• The Effect of Blade Alignment on Kinetic and Kinematic Characteristics During the Execution of Goaltender-Specific Movement Patterns

      Dunne, Colin; Applied Health Sciences Program
      The goaltender skate traditionally consists of the boot, cowling, and blade runner. The cowling protects the foot and positions the blade on the boot. Innovations in boot design and material properties have deemed the cowling redundant, presenting the opportunity to manipulate skate blade alignment and potentially reveal a performance advantage. The purpose of the study was to investigate the effect of blade alignment on select kinetic and kinematic variables during the execution of two goaltender-specific movement patterns; Butterfly Drop to Recovery, Lateral Butterfly Slide to Recovery. A male goaltender (n = 1) with professional hockey experience completed an A-B-A, quasi-experimental design across three days investigating four blade alignment conditions. Blade alignment conditions were defined by the blade holder type and positioning on the boot [alignment neutral cowling (ANC), alignment neutral (AN), alignment lateral (AL), and alignment medial (AM)]. Five trials were executed per blade alignment condition for both movements (n=30 trials per day, n=90 trials overall). All trials were executed in a controlled laboratory environment on synthetic ice (xHockeyProductsTM). Kinetic measures included; in-skate peak plantar pressure [PPP(psi)], time to peak plantar pressure [TPP(s)] collected with in-skate LogRTM insoles (Orpyx® Medical Technologies Inc.). Kinematic measures included; butterfly drop velocity [BDV(m/s)], left leg recovery velocity [LLRV(m/s)], right leg recovery velocity [RLRV(m/s)], lateral butterfly slide velocity [LBSV(m/s)], butterfly width [BW(m)] collected with 3D motion capture (ViconTM). Results revealed no significant differences in nineteen of twenty kinetic and kinematic analyses between the two neutral alignment conditions (ANC, AN) defined by different holder types. True Hockey blade holders were retrofit with slots to facilitate the blade alignments. Results revealed significantly higher Butterfly Drop PPP on the AM compared to AN, and higher Left and Right Leg Recovery PPP on AM compared to AL and AN during the Butterfly Drop to Recovery. Results also revealed significantly higher BDV on AM compared to AL and AN during the Butterfly Drop to Recovery, and higher BDV on AM compared to AN during the Lateral Butterfly Slide to Recovery. Study outcomes provide insight into the contribution of manipulating blade alignment to positively impact the execution of goaltender-specific movement patterns.