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Camouflaged Goalie Deceiving Shooters

Trevor Leahy is looking for every advantage in the net, including designing his own camouflaged equipment.  Photo by Christopher Muise

Trevor Leahy is looking for every advantage in the net, including designing his own camouflaged equipment. Photo by Christopher Muise

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:

keith-olbermann-show-camouflage-goalie

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.

White gear is a great way to blend in but the mesh camouflage does a great job of 'hiding' the blocker in this photo by Lisa Poole of the Boston Globe.

White gear is a good start for blending in but the mesh camouflage does a great job of 'hiding' the blocker in this photo by Lisa Poole of the Boston Globe.

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!

Trevor Leahy shows off his patent-pending design.  Notice the raised effect of the mesh pattern giving it a more realistic look.

Trevor Leahy shows off his patent-pending design. Notice the raised effect of the mesh pattern giving it a more realistic look.

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!

5 Comments

  1. Posted January 29, 2009 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Great work getting that interview. The story has turned up in dozens of places, but you have definitely done the best job!

  2. cody
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    What a dumb idea. AND a patent?! Jeez…

  3. Wayne Gretzky
    Posted April 4, 2010 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    I guess if you can’t rely on your skill, you have to have a gimmick. Now all other players should paint pictures of a puck on their stick blades and skates. Let this kid try to find the puck in that mess.

    What ever happened to playing the “game” instead of “playing” the game?

  4. Posted April 19, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I respectfully disagree. In my mind this isn’t much different than the movement to all-white gear by NHL goalies today… it’s all for the same reason: to blend into the net when the shooter takes a quick look. Yes, the mesh effect goes a step further but goalies have always been innovative in finding new ways to get the upper hand on shooters.

  5. Posted May 26, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on this blog loading?

    I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or
    if it’s the blog. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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