Title:
Hockey stick cover
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hockey stick protective cover for protecting the blade and at least a portion of the shaft of one or more hockey sticks from damage and from damaging other surfaces. The device has two fastening mechanisms to secure the one or more hockey sticks and an abrasion resistant material to prevent wearing of hockey stick blades and the cover.



Inventors:
Grodin, Ira (Ridgefield, NJ, US)
Application Number:
12/288456
Publication Date:
05/14/2009
Filing Date:
10/21/2008
Assignee:
A&R Allied Enterprises, Inc. (Ridgefield, NJ, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B59/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GRAHAM, MARK S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LERNER, DAVID, LITTENBERG, (CRANFORD, NJ, US)
Claims:
1. A hockey stick cover for enclosing at least one hockey stick comprising: a first section having a body for enclosing a portion of a hockey stick blade, the body being sized to accommodate a curvature of the blade; a second section having a body and a top perimeter for enclosing a portion of a hockey stick shaft, the first and second sections being continuous and arranged to accommodate an angle between the blade and the shaft of at least one hockey stick; a first closure mechanism disposed along an edge of the cover; a second closure mechanism disposed along the top perimeter for circumferentially securing a portion of at least one shaft; and an abrasion resistant edge protector disposed along a portion of the edge of the cover.

2. The cover of claim 1, wherein the cover is formed of a high-strength, abrasion and tear-resistant material selected from the group consisting of polyesters, polyolefins, nylons and combinations thereof.

3. The cover of claim 1, wherein the cover includes at least one circular aperture for ventilation of a covered hockey stick.

4. The cover of claim 1, wherein the cover has at least two ventilation apertures in the first section, the apertures being reinforced by grommets.

5. The cover of claim 1, wherein the first closure mechanism is a zipper, the zipper being attached to at least a portion of the first section and to at least a portion of the second section.

6. The cover of claim 1, wherein the zipper is disposed along a portion of the edge of the first section and the second section.

7. The cover of claim 1, wherein the cover is sized to accommodate one or more hockey sticks, the one or more hockey sticks having an angle theta between a shaft and a blade of between about ninety degrees and about one hundred seventy degrees.

8. The cover of claim 7, wherein the angle theta is between about one hundred twenty degrees and about one hundred and fifty degrees.

9. The cover of claim 1, wherein the second closure mechanism is a hook and loop type fastener disposed to close around the circumference of the top perimeter of the second section.

10. The cover of claim 1 wherein the abrasion resistant material is disposed continuously between the first closure mechanism and the second closure mechanism along the edge of the first section and an edge of the second section.

11. The cover of claim 1, wherein the abrasion resistant material is formed from a polyolefin or a rubber.

12. A method of covering a plurality of hockey sticks, each stick having a blade and a shaft, comprising: (a) unzipping a zipper disposed along a first edge of a cover; (b) opening a hook and loop fastener disposed circumferentially along a top perimeter of the cover; (c) inserting the plurality of hockey sticks into an opening in the cover; (d) closing the zipper to secure a portion of the blades and a portion of the shafts within the cover; and (e) securing a hook and loop fastener circumferentially around the shafts thereby enclosing a portion of the shafts and securing the sticks within the cover.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of the filing date of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/002,876 filed Nov. 13, 2007, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a protective cover for one or more hockey sticks and particularly to a cover for protecting the blade, a portion of the shaft and surfaces which come into contact with sticky tape that may be applied to the blade.

A hockey stick is a piece of equipment used in field hockey, ice hockey, or roller hockey to move the ball or puck. An ice hockey stick is a piece of equipment used in ice hockey to move the puck. Ice hockey sticks are approximately 150-200 cm long, composed of a long, slender shaft and a flat extension at one end called the blade. The blade is the part of the stick used to contact the puck, and is typically 25 to 40 cm long. Stick dimensions can vary widely, as they are usually built to suit a particular player's size. The blade is positioned at roughly a 135° angle from the axis of the shaft, giving the stick a partly ‘L-shaped’ appearance. The shaft of the stick is fairly rigid, but it has some flexibility to benefit some shots.

