The Hockey News
BLADES OF WHEELS
Swedish NHLers are lining up to invest in a revolutionary skating technology on and off the ice
PER MARS WAS GRABBING A beer with a fellow hockey player in Sweden when the subject of off-ice conditioning came up. They talked about how they’d spend hours and hours in the summer sculpting their bodies for the upcoming season by running and biking, yet when it came time to take the ice for training camp, it still seemed as if they’d spent the off-season lounging on the couch. “At the start of hockey season it felt like we hadn’t worked out at all during the summer,” said Mars, a 2001 draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets who played pro in Sweden. “I came to the conclusion that the problem is that running and biking is just too far away from ice skating and doesn’t train the right muscles.”
That moment was the genesis for the idea that led to the Marsblade, a new inline skating system that closely replicates the stride used at the rink. “It feels like you are skating on the ice,” said Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg, one of 13 current NHL players among 18 pros who have invested just more than $7 million Swedish Crowns (approximately $1 million U.S.) in the Marsblade. “When you rollerblade, you don’t get the same technique as you do on the ice. With this one, it definitely gets you closer. It will be a big difference.”
THAT ICY FEELING
The length of stride and freedom of movement helps Marsblade feel more like ice skating.
The science of the Marsblade, called Flow Motion Technology, has been designed to enable a natural and soft movement pattern, which improves the performance and comfort of ice skating and inline skating. “Traditional inlines were not an option for me since the feel of skating on them was not at all like ice skating,” Mars said. “I felt that it ruined my skating technique rather than it helped me. I then came up with the idea to place the rounded shape of the hockey blade between the shoe and the wheels to simulate the imbalance and movement that is created with the hockey blade.”
As the weight shifts in the skate, the upper part rolls over the lower surface, following the skater’s movement pattern, which both lengthens the stride and increases freedom of movement. It’s the combination of these two key characteristics that enables faster turns and higher speeds.
Marsblade’s inline skates are already on the market, and an ice-skate prototype is currently being tested. Several NHL players, including Henrik and Daniel Sedin twins and Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall, already utilize the Marsblade as part of their off-season training regimen. “It makes sense,” said Kronwall, another investor. “It’s a very interesting product.”
traditional rollerblades were not at all like ice skating
– Per Mars