Title:
Puck retriever
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A puck retriever has a hollow interior of diameter larger than that of a puck for use in the game of hockey. A ring of rubber or similar resiliently deformable material is located adjacent to the lower end of the tube. The ring has an inner edge which defines a circular inlet of diameter smaller than that of a puck. The ring flexes upward when pressed downward against a puck which is resting on a flat surface with resulting bending upward of the edge and enlargement of the inlet sufficient to allow the puck to pass through the inlet. The ring is of sufficient strength to resist flexing downward under the weight of any pucks within the tube such that the ring prevents pucks within the tube from exiting through the inlet. The ring may be continuous and unbroken throughout its circumference or it may be cut into a number of flaps.



Inventors:
Wright, William Ira (Brougham, CA)
Application Number:
12/292429
Publication Date:
05/21/2009
Filing Date:
11/19/2008
Assignee:
1782042 Ontario, inc.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
473/446
International Classes:
A63B47/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050017525Auxiliary handle assembly for hand toolJanuary, 2005Douziech
20080061570Food roasting apparatusMarch, 2008Dockins et al.
20020106609Dental forcepsAugust, 2002Palermo et al.
20080296095HIGH SPEED DIGITAL COMMUNICATION NETWORKS FOR HIGH INTERFERENCE CARGO TRANSPORTATION ENVIRONMENTSDecember, 2008Frank
20080079276PAGE TURNING DEVICEApril, 2008Mazyck
20090206620Spearhead assemblyAugust, 2009Mcleod et al.
20080088142Silicone coated tong headsApril, 2008Lubenesky et al.
20050057055Tool for picking up clothes off the floorMarch, 2005Deal
20080174133High Rise Hose Pack SystemJuly, 2008O'brien et al.
20080093870TWO-DOOR ELEVATORApril, 2008Ellis et al.
20100007159LIFTING HOOK WITH CHAIN LENGTH REDUCERJanuary, 2010Henrion



Primary Examiner:
KRAMER, DEAN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Muncy, Geissler, Olds & Lowe, P.C. (Fairfax, VA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A puck retriever comprising: a tube having upper and lower ends and a hollow interior of diameter larger than that of a puck for use in the game of hockey; and a resiliently deformable annulus which is continuous and unbroken throughout its circumference and which is formed adjacent to the lower end of said tube, said annulus having an inner edge which defines a circular inlet of diameter smaller than that of said puck, said annulus being positioned adjacent to the lower end of said tube and flexing upward when pressed downward against a puck which is resting on a flat surface with resulting bending upward of said edge and enlargement of said inlet sufficient to allow said puck to pass through said inlet, but said annulus being of sufficient strength to resist flexing downward under the weight of any pucks within said tube such that said annulus prevents the latter said pucks from exiting through said inlet.

2. The puck retriever of claim 1 wherein said annulus is composed of synthetic or natural rubber.

3. The puck retriever of claim 1 wherein said annulus has a thickness which is least at said inner edge and enlarges radially outward of said inner edge.

4. A puck retriever comprising: a tube having upper and lower ends and a hollow interior of diameter larger than that of a puck for use in the game of hockey; and a resiliently deformable annulus which is continuous and unbroken throughout its circumference save and except for a plurality of radially extending slits spaced around its circumference, which said slits define side edges of a plurality of flaps, said annulus being positioned adjacent to the lower end of said tube, said flaps having inner edges which define a circular inlet of diameter smaller than that of said puck, said flaps flexing upward when pressed downward against a puck which is resting on a flat surface with resulting bending upward of said flaps and enlargement of said inlet sufficient to allow said puck to pass through said inlet, said annulus being of sufficient strength to resist flexing downward under the weight of any pucks within said tube such that said annulus prevents the latter said pucks from exiting through said inlet.

5. The puck retriever of claim 4 wherein said annulus is composed of synthetic or natural rubber.

6. The puck retriever of claim 4 wherein said flaps have a thickness which is least at said inner edges and enlarge radially outward of said inner edges.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to retrievers for picking up objects on a flat surface and more particularly to retrievers for picking up one or more pucks on a sheet of ice without the necessity of stooping or bending.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Skill at stick-handling is essential for an athlete who participates in the sport of hockey. One of the exercises which is often used to improve an athlete's skill in this regard is to arrange a large number of pucks in a line on a sheet of ice. The athlete then hits one puck at a time into a net which is guarded by a goal tender. The goal tender attempts to block the pucks in order to prevent them from entering the net while the athlete attempts to aim the pucks where the goal tender will not be able to stop them. The exercise serves to improve the athlete's hand-eye coordination which is essential for stick-handling.

At the end of the exercise there are a number of pucks on the sheet of ice and they must be gathered from the ice and placed in a receptacle for reuse. The task of gathering the pucks requires a considerable amount of stooping or bending of the back.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,719,340 issued on Apr. 13, 2004 describes a retriever for pucks which in use, substantially eliminates the need for stooping or bending in order to gather pucks on a sheet of ice. The retriever includes an elongated tube having bristles on the inside wall adjacent to the lower end of the tube. When the tube is placed over a puck so that the bristles come into contact with it, the bristles retain the puck within the tube. A number of pucks can be picked up in this manner. The pucks within the tube form a stack until the tube is turned upside down when the pucks fall out of the open upper end of the tube.