To aid in retaining or lifting the puck off the playing surface, the blade is often curved in the direction toward which the skater moves forward.

The goaltender has a slightly modified stick. The lower part of the stick is wider, the angle is smaller, and the blade is slightly curved towards the direction of the play.

The lie of a stick refers to the angle between the shaft and the blade. A lie value of 5 corresponds to a 1350 angle, and each additional lie value corresponds to a 20 smaller angle. With the bottom of the blade flat on the ice, a higher lie value causes the shaft to stand up straighter. Typical lie values range from 5 to 7; most sticks now are near 5.5. Goalie sticks typically have a lie between 11 and 15.

Whip, bend, stiffness, and flex are all terms used to describe how a stick bows when the player shoots the puck. The “flex”, usually printed on the side of the stick, typically ranging from 70 and 110. This number corresponds to the force that it takes to deflect or bend the shaft one inch. For example, a 100 flex requires 100 pounds force (444 N) to bend the shaft 1 inch. A 90 flex requires 90 pounds force (400 N) to bend the shaft 1 inch, and so on.

Aggressive and defensive players lean towards using stiff shafts for stick-checking and controlled slap shots. For an efficient slap shot, the blade of the stick makes contact with the ice a few inches before the puck. The shaft bends (gets preloaded), increasing its potential energy, then as the stick is pulled through the slap shot it snaps back into position as it makes contact with the puck. The force is transferred into the puck thus increasing the velocity of the shot and the chance of scoring. Finesse style players generally prefer flexible and lightweight shafts for wrist shots (snap shots), stick handling, and shot accuracy. A flexible shaft provides more whip which translates into more velocity on these shots. Smaller players tend to use more flexible shafts to increase power on slap and wrist shots.

At inception of the sport, the blade of the hockey stick was not curved. Stan Mikita was the first NHL player to use a curved blade. A great deal of attention is placed on the contours of a stick's curve. A curve is characterized by the blade curves, the shape of the toe, and how the face is angled. A toe curve such as that used by Sergei Federov, is considered good for puck handling and accurate wrist shots. A heel curve, such as that used by Brian Leetch and Eric Lindros is designed to maximize the blade's sweet spot, improving speed and accuracy on slap shots, and is often preferred by hard-shooting defensemen for this reason.

The toe shape is usually either round or square. Square toes make it easier to pull a puck off the boards, while round toes offer a small advantage in puck handling.

Similar to gold clubs, the face angle, or openness, of a blade has a large impact on a puck's trajectory when it is shot. If a blade is very open, it will be easier to shoot the puck high, while a closed face is more likely to produce a shot close to the ice.

The curve of the blade is subject to strict rules in all levels of hockey. Accurate measurements can be made using a device which some referees are equipped with called a stick gauge. For the 2005-06 season, the National Hockey League changed the curve limit to ¾ of an inch.

The blade of the stick is nearly always wrapped partially in friction or “sticky” tape. The tape is typically a cotton tape that has been impregnated with adhesive so that it is sticky on at least one side. This is generally done to improve puck handling and to avoid water damage to the stick. The tape is generally replaced once its adhesion is impaired, or it begins to feel heavy. Preferred amounts of puck adhesion vary among players: some players will use a regular cloth tape instead of friction tape. Wayne Gretzky used friction tape but then applied baby powder to lower its adhesion.

There is also variation in color of the friction tape, white or black being predominant. Some hockey players use black tape because they believe it camouflages the puck making it harder for the goalie to see. Luc Robitaille used black tape in the first and third periods but white tape in the second.

Roller hockey sticks are generally comparable to ice hockey sticks, some leagues use regular hockey sticks, including shafts and one piece composite sticks.

Typically, field hockey sticks have an end which varies in shape, often depending on the players position. In general there are four main variations on head. Field hockey sticks vary widely in length, ranging from 26″ to 38.5″, and in cost ranging from under $40 to over $500.

