Trevor Leahy looks and sounds like a pretty unassuming high school kid, and as of last week you’d probably never heard of him. Even now you might not recognize his name or face but you’ve probably read about him in the news this week… he’s the high school kid who designed goalie gloves and pads to look just like the net he’s guarding. It seems like such a simple idea that you can’t help but ask yourself “why didn’t someone think of that before?”. Others have thought about how the color of goalie equipment affects where the shooter looks but nobody thought of pure camouflage before this teenager started thinking about what his new pads should look like. Trevor took some time to talk with TendersLounge after his practice this afternoon.
TendersLounge: It’s been quite a week for you!
Trevor Leahy: Yeah, it’s been pretty crazy. It just kind of blew up and took me by surprise!
TL: What’s the response been like to all this coverage?
Trevor: My friends think it’s pretty cool. Some of the people making comments on the newspaper sites haven’t been as nice but that’s ok, nothing I can do about them.
Some of the negative comments to which Trevor referred tried to make the argument that others had thought of this before (Not true. Others have thought of matching the white color of the net but nobody, as far as I know, had suggested camouflage), or that it wasn’t original or would be banned by the NHL. Amazing to see how negative people can be behind the annonymity of the web. Press coverage of Trevor’s design idea was first covered by the Boston Globe and then picked up by the Toronto Star and even made it to a shout out as one of the “World’s Best Persons” on Keith Olbermann’s MSNBC show:
TL: Can you elaborate a bit on the genesis behind this idea?
Trevor: Our league was moving to the new pro specs for goalie equipment so I had to get new pads. I started thinking about a new design and new colors and from there started thinking about what the shooter sees when he shoots on net so why not make it look like the net. I took a graphic design class a couple years ago so I just started to map out my idea on the computer. I researched it on Google to see if anyone else had done something like it and when I didn’t see anything I applied for a patent.
TL: So you have a patent for it now?
Trevor: It’s pending.
TL: Does this give you thoughts of designing goalie equipment for a living?
Trevor: I’d love to! Right now I’m applying to some Sports Marketing programs at schools around New England. But it would be cool if an NHL goalie used this design one day!
TL: What’s the future for your design?
Trevor: I designed a website, www.goalieflage.com, to share my idea and let people know how they can get in touch with me if they’d like the design.
Some people feel colors or camouflage don’t really make a difference in how the shooter makes up his mind when/where to shoot. Click here for an interview with Pete Smith who designed the Velocity line of pads for Vaughan and now has his own line of equipment (his opinion on Leahy’s design comes around the 18min mark). I took part in a color recognition test years ago while I was playing junior hockey and the results of that study (sorry, no links available but it was done by Shane Parker, former coach of OHL’s North Bay Centennials) showed a noticeable difference in which colors were processed in a split second. The idea of camouflaged equipment was actually brought up at a Goalies Union meeting arranged by the NHL last summer and they discussed banning white equipment if it gave goalies an unfair advantage. Maybe that means the NHL actually would ban camouflaged gear by any player and Trevor Leahy’s patent will never reap rich rewards for him, but in the meantime he deserves big kudos for his ingenuity!