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This invention relates to apparatus for use in collecting and storing hockey pucks from ice surfaces.
Significant number of hockey pucks are used during practise sessions on ice surfaces, particularly in ice rinks. It is not a particular hardship for a single or several pucks to be used and, subsequently, picked up by a player after a practise session. However, when a significant number of pucks are to be retrieved during and after a session, particularly when a plurality of players are involved, such a physical action in bending down to retrieve the puck(s) and transfer them to an “off-ice” storage site usually represents an inconvenience that the players would like to avoid.
Apparatus of use in retrieving pucks and removing them from the ice is known which comprises a puck holding net affixed to a rotable rigid ramp. The ramp assists the puck into the net when the puck is hit by a stick. However, such apparatus suffers from the aforesaid disadvantage of inconvenience.
There is, therefor, a need for an improved apparatus for retrieving and transferring hockey pucks from the ice surface, which does not suffer from the aforesaid disadvantage.
It is an object of the present invention to provide improved apparatus of use in the retrieval, transfer and, optional, storage of hockey pucks from ice surfaces which apparatus is more convenient to be operated by players, and more aesthetically appealing.
Accordingly, the invention provides an apparatus of use in the collection and storage of hockey pucks from an ice surface, said apparatus comprising
(a) storage means having a puck entry aperture;
(b) aperture closure means adjacent said entry aperture wherein said aperture closure means is (i) in a static position as to prevent stored pucks in said storage means from exiting through said entry aperture, and (ii) operably displaceable by a moving puck to allow entry of said puck into said storage means through said entry aperture and wherein said closure means is returnable to said static position after passage of said puck into said storage means; and
(c) handle means connected to said storage means by which said apparatus may be moved along on or lifted from said ice surface.
In a preferred embodiment, the handle means comprises a fitting member so shaped and adapted to operably receive an end of a hockey stick or like member whereby manually pushing the stick moves the apparatus on the ice surface. The end of the hockey stick may be either the upper stick end adjacent which the hockey player holds the stick during play, or the blade end.
In a most preferred embodiment, the handle means comprises a hollow tubular member defining a chamber adapted to receive the generally square or rectangularly shaped, in cross-section, upper end of a hockey stick or like member.
In an alternative embodiment, the fitting member may have a portion defining a hockey blade-receiving slot.
The fitting member is preferably swivelably mounted to the storage means. More preferably, the fitting member is operably rotatable only in the horizontal plane on the top of the storage means parallel to the ice-surface.
In addition to the handle means facilitating movement of the apparatus along the ice, when desired, upward lifting of the handle and, accordingly, the front end of the storage means, causes the bag of the storage means to tilt to effect rearward distribution of the hockey pucks in the bag to enable more pucks to be shot into the bag through the closure means.
Most preferably, the storage means is formed of a suitable fabric, canvas, cloth or flexible plastics material and, optionally, having an inner liner formed of a flexible plastics waterproof material at the bottom, and up the rear and both sides to a significant portion thereof, generally 50-90% of the height of the bag.
In alternative embodiments, the handle means comprises an elongate member, optionally provided with telescopic tube means.
The closure means in one embodiment, preferably, comprises a displaceable, rigid planar member, which is, for example, formed of a plastics material, rubber or wood.
In alternative embodiments, the closure means comprises flexible sheet means, preferably selected from a single sheet or a plurality of vertical strips.
In alternative embodiments, the closure means is formed of a plastics or rubber material.
In further alternative embodiments, the storage means comprises a net, mesh or like porous open material.
In a preferred embodiment, the puck entry aperture at a lower part is adjacent a bottom member, extending the width of the aperture, wherein the member has a height which defines the aperture to be less in height than the aperture closure means.
In a preferred embodiment, the bottom member extends outwardly from the aperture along the ice and is tapered as to define an incline from the ice surface to the aperture.
In a preferred embodiment, the bottom member prevents the closure means from being displaced from the vertical plane away from the aperture.
In a preferred embodiment, the closure means comprises a rectangular frame connected to the storage means and defining the puck entry aperture.
In a preferred embodiment, the frame has an elongate bottom member extending the width of the frame.
In a preferred embodiment, the frame is formed of aluminum.
In a preferred embodiment, the bottom member is formed of a rigid plastics material.
In preferred embodiments, the apparatus, particularly, if the storage means is a canvas or cloth bag, may be used with the entry aperture, optionally, kept open, if desired, by retaining means on the closure means and the storage means complementary, one with the other. In one embodiment, the inner upper surface of a storage bag and the vertical rear face of the closure member are provided with complementary, engageable and disengageable adhering means, such as complementary fiber engaging means, such as VELCRO® adhering strips. Accordingly, in an optional preferred aspect the invention provides apparatus as hereinabove defined wherein
(a) said planar member has a vertical inner face;
(b) said storage means has an upper inner surface operably contactable by said inner face; and
(c) each of said inner face and said upper inner surface have portions having complementary engageable and disengageable retaining means affixed thereto, whereby said planar member is releasably retained to said upper surface of said storage means to maintain said entry aperture open.
