Patent application title: GOALTENDER'S BLOCKER WITH TRAVERSING GLOVE
Douglas W. Christopher (Edmonton, CA)
IPC8 Class: AA41D19015FI
Class name: Hand or arm coverings gloves sports glove
Publication date: 2009-04-30
Patent application number: 20090106875
A goaltender's blocker has a blocking pad resiliently attached to a
goaltender's stick-hand glove, such that the glove is movable from a
neutral or unstressed position toward to a displaced position nearer the
lower end of the blocking pad. The blocker incorporates biasing means
tending to return the glove to the neutral position. This construction
allows the glove to traverse downward relative to the blocking pad when
the blocking pad is pressed against a playing surface such as an ice
hockey rink, thus making it easier for a goaltender to perform the
paddle-down manoeuvre or to pick up a dropped hockey stick in a
comfortable, economically correct, and technically sound manner.
1. A goaltender's blocker for being worn on a goaltender's stick hand,
said blocker comprising:(a) a glove having an outer side;(b) a blocking
pad having perimeter side edges, air outer face, an inner face, and a
lower end;(c) mounting means for resiliently connecting the outer side of
the goaltender's glove to the inner face of the blocking pad; and(d)
biasing means associated with said mounting means;wherein:(e) the glove
is movable from a neutral position toward the lower end of the blocking
pad; and(f) the biasing means biases the glove toward the neutral
2. The goaltender's blocker of claim 1 wherein the mounting means comprises a pair of spaced-apart transverse mounting plates, each transverse mounting plate being hingeingly connected along one edge to the outer side of the glove and along an opposite edge to the inner face of the blocking pad.
3. The goaltender's blocker of claim 2 wherein at least one of the transverse mounting plates is enclosed in a fabric sleeve, and is hingeingly connected to the glove and the blocking pad by means of stitched seams.
4. The goaltender's blocker of claim 1 wherein the biasing means comprises an elongate elastic element connected at its first end to the blocking pad and at its second end to the glove at a point lower than the connection of the first end of the elastic element the blocking pad.
5. The goaltender's blocker of claim 4 wherein the elastic element comprises elasticized fabric.
6. The goaltender's blocker of claim 4 wherein the elastic clement comprises a rubber band.
7. The goaltender's blocker of claim 4 wherein at least one end of the elastic element is detachable.
8. The goaltender's blocker of claim 7 wherein said at least one end of the elastic element is detachable by means of hook-and-loop fasteners.
9. The goaltender's blocker of claim 7 wherein said at least one end of the elastic element is detachable by means of one or more mechanical snap-type fasteners.
10. The goaltender's blocker of claim 2, further comprising a glove mounting plate associated with the outer side of the glove and extending between the transverse mounting plates.
11. The goaltender's blocker of claim 10 wherein the glove mounting plate is enclosed in a fabric sleeve, and is hingeingly connected to the transverse mounting plates by means of stitched seams.
12. The goaltender's blocker of claim 1, wherein the blocking pad has perimeter side edges, said side edges having attachment means, and further comprising a removable face panel having tabs with attachment means for engagement with the attachment means of the blocking pad's side edges.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates in general to padded protective accessories for use in ice hockey, street hockey, roller hockey, and similar sports, and in particular relates to blockers for hockey goaltenders.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
A hockey goaltender typically wears what is commonly referred to as a "blocker" on his or her "stick hand"--i.e., the hand holding the goaltender's stick. A typical conventional goaltender's blocker has a rectangular planar blocking pad with an outward-facing blocking area to stop or deflect pucks, and an inward-facing back side to which a glove is attached. The blocking pad can be flat, as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,700,404, for example; however, most recent blocker designs now feature an outwardly-angled upper-end area, as may be seen by way of example in U.S. Pat. No. 5,564,122. In most if not all known blocker designs, one or more layers of foam, plastic, and/or other materials are assembled so as to form a solid and substantially rigid blocking pad.
A particular problem with these known designs is that the rigidity of such blocking pads has always created difficulties for goaltenders performing the so-called "paddle-down" manoeuvre, in which substantially the entire length of the outside of the goaltender's stick's paddle in brought into contact with the playing surface (the paddle being the lower and wider portion of the shaft of a typical goaltender's stick). The problem arises because the bottom edge of the conventional rigid blocker's pad protrudes by several inches from the glove to which it is attached, and thus comes into contact with the playing surface before the stick's paddle does, leaving a gap between the outside edge of the paddle and the playing surface where the puck can slide underneath the paddle and into the net or within reach of an opponent's stick.
