Apparel Winter Sports

Achieve your NHL and Olympic dreams on the cheap with the Sparx Skate Sharpener

The dream of being in professional sports shared by many but achieved by just a few.  The road to becoming a professional athlete is unquestionably challenging and can be rather expensive at times. Hockey in particular is a notoriously expensive sport for aspiring athletes to pick up. Nonetheless, when hockey players finally land that lucrative contract in the NHL or win an Olympic medal, all of the time spent training and the money spent on expensive equipment instantly becomes well worth it.

Sparx Skate Sharpener is a device which aims to cut down the typically high costs of hockey training by offering professionals and amateurs alike the ability to sharpen their skates at home and avoid the hassle of driving to a hockey store. The device’s automatic sharpener is touted as being extremely easy to use. Indeed, users need only to place their skate on the sharpener and push a button. Just two minutes later, their skates are sharp enough to be used on a professional level.

The product utilizes the same type of grinding technology that hockey shops use. Additionally, it comes with a replaceable grinding ring so that users can customize the sharpness of their skates to their exact needs. All moving parts on the device are housed internally, with sliding guards included as an added safety measure. That being said, internal parts may ultimately complicate repairs for do-it-yourselfers. Backers who love skating might also like to check out Glo-Blades.

This campaign seeks to raise $60,000 by April 18, 2015. Backers get one product for $549 with an expected delivery of October 2015.

Winter Sports

Glo-Blades put the glow in the glide

The Premise. On the sidewalk or especially on ice, skating can be a spectacle, with professionals donning elaborate costumes that draw attention to nearly every part of them except the usually land skates themselves. Well, imagine ice skating with a light show on your feet.

The Product. Glo-Blades are strings of high-power LED lights that attach to the bottom of ice skates or inline road skates. The lights provide a greater depth to ice skating because of the refraction of the light on the ice, and they are an added safety feature for road skaters. The skates attach to the blade using a chain and hooks (for the inlines), and then they are attached to the controller, which is a Velcro strap that attaches to the boot portion of the skate. The product developers plan to add wireless gloves that can control the lights and change the colors while skating, and to eventually connect the Glo-Blade to wireless devices so that the lights can be programmed and timed to music.

The Pitch. The Glo-Blades video won’t break any Olympic speed skating records as it shine on for eight minutes. It does feature a lot of information about the product, its development and the recognition its received. The video and text do seem to name-drop quite a bit, saying that professional skaters have loved the product. Its creators clearly have put a lot of passion, heart, and hard work into it and have have been thinking about its roadmap. However, the rest of the arrowtastic campaign page content seems like PowerPoint slides that weren’t worth repurposing.

The Perks. The product seems to be pretty pricey right now. Backers must contribute $75 for a set of the lights — a supposed 25% off target retail value. They are offering limited quantities of their first production run to their early bird backers, and one tier offers a ride in a non-underlit but nonetheless fun Zamboni.

The Potential. While this product could be fun to play around with, and will probably be pretty sophisticated later down the line, there may be a problem getting it into rinks and shows around the world. If the Glo-Blades come off, they could be a danger to skates, and many rink owners might ban them.

Official competitions want to see how well the skater can perform the move, not squint at light patches on the ice. And among recreational skaters, rinks are pretty well lit, which could reduce the impact of the glow. However, we could see Glo-Blades showing up on the skates of ice show performers, kids (an extension of the light-up sneaker craze) and skate rental shops.