Hockey sticks have traditionally been made from wood, but in recent years, sticks made of aluminum, fiberglass, carbon or graphite fiber, aramids such as Kevlar™ and other composite materials have become common. In addition to weighing less, composite sticks can be manufactured with more consistent flexibility properties than their wooden counterparts. Some of these sticks have replaceable wood or composite blades, while others are one piece sticks without a replaceable blade. Composite sticks, despite their higher cost, are now commonplace at nearly all competitive levels of the sport, including youth hockey. Hockey sticks are manufactured by manufacturers such as Easton, RBK, Nike Bauer, Mission, Louisville TPS, Gear, Trilage and CCM and may cost several hundred dollars per stick. The oldest ice hockey stick, believed to have been carved between 1852 and 1856 reportedly sold at auction for $2.2 million. Canadian Press, Dec. 22, 2006.

The blades are usually attached to the metal or synthetic sticks, typically by using adhesive, the shaft end being expanded by heat to facilitate reception of the stem within the hollow shaft end. As the shaft cools, it contracts about the stem and the adhesive cures, making an extremely durable bond between the shaft and blade. Also, hockey sticks are commercially available in senior or junior sizes. The difference is that the junior size has a slightly shorter shaft length and smaller cross-section.

Apart from normal use of hockey sticks, they are frequently subjected to substantial misuse and abuse. For example, younger hockey players typically mistreat their hockey sticks by using the sticks outside of the hockey rink. Typically, the hockey stick is used to flip or drive not only hockey pucks but rocks and other similar objects, for example, in the streets, parking lots, or during games of “street” hockey. As a result, the wooden hockey blades are often chipped, splintered or frayed along their edges, which degrades their effectiveness on the ice and creates a potential source of problems off-ice, for example, hooked clothing, ripped car seats, splinters and the like. The useful life of such mistreated and abused hockey sticks is therefore considerably shortened, often times resulting in the need to purchase an expensive new hockey stick or at least a replacement blade because of the damage incurred off the ice.

Further, as discussed above, most players typically cover the blades with a sticky friction tape to afford better control of the puck while on the ice. The presence of the friction tape on the blade, however, causes a variety of problems, including black markings and/or sticky residue left on various surfaces contacted by the tape. For example, hockey sticks are normally transported by car or van. Contact between the friction tape on the blades and surfaces in the cargo area or trunk of the vehicle leaves unsightly markings and sticky residue. Similar markings or stains also appear on floors or walls, causing unsightly appearances, requiring removal, which is time consuming, expensive and quite difficult.

One form of protection for a hockey stick currently commercially available is a hockey stick bag. The bag is elongated and shaped generally to conform to the dimensions and shape of the hockey stick. The bag completely encompasses or envelops the entire hockey stick. These bags are essentially bulky, difficult to use and difficult to close. Additionally, a number of different coverings for hockey stick blades are disclosed in the patent literature, including U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,651,990, 5,127,649, 5,558,326, 5,816,962 and 6,612,944. The coverings of these patents have various drawbacks, including the degree of difficulty of application of the covering to the hockey stick, the cost and other factors.

Accordingly, there has developed a need for a protective cover for a hockey stick which serves the purposes of protecting the blade, and at least a portion of the shaft from damage while also protecting surfaces and individuals from contact with the sticky friction tape normally applied to the blade while, at the same time, is low cost and easily manufactured from a wide variety of materials.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one aspect of the invention a hockey stick cover for enclosing at least one hockey stick comprises a first section. The first section has a body for enclosing a portion of a hockey stick blade. The body can be sized to accommodate a curvature of the blade. The cover has a second section also having a body and a top perimeter for enclosing a portion of a hockey stick shaft. The first and second sections are continuous and arranged to accommodate an angle between the blade and the shaft of at least one hockey stick. A first closure mechanism disposed along an edge of the cover and a second closure mechanism is disposed along the top perimeter for circumferentially securing a portion of at least one shaft. An abrasion resistant edge protector is disposed along a portion of the edge of the cover.

In one embodiment, the cover is formed of a high-strength, abrasion and tear-resistant material selected from the group consisting of polyesters, polyolefins, nylons and combinations thereof.

In another embodiment, the cover includes at least one circular aperture for ventilation of a covered hockey stick.

In a preferred embodiment, the cover has at least two ventilation apertures in the first section. The apertures can be reinforced by grommets.

