Skating, stride length, and the power to accelerate & decelerate quickly have always been some of the most important factors in high level hockey. They have become even more important with the new NHL rules. The game is now faster and more tiring. As such, a skate must allow for maximum acceleration, velocity, and maneuverability, while using the least amount of athletic energy output to do so.
Those hockey players who lack adequate athletic development, or who are too heavy and/or tall often require additional support to remain stable on their skates. However, this results in a limiting of that skater’s potential for stride length and power output.
An incorrect skating position not only prevents the athlete from achieving speed and stride length, it also leads to over-development of the wrong muscle groups, which leads to inefficient energy use, and greater potential for muscle spasm and/or injury.
For this reason, any athlete who is forced to skate in a higher position will not get the full benefit of his glutes/hip flexors & quads/hamstrings and will be limited to a short stride, causing a shortening and tightening of muscle groups in the hip, groin, thigh and calf.
Paragon’s patented skate designs solve these problems. Here’s a short history of those skates’ ongoing development:
Back in 2003, NHL veteran Gary Roberts’ Graf skates had been too stiff and high and were preventing him from skating properly, so during the 2003 off-season Gary had trained in low cut Mission skates in an attempt to get to a lower more powerful skating position. However those skates left his legs too unstable, leading to excessive energy use and constant fatigue. By the end of October he decided to switch out of his Missions and back to Graf, having scored practically no points until then. To solve his skate problems, Gary recruited Paragon to come to Toronto to analyze his problem and then work with Graf to design his new skates.
Bock met with Graf’s team and they worked closely together to work out a design that would hopefully solve the problem.
Within two weeks Gary was skating in the Paragon/Graf 749 V-Notch. This model allowed him to achieve full dorsi-flexion with proper ankle support, allowing him to use his leg muscles properly and efficiently. His speed, endurance and agility improved dramatically. Not only did this allow him to quickly turn his season around, he was also named to the 2003-2004 All-Star Team for the first time in 11 years.
Ultimately Gary decided to leave Graf again during the following summer, as Graf was not able to consistently mount his skate blades properly from one pair to another, affecting his skating and causing him to make constant adjustments.
A year later, during the lockout he was skating in the custom-built Paragon 749 Flex, a design incorporating Paragon’s patented flexible boot design that provide both a longer boot life and stable flex characteristics over the full life of the boot.
During the 2004-2005 NHL lockout Gary Roberts was skating in the Paragon’s custom-built Paragon 749 Flex, a design incorporating the patent-pending flex panels that provide both a longer boot life and stable flex characteristics over the full life of the boot.
Bock had initially brought these hand-built skates to Toronto to observe Gary’s skating and to compare it with his skating in the 749 V-Notch. Gary adapted to the new custom-built skate immediately. With no prior break-in, he was able to effortlessly skate low and powerfully with the full support required for excellent balance and agility, necessary for the continuous stop and start skating he required to play at a high level. This skate performed beautifully in several months of testing and scrimmage play during the NHL Lockout that winter.
However Gary was not interested in returning to Graf, so Paragon then began work to develop this patented skate product with Reebok based on this model. However Reebok insisted on trying to build the initial prototypes without Paragon input and had difficulty effectively copying Paragon’s hand-built prototype, frustrating Roberts and ultimately causing him to leave Reebok in 2007 for Bauer.