TORY WEBER'SIDEA, like many of the best ones, came to him by accident. One day severalwinters ago the now 43-year-old inventor from Calgary placed his sneakers atopa heater; after lacing them up, he realized that the soles slipped as hewalked. Five years and $5 million worth of research later, Weber believes hestumbled upon technology that could change the NHL. His Therma Blade, whichgoes on sale (for $399) next month, is a skate with a battery-warmed bladeheated to around 39°. Weber says the melted ice that surrounds the bladereduces friction—increasing speed, decreasing required effort and lowering askater's heart rate. "That's why it's illegal to heat blades inspeedskating and bobsledding," says former Olympic speedskater andBlackhawks skating coach Dan Jansen. "I guess it's possible for hockey, butthe ice is pretty soft anyway."
Wayne Gretzkyendorses the Therma Blade, and Kris King, the NHL's director of hockeyoperations, called the idea "really interesting." In other words thereare no plans to let pros use the skate, but Weber is lobbying the NHL to testit.