In another embodiment, the first closure mechanism is a zipper. The zipper is attached to at least a portion of the first section and to at least a portion of the second section.

In one embodiment the zipper is disposed along a portion of the edge of the first section and of the second section.

In another embodiment, the cover is sized to accommodate one or more hockey sticks. The one or more hockey sticks have an angle theta between a shaft and a blade. The angle is between about ninety degrees and about one hundred seventy degrees.

In a preferred embodiment, the angle theta is between about one hundred twenty degrees and about one hundred and fifty degrees.

In another embodiment, the second closure mechanism is a hook and loop type fastener. The fastener is disposed to close around the circumference of the top perimeter of the second section.

In yet another embodiment, the abrasion resistant material is disposed continuously between the first closure mechanism and the second closure mechanism along the edge of the first section and an edge of the second section.

In a preferred embodiment, the abrasion resistant material is formed from a polyolefin or a rubber.

In another aspect of the invention, a method of covering a plurality of hockey sticks, each stick having a blade and a shaft, comprises:

(a) unzipping a zipper disposed along a first edge of a cover;

(b) opening a hook and loop fastener disposed circumferentially along a top perimeter of the cover;

(c) inserting the plurality of hockey sticks into an opening in the cover;

(d) closing the zipper to secure a portion of the blades and a portion of the shafts within the cover; and

(e) securing a hook and loop fastener circumferentially around the shaft thereby enclosing a portion of the shafts and securing the sticks within the cover.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows an illustrative plan view showing typical hockey stock configurations;

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view illustrating the cover hereof;

FIG. 3 shows another perspective view illustrating the cover hereof;

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view, illustrating the cover hereof with the blades and shank portions of two hockey sticks received within the cover; and

FIG. 5 shows another perspective view illustrating the cover hereof with the blades and shank portions of two hockey sticks received within the cover.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 illustrates a player's hockey stick, generally designated 1, and a goalie's stick generally designated 4. The stick(s) having a shaft portion 8 and a curved blade 12 extending at an angle theta 8 relative to the shaft portion 8. The blade is usually curved along its length.

FIGS. 2-5 illustrate a hockey stick cover, generally designated 16, constructed in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. A first portion 20 encloses the blade 12 and a second portion 24 encloses at least a portion of the shaft 12 of the stick 1, 4. The cover 16 has an opening along a front edge 28 thereof and has a closed end or toe portion 32. As illustrated in FIGS. 2-5, the first portion 20 and second portion 24 are continuous and generally angularly arranged as the blade 12 and shaft 8 are angularly related to one another to form a radial contoured fit of the stick 1,4 inside the cover 16. The first portion 20 is sized to accommodate the heel or toe curvature of the blade 12.

The cover can be formed of a high-strength, abrasion and tear-resistant material such as polyesters, polyolefins, nylons and the like. It will be appreciated, however, that different types of natural fiber fabric materials such as canvas or hemp and weaves such as breathable or ventilated non-woven mesh materials or open fabric weaves. Also, the cover can be formed from semi-rigid material such as polymers or elastomers. The cover can be constructed of materials to ventilate the blade after use and maximize abrasion resistance to avoid tearing the cover, wearing out the cover and damaging the hockey stick. The cover 16 can include one or more apertures for ventilation of the covered hockey stick(s). The apertures or ventilation holes can be incorporated into the cover at the toe portion, for example, and can be reinforced by grommets or the like.

As illustrated in FIGS. 2-5, a zipper 36, is sewn or otherwise attached, such as by heat sealing or ultrasonic welding, to at lease a part of the first portion 20 and to at least a part of the second portion 24 of the cover 16. The zipper 36 is provided to facilitate placement of stick 1,4 into and removal from cover 16. In the present embodiment, the zipper is located along a portion of front edge 28. The zipper can also be arranged to include all or part of front edge 28. In addition, any type of conventional fastener such as snaps, buttons, hook and loop fasteners and the like may be used as a closure for all or part of front edge 28.

