Researchers have models on far better women’s hockey protecting equipment

The website for Bauer, just one of the greatest names in ice hockey gear and clothing, lists 26 options for shoulder pads, which supply shoulder and higher torso protection for players in what can be a pretty fast and hazardous activity.

Of those 26 models for youth and adults, precisely a person is made especially for women. The other big player in hockey equipment, CCM, also has just 1 women’s product advertised on its internet site.

“It is surprising that the males have so several possibilities and the girl have just one,” mentioned Tulasi Elangovan, M.A. ’23, a previous member of the Overall performance Apparel Design Lab, directed by Heeju Park, affiliate professor of clothing style in the Faculty of Human Ecology (CHE).

Although not a hockey human being, Elangovan determined to make this difficulty hers, also. Part of her commitment: the point that, in accordance to United states of america Hockey, the raise in feminine registrants in 2017-18 outpaced their male counterparts by much more than 7 to 1.

“That’s just these kinds of an inequality in the market place,” Elangovan said, “especially when women’s ice hockey is in fact escalating at a a great deal quicker price than men’s.”

Previous 12 months, although pursuing her master’s in attire design and style, Elangovan dedicated a lot of months to exploring and designing a prototype for a shoulder pad designed especially for ladies. That structure, informed by contributions from the nationally rated Cornell women’s hockey workforce, is currently being thought of for possible patent security by Cornell Know-how Licensing (CTL), with whom Park has labored carefully for various months.

Immediately after Elangovan graduated, one more member of Park’s lab, master’s pupil Huieun Do, joined the undertaking Do is concentrating on bettering style and design and purpose of decrease-entire body (thigh to ankle) protective equipment.

In accordance to Ryan Luebke, associate director of  business improvement and licensing at CTL, Elangovan and Park have a excellent probability of acquiring layout patent safety, for which they’ll be applying in the coming months.

Addressing a dilemma

Elangovan’s involvement in a activity about which she realized incredibly tiny commenced right after Doug Derraugh ’91, the Everett Family Head Mentor of Women’s Ice Hockey, read a Cornell Chronicle tale about wearable sensors that could be utilised to evaluate movement, respiration and tiredness in athletes, with the intention of minimizing accidents and enhancing education and functionality.

I thought, male, that would be exciting for a mentor, if you had materials in an athlete’s apparel that could really measure important figures and matters,” said Derraugh, a former higher-scoring forward for the Cornell men’s hockey staff who played professionally in Europe for 13 a long time just before returning to his alma mater in 2005.

The Cornell Massive Purple women’s ice hockey team competes towards Union in January at Lynah Rink.

Derraugh paid out a go to to Park to inquire about wearable sensors, and Park explained to him about Elangovan and her operate.

“We started off talking about how wearable engineering could become section of a coaching outfit or a formal ice hockey uniform,” Park explained. “And then he talked about a ton of problems – his players are struggling from injuries, as well worry and panic simply because it’s a quite tricky match, it is a get hold of sport, and the equipment, the skate blade, it can all be pretty harmful at some level.”

Elangovan mentioned that when she looked into women’s hockey tools extra carefully, “I realized that this is an spot that I could explore and that essential exploration, and some form of exploration and enhancement.”

For feminine athletes in speak to sporting activities, a especially susceptible space is the breasts, which are remarkably prone to injury thanks to their site and the absence of musculoskeletal security.

Elangovan began by interviewing practically a dozen members of the Large Pink women’s team, whom she observed supportive, enthusiastic and helpful.

“It just produced it simpler to technique the venture,” she claimed of the team’s willingness. “I preferred to make guaranteed that I went in with zero assumptions, that almost nothing was a provided, and that if there was a thing from the suggestions that they gave me that was surprising, that would come to be a vital section of the study by itself.”

“Being that we commonly put on tools built for adult men, it is not as slim-fitting for females or accommodating for the diverse overall body forms,” explained the 5-foot-11 Rory Guilday ’25, who won gold with Workforce United states at the 2023 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s Environment Championships, in April in Brampton, Ontario.

“Sometimes, if you want extra protection, you’ll go for a more substantial size,” stated Guilday, one particular of the team’s a few captains. “But then it does not fit somewhere else.”

“I would say the greatest trouble is that protective equipment just has hardly ever been manufactured considering the variation in anatomy, which is kind of insane thinking of there’s a pretty large variance,” stated 5-foot-3 Ashley Messier ’25, who also performs defense and is a crew captain. “We just by no means truly realized any superior. We just wore the machines, not truly acknowledging that it could be a large amount far more productive and relaxed and protecting.”

Entire-body 3D scans

Right after conducting player interviews, Elangovan invited team customers to the Digital Manner & Overall body Scan Exploration Lab, operate by Fatma Baytar, assistant professor of human centered style (CHE). The lab has a entire-system scanner that utilizes eight cameras and four eye-harmless lasers to seize about 300,000 info details for every scan.

According to Park, the scans pointed to a essential difference related to the healthy of shoulder pads for males and females.

3D system scan pictures highlight key parts on a player’s human body, to study the match and form of protective equipment. Pictures of quite a few Cornell women’s hockey players had been taken at the Electronic Vogue & Entire body Scan Investigation Lab, operate by Fatma Baytar, assistant professor of human centered style and design.

“We understood that in people of the identical body height, the feminine torso is shorter than the male torso,” he mentioned. “It’s a statistically major difference that performs a crucial role in enhancing safety, mobility and convenience for feminine players.”

Elangovan did a lot of scans for every single of the taking part players, and all those photographs served her arrive up with a women’s shoulder pad design and style that she thinks will provide a better in shape for the contours of the woman body, along with better protection.

A excellent in shape is not only protecting, Elangovan claimed, but it will help gamers focus on the ice.

“You want to make confident that the gear that you have presented the players can safeguard them from all types of effects,” she explained. “That’s the only way that these players can actually conduct at their most capability in any other case, they are going to be fearful about slippage of gear, or a thing obtaining caught in another player’s stick, or the puck acquiring someplace it shouldn’t. All of these are factors that are heading to detract from the players’ efficiency and self esteem.”

The Significant Purple gamers praised Elangovan’s function and determination.

“She was fantastic,” explained forward Abby Ruggiero ’24. “It was cool to see someone in her subject glance at athletics in a diverse light, and truly go to do the job on it. I sense like we converse about (gear) but no one particular at any time does just about anything about it, and she did.

“Now I’m rethinking my machines,” she reported, “and how it really should in good shape me. It was cool to have her walk in and sort of glance at it from a distinctive standpoint.”

“She did a excellent occupation, primarily contemplating she did not have a history in hockey,” reported Messier, whose father and uncle played briefly in the NHL and whose next cousin is Hockey Corridor of Famer Mark Messier. “It didn’t truly seem to issue she was really diligent. She took our feed-back and what we experienced knowledgeable, and seriously used it pretty well.”

Derraugh, who has been on the Group Canada coaching staff at Wintertime Olympics and Entire world Championship tournaments, was content to be a part of the project.

“You’re always seeking for opportunities to give back again and support the female game, no matter if which is promoting it or helping it be improved from an machines standpoint,” he explained. “The match is obtaining speedier, and allowing for extra and far more make contact with. The devices must be far better, as very well.”