I find myself searching for hours on end looking for old hockey equipment that I loved. It’s usually a waste of time, but from time to time I find a dandy. This week I wanted to throw it back to a true innovator in hockey. A company so innovative they had to name their company Innovative Hockey Inc. (IHI)
Founded in 1993, IHI was the first composite hockey stick manufacturer in North America. They designed one of the greatest hockey shafts to ever hit the game of hockey. The Pro PF 1100 shaft. It was used by some great names in the NHL: Sergei Federov, Joel Otto, Alexei Kovalev to name a few. They are now memorabilia, pulling in big bucks for game used sticks.
Mostly, I remember wanting the Kovalev electric blue 1100 Innovative shaft. He used it with a swaggy Christian Hockey blade while playing for the NY Rangers. That was the greatest part. Your blade from the aluminum shaft could just be heated up (hopefully not catch on fire) and switched with simple glue. You could take your favorite blade and pattern, switch shafts and now have a lighter and more flexible stick. The shaft was truly Innovative. The first ever “Dual-Kick” and “Dual-Fit” composite hockey stick shaft. You could use a tapered blade at one end or a standard at the other. It had a 12” flex point at either end to make the stick more flexible or flipped over for more durability.
What made Innovative great was that they had the most consistent blend of carbon fiber and graphite on the market, at the time. “Polar Fibre Graphite” was the term placed on most shafts to describe this carbon fiber blend with graphite. This made Innovative extremely light compared to its metal shaft counterparts.
Many companies had composite shaft prototypes out there at this time: Koho, Louisville, Easton, and Fontaine, to name a few. So many NHL players in 1993-95 used unmarked prototype composite shafts. Look back at the hockey cards!
The issue with prototypes was that some had too much graphite or carbon fiber and incorrect weave patterns, which made buying them at retail a nightmare. They also had major issues with wearing down quickly and tourqing. Despite all this, Innovative was a trusted and reliable composite shaft, a true leader in design. They pushed the envelope and developed our game into the beauty that it is today.
Warrior Hockey bought Innovative Hockey Inc. in 2005. Warrior gained a huge advantage in the hockey market with more patents and newer technology. Today, Warrior continues to be a leader in composite hockey stick production, protective gear and probably sports the coolest name in hockey. From the original Dolomite line of shafts and one pieces, to the Widow line and currently the Dynasty and Covert lines of sticks. These were all made possible because of IHI.
So until next week’s “This Old Hockey Bag”, be sure to check out the newest composite stick from Warrior Hockey, the Dynasty HD1.
The next generation of Innovative lives on. Go grab one today!!