To accommodate the angle between the first portion 20 covering all the blade 12 and the second portion 24 covering all or part shaft 8, the cover is formed with a at least one radius of curvature as designated by r in FIG. 2. Radius r approximates the angle theta a between the shaft 8 and the blade 12. The angle theta 8 between the blade 12 and shaft 8 can vary from stick to stick. The radius of curvature r accommodates one or more hockey sticks having an angle theta 8 between about ninety (90) degrees and about one hundred seventy (179) degrees, optionally, the radius of curvature accommodates one or more hockey sticks having an angle theta 8 of between about one hundred twenty (120) degrees and about one hundred and fifty (150) degrees.

As illustrated in FIGS. 2-3, second closure 40 is used to secure the shaft 8 of the hockey stick 1, 4 and to prevent sliding of the stick within the cover 16. In the present embodiment, the closure is a hook and loop type fastener system incorporated around the circumference of the upper edges of second portion 24. The fastener can be closed to form a releasably snug fit around the shaft 8 of the stick 1, 4. A strap 44 extends from one side of portion 24 and has one of hooks and loops 48 (FIG. 3) along its undersurface for cooperation with a patch 52 having another of the hooks or loops 48 secured to another side of portion 24. The hooks and loops may comprise Velcro™ type fasteners. To accomplish a snug fit, one or more fasteners can be used. Other types of fasteners such as zippers, buckles, snaps or the like can also be used alone or in combination.

Referring now to FIGS. 2-4, an abrasion resistant material 52 is incorporated along all or part of closed toe portions 20 and 32. The abrasion resistant material can be formed from a semi-rigid material, such as a polyolefin or a rubber. The abrasion resistant material 52 may, however, be formed of different high-abrasion and tear-resistant materials such as abrasion resistant polymer fabrics. It will be appreciated that the abrasion resistant material 52 reduces the wear and tear on the cover and in particular protects the closed toe portions 20 and 32 from abrasion commonly encountered when covered hockey sticks are dragged across abrasive surfaces during transportation of the equipment. Thus, the abrasion resistant material 52 protects the cover 16 from wear and tear, protects the edge of the blade 12 within the cover 16 from accidental damage and protects jagged, sharp, worn blade edges from causing damage otherwise.

To apply the cover 16 to the hockey stick(s) 1, 4 with the fasteners open (FIG. 3), the front edge 28 of the cover 16 is open to receive the blade 12 and shaft 8 as illustrated in FIGS. 4-5. The blade 12 can then be inserted into the opening in the cover, with the tip of the blade engaging the interior of the closed toe portions 20 and 32. With the blade 12 inserted to its maximum extent, the zipper 36 may be closed securing the blade 12 and at least a portion of the shaft 8. Next, the strap 44 is secured around the shaft 8 and overlying the top portion of zipper 36. It will be appreciated that in this closed configuration, the zipper 36 is protected from damage or forces which could cause un-zippering. Further, any sticky tape on the blade portion is now fully enclosed by the cover 16. Additionally, the hockey stick cannot easily be removed from the cover absent release of the fastener(s).

As shown in FIGS. 4-5, two players' sticks are enclosed in the cover in the closed condition. The zipper 36 along front edge 28 the second fastener 40 are closed. As shown in FIGS. 4-5, the cover 16 can be dimensioned to accommodate one or more hockey sticks. As many players must carry two sticks, a primary stick and a spare, the embodiment depicted herein is both economical and ergonomically advantageous.

It will be appreciated from the foregoing that the cover is readily and easily applied to multiple configurations and quantities of hockey sticks in a manner such that cover completely overlies, envelops and encompasses the blade and at least a portion of the shaft of the hockey stick(s).

Consequently, a barrier of cover material is provided between the blade and any surface in which the blade might contact, thereby eliminating transfer of adhesive, scuffing or damage on any adjacent surfaces contacted by the stick. Additionally, the radius accommodates variously shaped arced configurations between blade and shaft portions of the various hockey sticks. Multiple hockey sticks having different shaped blades and shafts can be efficiently protected using a single cover.

Although the invention herein has been described with reference to particular embodiments, it is to be understood that these embodiments are merely illustrative of the principles and applications of the present invention. It is therefore to be understood that numerous modifications may be made to the illustrative embodiments and that other arrangements may be devised without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.