As of Oct, 2010, there has been no change in Overdrive's status anywhere. The only league in the world to allow Overdrive is the CHA, which governs all of minor hockey in Canada. If you want a copy of the memo to show to referees or officials, click here and print it up.

If you're playing organized hockey outside of Canada, it is likely not allowed. Overdrive was outlawed by the NHL because it provided an unfair advantage for the goalies who were using it over those who were not. The IIHF, USA Hockey and others accepted this reasoning and outlawed it as well.





Overdrive improves goalie mobility, and some people feel that this justifies its being outlawed by the NHL.
There is no good reason for outlawing Overdrive.
Overdrive is simply another in a long line of grip enhancements for the hands and feet that enable athletic performance.
Goalie mobility is important to hockey.
Actually, goalie, forward, and defenseman mobility is important to hockey.
In fact, the mobility of athletes is important to any sport.

Poker, chess, and reading are not sports. Neither is walking down a street. Sport requires heightened mobility.
Playing the piano is physical, but not physical enough to be a sport,
even if it is Chopin
Cleaning is important
but it is not a sport

Sport is all about increased human mobility
- beyond the norm - to its maximum potential - Faster, Higher, Stronger (the Olympic motto).

The better an athlete moves, the more we like it, and when they achieve a new level of mobility they are celebrated as heroes.

Track and Field is definitely a sport.
Football is a sport that anyone can enjoy.
Does Mobility = Sport?
Rollerblades offer much more mobility than roller skates, especially on turns. As a result, Roller Hockey and roller blading are now huge - increased mobility expanded these sports. When people figure out a new way to move faster, it's likely to turn into a sport.


Sport is mobility, which is about your arms and primarily your legs moving. These movements depend upon the grip of your hands and feet: when a football player runs, itís his feet gripping the ground and his hands gripping the ball that allow the sport to be expressed. Sport is entirely dependant upon grip. Without it, you have no mobility beyond the norm, no Faster, Higher, Stronger.
Imagine speed skating, or figure skating, or skiing with dull edges- or mountain climbing without grip. There would be no sport.
Proper grip is essential, and wherever it can be improved, it has been - to the benefit of the athletes and the sport.



Baseball batters use batting gloves, and pine tar. Pitchers use rosin bags.(right)

Racquet sports (left)have all kinds of grips, which are then coated with adhesives.


No sport is more fanatical about grip than golf (right).

Weightlifters use chalk and weight bars are knurled, football players use Stick'em; all sports use grip enhancement for the hands.

While grip enhancement is crucial to sport, it is also very important in the early morning. Here's a look at my toothbrush and razor. Have a look around; grip enhancement is everywhere - it's a fact of life. When the hands meet a product, there is grip enhancment.


The history of grip enhancement for the feet is one of successive refinement. As footwear evolved, specialized soles were added to shoes, then cleats were added to the soles, then sport-specific and surface-specific cleats were developed. Further refinements continue every year.
Snow climbing shoes
Baseball cleats, old and new
For sure-footed walks along quiet beaches??


In 1925 Adi Dassler and his brother (the founders of Adidas) were making soccer shoes with nailed studs and track shoes with hand-forged spikes. Beginning with the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, Adi's uniquely designed shoes began to gain a worldwide reputation. Jesse Owens was wearing a pair of Dassler's track shoes when he won gold for the USA at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. By the time of his death in 1959, Dassler held over 700 patents related to sports shoes and other athletic equipment. In 1978, he was inducted into the American Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame as one of the founders of the modern sporting goods industry. (

It's hard to imagine what sports would be like if Adi's spiked shoes had been outlawed. To the left is Adidas latest soccer shoe, the Predator. Among many new features, it has replaceable magnesium studs and a unique grooved forefoot (green tab) for 20% more rotation on the ball. Some players wear it and consider it an advantage while others prefer not to.