The puck retriever described in the above patent has a number of shortcomings, one of which is that some skill and a significant amount of time are required to attach the bristles to the inside wall of the tube in such a way that they are effective for the picking up of pucks. Another shortcoming is that the bristles, with repeated use, weaken and eventually break. Once broken the puck retriever is not reliable in picking up a puck or in retaining it in the tube once it has been picked up.

The puck retriever of the subject invention substantially overcomes these shortcomings. Rubber instead of bristles is used to pick up the pucks. The rubber is in one piece and can easily and quickly be attached to the retriever. Furthermore the rubber has a much longer useful life than bristles. Repeated use of the subject retriever will have little detrimental effect on the effectiveness of the device unlike the device described in the above patent where repeated use will have a decided detrimental effect on its effectiveness.

Briefly, the puck retriever of the subject invention comprises: a tube having upper and lower ends and a hollow interior of diameter larger than that of a puck. A number of resiliently deformable flaps are formed on the lower end of the tube. The flaps have inner edges which together define a circular inlet of diameter smaller than that of the puck. The flaps flex upward when pressed downward against a puck which is resting on a flat surface with resulting enlargement of the inlet sufficient to allow the puck to pass through the inlet. The flaps however are of sufficient strength to resist flexing downward under the weight of any pucks within the tube such that the flaps prevent any pucks within the tube from exiting through the inlet.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The puck retriever of the invention is described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is an elevation of the puck retriever;

FIG. 2 is an end view of the circular inlet at the lower end of the puck retriever in larger scale than that of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an elevation, partly in section of the lower portion of the puck retriever together with an elevation of a puck beneath the retriever;

FIG. 4 is the same as FIG. 3 except that the puck is within the lower portion of the retriever;

FIG. 5 is an end view of the inlet of a second embodiment of the puck retriever; and

FIG. 6 is partly an elevation and partly a section on line 6-6 of FIG. 5.

Like reference characters refer to like parts throughout the description of the drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With reference to FIG. 1, the puck retriever of the invention, generally 10, includes a tube 12 and upper and lower ends. A cap 14 is threadably attached to the upper end of the tube while, at the lower end 16, an opening is provided for entry of pucks as is described below. The tube is stepped outward at 18.

With reference to FIG. 2 and 3, the cylindrical interior wall 20 of the tube has a diameter that is slightly larger than the diameter 22 of puck 24 so that the puck and others like it can be accommodated within the tube.

At the lower end of the tube is a circular inlet 30 which is defined by the inner edge 32 of a ring or annulus 34. The diameter of the inlet is less than the diameter of puck 24. Accordingly when one or more pucks are within the tube, ring 34 prevents them from exiting through the inlet.

A number of radially outwardly extending slits 36 are cut in the ring. The slits define the side edges of flaps 38 which encircle the inlet.

The ring is composed of resiliently deformable material such as synthetic or natural rubber. A conventional annular rubber gasket is suitable for use as the ring and where such a gasket is used, it is retained within the tube between a pair of spaced apart annular ridges 44 on the interior wall of the tube.

With reference to FIG. 4, the material of which the ring is composed must be such that when the ring is pressed hard downwardly against puck 24 which is resting on a flat surface 46, the flaps flex with resulting enlargement of the diameter of the inlet sufficient to allow the puck to pass through the inlet and into the interior of the tube. The material must not however be so flexible that the flaps flex when less than a hard force is applied to them. They must not, for example, flex under the weight of the pucks within the tube. Rather, they must remain rigid at this time to prevent the pucks from discharging through the bottom of the tube.

The flaps accordingly prevent any pucks within the tube from discharging through the inlet but allow pucks to enter the tube from below. The only way that the pucks can be removed from the tube is by turning the tube upside down and removing cap 14 so that the pucks will fall outwardly of the tube through the open upper end of the tube.

With reference to FIGS. 6 and 7, ring 60 is the same as ring 34 of the previous figures except that the ring is free of slits and flaps. Rather the ring is continuous and unbroken throughout its circumference. The inner edge 62 of the ring is circular and defines a circular inlet 64 of diameter smaller than that of a puck. As with ring 34, ring 60 flexes upward when pressed downward against a puck which is resting on a flat surface with resulting bending upward of the edge and resulting enlargement of the inlet sufficient to allow the puck to pass through the inlet. The ring is however of sufficient strength to resist flexing downward under the weight of any pucks within tube 66 such that the ring prevents the pucks from exiting through the inlet.

As seen in FIG. 6, the lower wall 70 of the ring is bevelled such that the thickness of the ring, indicated 72, is least at its inner edge 62 and enlarges radially outward of the inner edge to a maximum adjacent to its outer edge 74. A bevelled lower wall is advantageous because it directs a puck that is being retrieved from a sheet of ice to the inlet of the retriever. Pucks within the retriever however are not directed to the inlet since the upper surface of the ring is not bevelled.

It will be understood, of course, that modifications can be made in the structure of the puck retriever of the invention without departing from the scope and purview of the invention as defined in the appended claims.