Past attempts at solving this long-standing problem have included goaltenders trying to hold their sticks out further in front of themselves, bending their wrists, and pressing down hard in an attempt to bend the blocking pad enough to allow better contact between the outside edge of the paddle and the playing surface. This manoeuvre is usually somewhat uncomfortable, awkward, and even painful at times. It is also quite inefficient.
For some time now, goaltenders have intentionally and permanently deformed the blocking pad of their blocker, bending and twisting it into whatever shape they felt would offer the least resistance and allow easiest contact between the paddle and the playing surface. Manufacturers now produce and sell blocker models in which the usual rigid, one-piece blocking pads ate already bent, curved, and/or otherwise distorted to the same end. Such compromise solutions, however, result in a permanently distorted blocking pad in which the protective qualities and the effective height and/or width of the lower-end blocking area of the pad are reduced, as compared to those of an intact flat-padded blocker.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,085,352 allows for a temporary distortion of the blocking pad by making the blocking pad out of two rigid pieces joined by a fabric hinge. The lower portion of the blocking pad of U.S. Pat. No. 6,085,352 folds forward and upward to allow the goaltender relatively unobstructed contact between the paddle and the playing surface. One drawback to this design, however, is that if a puck strikes the upwardly-folded lower portion of the blocking pad, rather that the paddle, the puck can rebound at an unexpected angle, making it more difficult for the goaltender to prevent a goal being scored. A perhaps more significant drawback is that the folding of the blocking pad temporarily but significantly reduces the effective pad surface area available to stop pucks.
For the foregoing reasons, there is a need for an improved goaltender's blocker that will make it easier for a goaltender to execute the "paddle-down" manoeuvre and other goaltending techniques without an increased risk of allowing unpredictable puck rebounds. The present invention is directed to this need.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention provides an improvement, in a hockey goaltender's blocker of the type that includes a glove (to be worn by the goaltender's "stick hand") and generally rectangular blocking pad, where the blocking pad has a bottom edge, an outward-facing, generally planar blocking surface to stop or deflect pucks, and an inward-facing back side to which said glove is attached. Instead of being directly attached to the glove as in prior art blockers, the blocking pad of the blocker of the present invention is resiliently connected to the glove such that upon an upward force being exerted against the bottom edge of the pad (for example, when a goaltender presses the bottom edge of the blocking pad against the playing surface), the glove will be displaced downward relative to the blocking pad and generally parallel thereto, and will return to its original position when the force on the bottom edge of the blocking pad is relieved (typically, by raising the blocker off the playing surface).
Accordingly, the present invention provides an improvement whereby the blocking pad is able to traverse along the length of the glove and change its position relative thereto as the goaltender presses the blocker-and-glove assembly down against the playing surface. The traversing motion of the glove relative to the blocking pad facilitates complete and unobstructed contact between the outside edge of the goaltender's slick's paddle and the playing surface.
By virtue of its unique construction, the blocker of the present invention facilitates execution of the paddle-down technique without distorting the shape of the blocking pad and without reducing its effective puck-stopping surface area, while at the same time providing optimal protection to the goaltender's stick hand during normal goaltending activities that do not involve or require displacement of the blocker pad.
In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, the blocking pad is resiliently mounted to the glove by means of a pair of substantially rigid plates spaced apart and having hinge means for connection along one edge to the blocking pad and along an opposite edge to the glove. The hinge means may be provided in the form of fabric or webbing.
The blocker assembly also incorporates biasing means whereby the glove is biased toward a position away from the bottom edge of the blocker pad. Accordingly, when a goaltender has pressed the blocker pad against a playing surface--thus moving the glove toward the bottom edge of the blocker pad--and then raises the blocker off the playing surface, the biasing means will return the glove to its neutral position farthest away from the bottom edge of the blocker pad.
In preferred embodiments, the biasing means comprises an elongate elastic element such as an elasticized fabric strap or a rubber band. The elastic element has a first end fastened to a lower region of the glove, and a second end fastened to the blocker pad at a point higher than the connection point of the first end, such that the elastic element will be placed under tension when a force is applied to the bottom edge of the blocker pad. Preferably, at least one end of the elastic element is fastened to the glove or the blocker pad (as the case may be) by easily detachable means such as hook-and-loop fasteners or mechanical snaps, to enable adjustment of the effective length of the elastic element and to facilitate pretensioning of the elastic element.
