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Funny article about Nike hockey jerseys


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http://www.straight.com/content.cfm?id=12331

Superhero duds won?t bring Canada the gold

By jeff paterson

Publish Date: 25-Aug-2005

Forget all the hard work and energy that was spent at the two high-level Hockey Canada camps held in this province over the past couple of weeks. Apparently, all of the effort of our juniors and NHLers will have no bearing on how Canada makes out at the upcoming World Junior Championship or next year?s Olympics.

When it comes to defending our gold-medal titles, we?re now discovering it?s not so much about the guys wearing the uniforms as it is about the uniforms themselves. Yes, the truth has been revealed: we?re now being told that Hockey Canada?s fabric selection is what will ultimately put our teams over the top.

No kidding.

At least that?s what the manufacturers will have you believe.

Last week in Kelowna, where 37 Olympic hopefuls spent a little time on the ice and much more time on the golf course, the secret of Canada?s international success was unveiled. And, amazingly, for information so important, somehow it flew under the radar.

According to a joint Nike?Hockey Canada news release: ?A culmination of more than two years of research, testing and feedback from some of the world?s greatest hockey players and federations, the Swift Hockey Jersey and Sock reduces overall uniform weight, adds increased mobility and comfort while making the jersey aerodynamically the most advanced in the world.?

There it is. At the next big international competitions, our guys will be decked out in hockey?s version of a Superman suit, save for the cape and boots.

The uniforms were designed by a group of Nike employees who like to be referred to as the company?s Advanced Innovation Team. These same people are trying to take some of the credit for Lance Armstrong?s seventh straight Tour de France victory because they designed the outfit he wore as he pounded the pedals overseas.

Well, if the outfits are good enough for the world?s greatest cyclist?and arguably its best athlete?then they have to be good enough for our hockey players. If you don?t think these Nike guys know what they?re doing, just ask them.

?Utilizing state of the art fabrics, materials and technology, including comprehensive wind tunnel testing never before conducted for the hockey uniform, Nike has reduced the overall weight of the hockey uniform by 43 percent,? boasted the company release. ?The jersey alone was reduced by nearly 500 grams, saving more than 150 kilograms in lifted weight per game for the typical forward.?

Oh, but that?s not all. In fact, the more you read about these amazing outfits the more you realize there is simply no way Canada can lose: ?The rigorous wind-tunnel testing has shown that the Nike Swift Jersey?with its advanced design, hockey-specific articulation and fit, reduced weight, and innovative materials?provides as much as a 50cm advantage over a 50m sprint, delivering a 15.1 percent reduction in aerodynamic drag compared to standard hockey jerseys.

?The Swift Hockey Jersey and Sock help increase player efficiency by paying particular attention to thermoregulation. Strategic mesh venting is located at gaps in the under protection, allowing air to flow directly to the body, increasing evaporative cooling and comfort.

?For mobility, the jerseys? streamlined fit helps defeat a defender?s jersey-grabbing grip and allows greater freedom of movement. The position-specific goalie jersey incorporates more durable fabrics across the entire face of the jersey, and is cut larger to accommodate goalie pads. The Swift Jersey also features a waist Lockdown Gasket System that helps keep the jersey conveniently and efficiently in place.?

Now, that last feature would surely have caused some problems for Olympic team executive director Wayne Gretzky, what with his penchant for tucking just one side of his jersey in while leaving the other flapping in the breeze. Thank heavens these Nike fellows didn?t come up with the ?LGS? while Gretzky was still playing. To think the course of hockey history could have been changed in a sports laboratory somewhere. Then again, maybe a Lockdown Gasket System would have made the Great One even greater.

The bottom line, after cutting through the company crap, is that it sure sounds like Hockey Canada is suiting its guys up in spandex and sending them off into battle. Is it at all possible that these uniforms will make the difference once the puck has been dropped? It?s highly unlikely. And it?s not as if our guys need the boost.

It seems like Hockey Canada made out just fine at last year?s World Junior Championship, and before that at the World Cup of Hockey and the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, wearing those cumbersome costumes that weighed the equivalent of a loaf of bread more than these new ones.

Advances in technology are great, and if this is the cutting edge of hockey?s haute couture, then so be it. But it?s a stretch to think that what a team wears is going to have any bearing on how it plays.

Jarome Iginla doesn?t look more intimidating to opponents simply because his jersey is formfitting. Chris Pronger isn?t a tougher defenceman to get around because his socks breathe more than the old ones. And Martin Brodeur isn?t a better goalie just because he?s stylin? in polymicrofibres.

Canadians are back on top of the hockey world because we produce the best players in the world and because our pride took a pounding in the late ?90s when we got knocked off our pedestal. Hockey Canada didn?t like having to watch other countries skate all over our elite teams.

Now that we?re back on top, it?s going to be hard work and talent?not fashion and fabrics?that keep our teams there.

Besides, what happens when those guys from the Nike Advanced Innovation Team start designing uniforms for every other hockey-playing nation? What then? What if Belarus or Kazakhstan get those Nike knobs on their side?

Then it will probably come down to the same things it always has: guts, grit, and determination. And no matter how snug their uniforms, Canadian hockey players will always be able to squeeze lots of heart into even the tightest of jerseys.

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