Players Participate in Skate Design Research

In a collaboration with skate manufacturer CCM, PhD candidate Sydney Kriner is spearheading a research study aimed at revolutionizing ice hockey skate design and enhancing players’ performance on the ice.

For this research, approximately 15 to 20 freshman or sophomore players on the Men’s Division I & II teams were recruited. These players will be asked to participate in three trials of a skating protocol consisting of tasks mimicking those performed in-game twice, once in Fall 2024 and once in Fall 2025.

The study seeks to delve deep into the intricate relationship between skate design, players’ biomechanics, and, ultimately, players’ performance. By understanding these variables, researchers aim to unveil insights that could potentially reshape the landscape of ice hockey equipment.

Recruitment began in Winter 2024, as players from the University of Delaware Ice Hockey team signed up to participate in this pioneering research endeavor. CCM gathered skate sizes in preparation for the study. In Spring 2024, CCM will provide traditional, unmodified skates which were then instrumented with state-of-the-art data collection equipment by the research team. Testing of the instrumentation will take place over the summer to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Fall 2024 will see players hitting the ice wearing the instrumented skates for the first time, engaging in a series of skating protocols meticulously designed to capture range of motion during skating maneuvers. For the first protocol, skaters will wear traditional ice hockey skates provided by CCM instrumented with data collection equipment.

With insights gleaned from the initial data collection, the research team will collaborate with CCM to design modified skate prototypes, pushing the boundaries of traditional skate design. The modified skate prototypes will be received from CCM and undergo instrumentation, readying them for the next phase of testing. For the second protocol in Fall 2025, skaters will wear a prototype skate that will again be instrumented with the data collection equipment.

Upon completion, skaters will be surveyed on their perceived performance while wearing each skate type. This feedback will provide valuable insights into the subjective experiences of the players, complementing the objective data collected during the trials.

During each data collection session, players report to the University of Delaware Fred Rust or Gold Arena dressed in their personal hockey equipment. They will be provided with skates from CCM equipped with sensors to measure ankle range-of-motion and force/strain produced during skating protocol encompassing a variety of maneuvers including change-of-direction, crossovers, puck manipulation, shooting, starts, and stops. Video recordings will capture each trial, ensuring comprehensive analysis.

This ambitious research endeavor stands poised to unlock invaluable insights into the intricate dynamics of ice hockey skate design and its impact on players’ performance.