Optionally, the blocker pad may have a detachable face panel.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Embodiments of the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying figures, in which numerical references denote like parts, and in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the glove side of a goaltender's blocker in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a further perspective view of the blocker of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a side view of the blocker of FIG. 1 with the glove in a neutral position.
FIG. 4 is a side view of the blocker of FIG. 1 with the glove displaced toward the bottom of the blocker pad.
FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of a blocker pad adapted to receive removable and interchangeable face covers, in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
As shown in the Figures, the blocker 10 of the invention comprises a substantially rigid blocking pad 20 having an upper end 20U and a lower end 20L, and a glove 30 having an upper (or wrist) end 30U and a lower (or fingers) end 30L. Blocking pad 20 has an outer face 22 for stopping and deflecting hockey pucks, and an inner face 24. Blocking pad 20 can be of any convenient shape and configuration, but outer face 22 will preferably have a generally rectangular face as in the illustrated embodiments. Blocking pad 20 may be wrapped in a outer shell made of leather, synthetic leather, or other suitable synthetic or natural covering materials. Blocking pad 20 may be generally planar, but in preferred embodiments has a lower section 26 and a contiguous upper section 28 that is angled outward relative to lower section 26 such that a hockey puck striking upper section 28 will tend to be deflected at a downward angle. Glove 30 has an inner side 32 corresponding 16 the palm of a goaltender's stick hand* and an outer side 34 corresponding to the back of the goaltender's stick hand. Glove 30 will preferably be a padded glove of the general type commonly used by hockey goaltenders, and adapted as appropriate in accordance with the present invention. It will be appreciated, however, that the present invention does not require either blocking pad 20 or glove 30 to be of any particular style or construction.
In accordance with the invention, blocking pad 20 is resiliently mounted to glove 30 with inner face 24 of blocking pad 20 disposed adjacent to outer side 34 of glove 30, such that glove 30 can move upward or downward relative to blocking pad 20 over a travel range defined by the particular construction of the resilient mounting components. Blocker 10 assembly incorporates biasing means whereby glove 30 is biased toward a neutral or unstressed position in which lower end 30L of glove 30 is set back from (i.e., above) lower end 20L of blocking pad 20 by a distance equal or approximately equal to the aforementioned travel range. Accordingly, when a force is applied upward against lower end 20L of blocking pad 20--such as by a goaltender pressing blocking pad 20 down against the playing surface to execute the paddle-down manoeuvre--glove 30 will move downward relative to blocking pad 20. However, when the force on lower end 20L of blocking pad 20 is relieved, the biasing means will return glove 30 to the neutral position.
The Figures illustrate a preferred method for resiliently mounting blocking pad 20 to glove 30 in accordance with the foregoing functional description. As perhaps best seen in FIGS. 3 and 4, blocking pad 20 is mounted to glove 30 by using a pair of substantially rigid mounting plates 40 and 42. Mounting plate 40 has an inner side edge 40A and an opposing outer side edge 40B; similarly, mounting plate 42 has an inner side edge 42A and an opposing outer side edge 42B.
Mounting plate 40 is disposed transversely between blocking pad 20 and glove 30 with inner side edge 40A hingeingly connected to outer side 34 of glove 30 at a point proximal to upper end 30U of glove 30, and with outer side edge 40B hingeingly connected to inner face 24 of blocking pad 20.
Mounting plate 42 is disposed transversely between blocking pad 20 and glove 30 with outer side edge 42B hingeingly connected to outer side 34 of glove 30 at a selected distance below inner edge 40A of mounting plate 40, and with outer side edge 42B hingeingly connected to inner face 24 of blocking pad 20.
Mounting plates 40 and 42 are preferably rectangular, but in alternative embodiments could be of trapezoidal or other shapes. The widths of mounting plates 40 and 42 (i.e., the distances between their respective side edges) may be equal or unequal.
In preferred embodiments, a rigid or semi-rigid glove mounting plate 44 is provided in association with outer side 34 of glove 30 to facilitate connection of mounting plates 40 and 42 to glove 30. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, inner side edges 40A and 42A of mounting plates 40 and 42 (respectively) may be hingeingly connected to the ends of glove mounting plate 44 (or to selected intermediate points between the ends of glove mounting plate 44).
Mounting plates 40, 42, and 44 may be made of a rigid or semi-rigid plastic or other suitable and sufficiently rigid material. In preferred embodiments of the invention, mounting plates 40, 42, and 44 are each disposed within a fabric envelope or sleeve, such that the mounting plates' various hinge connections can be sewn or stitched joints.