The retaining means is preferably adhering fiber engaging means.
In order that the invention may be better understood, preferred embodiments will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic, perspective view of a hockey puck collection apparatus, according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic side sectional view, in part, of the front end of collection apparatus of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a further embodiment of a collection apparatus according to the invention having alternative closure means;
FIG. 4 is a diagrammatic perspective rear side view, in part, of a fitting and frame assembly of a collection apparatus, according to the invention;
FIG. 5 is a diagrammatic perspective view in part of an alternate fitting of use in the apparatus according to the invention; and
wherein the same numerals denotes like parts.
With reference to FIG. 1, this shows generally as 10, apparatus of use in the collection and storage of hockey pucks 12 from an ice surface 14. Apparatus 10 comprises a canvas storage bag 16 having a puck entry aperture 18, at front end 20, defined by a rectangular plastic frame 22 to which is affixed a telescopic handle 24, by a swivel 26. Frame 22 has a bottom rectangular member 28 extending the width of aperture 18. With reference also to FIG. 2, member 28 is defined as a tapered, hemi-circular disc having a central length “l” extending outwardly from aperture 18. Member 18 has an upper surface 29 defined as an upwardly inclined plane from the ice surface at its distal edge to the aperture at its proximal end. Such an inclined plan facilitates entry of a moving puck 12 from ice surface 14 through aperture 18 into bag 16.
Vertically disposed adjacent and blocking aperture 18 is a rigid, planar plastics flap or sheet 30, hinged to top 32 of frame 22 as to permit displacement from the vertical plane through its hinged attachment 34 into bag 16 under the influence of moving puck 12 when struck. Once puck 12 enters bag 16, plastics sheet 30 returns to its vertical position under gravity through hinged attachment 34. The lower portion 36 of sheet 30 abuts bottom member 28 on the inside of bag 16 as to prevent sheet 30 being displaced from its vertical plane away from bag 16. This prevents pucks 12 from falling out of bag 16.
Sheet 30 has a vertical inner face 46 having a strip 47 formed of a VELCRO® adhereable fiber material. Bag 16 has an inner upper surface 48 having a strip 49 of VELCRO® adhereable fiber material, so located that when sheet 30 is, manually, lifted to abut surface 48, strips 47 and 49 engage each other to keep aperture 18 open. Sheet 30 can be readily manually released when desired by disengagement of strips 47 and 49, to trap pucks inside bag 16 for transportation.
Surprisingly, I have found that, without detracting from the essence of the present invention, that players in training prefer to shoot the pucks into bag 16 when the entry aperture is open. The players believe it is psychologically easier to shoot the puck into the “void” of the open bag, rather than at an obstruction, i.e. the closed door. Players find that more concentration and focus are needed when the door is seen.
With reference to FIG. 3, this shows closure means comprising a plurality of displaceable flexible plastics strips 38 hanging from the top 32 of the frame 22.
Bag 16 has a zipper 40 by which retrieved pucks 12 may be removed, and a pair of side handles 42 and shoulder strap 44, by which bag 16 may alternatively be carried.
With reference to FIG. 4, this shows an alternative fitting member shown generally as 50, formed of polypropylene and in the form of a hollow trapezium housing 52 having a sealed front portion 54, a rear aperture 56 and chamber 58 defined by sides 60, top 62 and bottom 64. Within chamber 58 is an integrally formed rectangular cup 66 which releasably retains the upper handle end 68 of a hockey stick 70 (in part).
Housing 52 at bottom 64 has a portion defining a hole 72 complimentary to hole 74 in horizontal upper frame member 76.
Housing 52 and frame member 76 are retained in abutment by rivot 78 which allows for horizontal rotation of housing 52 relative to frame member 76, by manual action of stick 70.
FIG. 5 shows an alternative horizontally-rotatable fitting, generally, in part as 80, having an upper portion 82 defining a hockey stick blade-receiving slot 84 which receives a hockey stick blade 86. Fitting 80 is pivotally mounted on frame 76 as hereinabove described in respect of FIG. 4.
Although this disclosure has described and illustrated certain preferred embodiments of the invention, it is to be understood that the invention is not restricted to those particular embodiments. Rather, the invention includes all embodiments which are functional or mechanical equivalence of the specific embodiments and features that have been described and illustrated.