicting much more serious damage to op-
ponents, and obviously this cannot go on. It is completely
ridiculous for us to permit one player to protect himself
with a type of equipment which is constructed in a man-
ner which can injure another. In my opinion, the present
day elbow pad does not have anything like a sufficient
covering over the hard circular piece of fiber to afford any
appreciable resilience so as the minimize the risk of in-
jury to another player and the fact that we have had quite
a number of facial fractures from “elbowing” this current
year only serves to emphasize the necessity of eliminat-
ing all dangerous equipment.”

Because of the number of injuries incurred by players
from elbowing infractions, the NHL Rules Committee
adopted a new rule requiring that shoulder and elbow
pads include a soft outer covering. All elbow pads which
do not have a soft protective outer cover would be consid-
ered dangerous equipment. The League also adopted a
new rule that results in a major penalty to a player when
an injury is suffered as a result of an elbow.

A new elbow pad was developed by Lippman’s Tool Shop
in Detroit, that added a sponge rubber covering over the
hard plastic, fiber or leather elbow protector. The Detroit
Red Wings were the first club to use this new elbow pad.

Eye injuries suffered from the butt end of the hockey stick
had become more prevalent in the League in the early
1950’s. Harry Doughty of Walkerton, Ontario developed
the “Doughty Safety Grip,” a piece of rubber, two inches
in length, which attached to the end of the hockey stick.
One of the game’s all-time greats, Gordie Howe, was a
keen supporter of the new piece of safety equipment.
Howe called the grip one of the greatest developments
in hockey history. He added: “I received a severe head
injury in the Stanley Cup Playoffs a few years ago, which
nearly ended my career. If there been such a safety
grip at that time, I doubt very much if my injury would
have occurred.”

The New York Rangers became the first team to wear
colored gloves (red, white and blue). The Toronto Maple
Leafs followed suit in 1958-59, while the Detroit Red
Wings were the last team to switch from natural leather
gloves to colored gloves (in 1967-68).

June 1958
President Campbell called a meeting with all equipment
manufacturers and announced that equipment must gain
approval from the NHL’s Rules Committee. The League
had concerns that equipment manufacturers were de-
signing equipment that, while intended to protect players,
was also inflicting injury to opposing players.

The Rules Committee mandated that sponge rubber
covering on elbow pads must be at least half an inch
in thickness.

November 1959
Montreal Canadiens star Bernie “Boom Boom” Geof-
frion suffered a serious injury in a collision with Boston
Bruins’ defenseman Doug Mohns. Geoffrion suffered a
severed tendon in the back of his leg after being clipped
by Mohns’ skate. Shortly after Geoffrion’s injury, former
Montreal Canadiens’ defenseman Ken Reardon, who was
an executive with the Canadiens at the time, approached
CCM with a request. “Couldn’t we build some sort of
protection that goes right around the leg and protects
players from flying skates?”

Circa 1961
CCM developed a new shin “guard” made of 12 ply-ny-
lon; the same material used in shrapnel vests during the
Korean War. The shin guard was lightweight so that it
didn’t interfere with a player’s skating ability and provided
the protection that Reardon was seeking for NHL players
by having material that wrapped around a player’s leg to
protect against skate cuts. The front of the pad was also
made of a new plastic which resisted puncture.

CCM introduced the Prolite skate with the “Pro Guard
a hard plastic cover on the heel of the skate blade.
The new skate featured “armor plate nylon” rather than
the bronze mesh that was formerly employed. For the
first time, tendon protection became a focal point of the
boot. The issue of durability was addressed with the
addition of a tough, premium grade kangaroo leather.

Fiberglass blade introduced on the hockey stick.

Helmets became mandatory in the League for any player
signing his first contract after June 1, 1979. Craig MacTa-
vish was the last NHLer to play without a helmet, retiring
in 1996-97.

The Winnipeg Jets became the first NHL team to test a
new pant system at their training camp. The “Cooperall”
was a new pant system that was up to 40 percent lighter
than traditional hockey pants and socks. The new pant
featured an inner girdle which covered from the top of
the knee to the middle of the rib cage and an outer shell
made of a woven nylon. CCM had developed a similar
new pant system that would be worn by some members
of the Hartford Whalers during the 1981-82 and 1982-83
seasons. The Philadelphia Flyers wore the Cooperall pant
for those same two seasons. The new pant system was
designed to make the player as cool and comfortable as
possible while still offering maximum protection. The
new pant system lasted only two years in the NHL due to
the fact that the material tended to rip more easily and,
when a player fell on the ice, the nylon material tended to
propel him rapidly.

NHL approved the use of aluminum shaft sticks in
League play.

Cuffs on gloves that are as much as two inches shorter
began to be manufactured. The so-called “short-cuff”
gloves, which cut-off just past the wrist instead of
reaching several inches up the forearm, are used by
the majority of NHL players by the early 1990s. Players
felt that the smaller glove increased their ability to stick-
handle and shoot. Because the short cuff gloves exposed
the wrist to potential injury, players began to attach spe-
cially-molded plastic to the front part of their elbow pads
to reach down to protect the lower part of the forearm.
Manufacturers also began at this time to produce longer
elbow pads.

Composite sticks made their first appearance in
the NHL.

The NHL and Reebok unveil a new uniform system
at the 55th NHL All-Star Game in Dallas, designed to
enhance player performance and increase protection
and safety. The Rbk EDGE Uniform System features
four fabrics which will help keep players lighter, drier
and better protected while also maintaining durability.
Worn by NHL players for the first time in the 55th NHL
All-Star Game in Dallas, it will be introduced to all 30
NHL teams for the 2007-08 regular season.
Join the Discussion: » Comments » Post New Comment
More from
» Roberts Retiring, McLaren Trade Nullified
» On Deadline Day, Be Careful What You Wish For
» So You Want To Be An Ombudsman?
» Gauthier Gets Five Games
» More on the Dangers of Front-Loading LT Deals