In preferred embodiments, the biasing means is provided in the form of an elongate elastic element 50 (such as an elasticized fabric strap or a rubber band) having an upper end 50U anchored to a selected point on inner face 24 of blocking pad 20, and a lower end 50L anchored to a selected point on glove 30 or, in preferred embodiments, on glove mounting plate 44. Alternatively, lower end 50L of elastic element 50 may be anchored to mounting plate 42 at a point near inner side edge 42A of mounting plate 42. As may be seen in FIG. 3, elastic element 50 has a nominal length LO when in its unstressed state; i.e., when there are no forces acting on either blocking pad 20 or glove 30 tending to cause differential movement between them. However, when a goaltender presses blocking pad 20 against playing surface, at the same time causing downward displacement of glove 30 relative to blocking pad 20, as shown in FIG. 4, elastic element 50 will be stretched to a stressed length LS. When the goaltender raises blocker 10 above playing surface 60, thus relieving the tension in elastic element 50, elastic element 50 will rebound to its unstressed state, thereby returning glove 30 to its normal position relative to blocking pad 20 (i.e., as shown in FIG. 3).
In one preferred embodiment, elastic element 50 is secured with easily detachable fasteners such as hook-and-loop fasteners, mechanical snap-type fasteners, or other suitable fastening means whereby the length of elastic element 50 and the tensile stress therein can be readily adjusted to suit users' preferences.
The specific construction described above provides only one example of biasing means suitable for use with the present invention. Persons skilled in the art will readily appreciate that other suitable biasing means may be devised without departing from the principles of the invention. In other words, the invention is not dependent upon the biasing means taking any particular form, or upon the resilient connection between blocking pad 20 and glove 30 taking any particular form. What is important is that blocking pad 20 and glove 30 are connected such that glove 30 can be downwardly displaced relative to blocking pad 20, and that glove 30 will return automatically to its original position relative to blocking pad 20 upon removal of forces causing displacement of glove 30.
In alternative embodiments, the completed blocker assembly may incorporate one or more protective plates made from rigid plastic or other rigid materials, covered in synthetic leather-like materials or other synthetic or natural materials, and positioned to provide enhanced protection for the goaltender's stick hand. As shown FIGS. 1 and 2, these protective plates could lake the form of thumb protector 35, finger protector 36, palm protector 37, wrist protector 38, and/or forearm protector 39.
As illustrated in FIG. 5, the construction of blocking pad 20 may optionally be adapted to receive replaceable or interchangeable face panels. It is increasingly desired by hockey goaltenders to apply graphical designs to their goaltending equipment, such as to identify their teams or even to distract or disconcert opposing players. Goaltenders may change teams from time to lime, or their preferences may change with respect to the graphical designs on their equipment. Accordingly, if a goaltender has permanent designs on his or her equipment, they may need to purchase new equipment if their teams or tastes change.
This problem is solved in the case of a blocking pad 20 by providing attachment means (e.g., hook-and-loop fasteners or mechanical snaps) on the side edges 21 of blocking pad 20, and providing a removable face panel 70 with side tabs 72 fitted with attachment means for attachment to side edges 21 of blocking pad 20. This construction allows for quick and simple replacement of blocking pad face panels with different graphical designs, without needing to replace the basic blocking pad. The same principle can of course be applied to other types of goaltending equipment, particularly leg pads.
In this patent document, the adjectives "upper", "lower", "inner", and "outer" are used in reference to certain components of the present invention. These terms are used in a relative rather than any absolute sense, solely for purposes of clearly explaining and distinguishing different features of the invention.
It will be readily appreciated by those skilled in the art that various modifications of the present invention may be devised without departing from the essential concept of the invention, and all such modifications are intended to come within the scope of the present invention and the claims appended hereto. It is to be especially understood that the invention is not intended to be limited to illustrated embodiments, and that the substitution of a variant of a claimed element or feature, without any substantial resultant change in the working of the invention, will not constitute a departure from the scope of the invention.
In this patent document, the word "comprising" is used in its non-limiting sense to mean that items following that word are included, but items not specifically mentioned are not excluded. A reference to an element by the indefinite article "a" does not exclude the possibility that more than one of the element is present, unless the context clearly requires that there be one and only one such element.
Patent applications in class Sports glove
Patent applications in all subclasses Sports glove