Skates began as flat plates of metal attached to shoes, and to move, you needed a type of ski pole. In the 1500's, a Dutchman invented the skate blade: grip was greatly improved, out went the ski poles, and various sports were born. Boots have changed dramatically from that basic design, and so have blades; each evolving with their sport according to how athletes need to move, with different shapes, rockers, and sharpenings.
Figure skates
A thicker blade, curved at the front, straighter and longer at the back for stability. Picks at the toe enable a wide variety dance moves, spins, and jumps.
Speed skates
A very long, thin blade, with no rocker. Designed for long, powerful strides going forward only, with the skater moving right foot over left.
Hockey skates
A thinner blade with rocker at the front and back for powerful stopping, starting and turning in all directions.
Goalie skates
A flatter, thicker blade for stability, to withstand impact, and to help lateral sliding. Goalie movement is mostly lateral, against the grain of the blade sliding. Only goalies use the skate blades in this way.

All of these blade alterations have improved the athlete’s mobility and increased the appeal of their sport. Imagine what figure skating, the most popular of all the ice sports, would be like without toe picks. Almost all of the incredible leaps skaters perform depend upon this small change which provides added grip. Innovation never stops, and improvements to skate blade grip continue.

Speed skate blades: The long track Klap blade is hinged at the toe for a longer push and smoother stride. The short track skate has an adjustable offset blade to allow sharper turns.
Figure Skate blades now offer cross-cut, and other types of picks. Parabolic blades (thin in the middle, thick at the ends) Side-Honed blades (thick at the stanchions and edges, thinner in between) Tapered blades (thick at the toe, thinner at the tail) all offer better mobility.
Hockey skate blades haven't changed too much since the early 1900's (right). The T-Blade, with a slightly flexible blade for better control, is slowly gaining acceptance. Also, a parabolic type blade is being introduced. t-blade

Goalie skate blades have changed little from the one to the right from 1910. Of course, the boot that holds the blade has changed a lot, but these changes have actually reduced grip, creating the need for Overdrive.


Better protection became necessary, but the protective shell widened the boot. For other reasons, the boot was also lowered to sit closer to the ice.

One side efect of these changes was to cause more bootouts: when the foot rolls to the side, the inside toe area of the boot becomes a slipping point. When it hits the ice, it levers the blade off the ice, causing a slip.

While this reduced mobility wasn’t a big problem with the older style of play, it became one as shot speed increased. Goalies had to adopt the wider style to stop faster shots, and this accentuated the reduced mobility of goalie skates: the wider style leans the boot very close to the ice- forcing goalies to go down more often, making slips more likely on lateral moves, and increasing the strain on the groin, hips, knees, and back.
(all of this info is covered extensively on the site-see 'Why Goalies Need Overdrive' and the 'Safety' menu)

Although Overdrive is an important improvement to goalie mobility, it has been banned by the NHL and other organizations. This is simply wrong. Grip enhancements are not a danger to a sport; they are a special type of equipment that is crucial to a sport's development.


  • Some grip enhancements improve mobility so much that sports are created: the invention of the skate blade, the ski, the rollerblade.

  • Other grip enhancements improve mobility to a lesser extent, yet they alter a sport forever: the toe pick, the cleat,etc.

  • Other grip improvements may not seem to be important because, while they may offer important benefits ot the athlete, the change is not obvious to an observer. Overdrive falls into that category.

The NHL has managed without Overdrive but, the removal of many other grip enhancements would go equally unnoticed: Baseball batting gloves or rosin bags wouldn’t really be missed; skiers once skied without steel edges, they just didn't go as fast; and why should luge use spiked gloves? Do golfers need cleats? Not really, although Tiger Woods would never get the power for his incredible drives without them.


Do cyclists need clips (right)? No, they didn't have them before. How about runner's starting blocks(right)? And for that matter, why should baseball pitchers have a rubber to push off of?

Why is all of this stuff allowed?


As minor as some grip enhancements may seem to be, the athletes using them will insist that they are an important part of their game.
At the highest levels, the athletes using them will insist that they are an absolute necessity.


Elite athletes move at speeds that push the boundaries of human mobility, and with speed, comes danger. A cyclist speeding down a hill must have his foot secure, because a slip could result in serious injury to himself and others. Similarly for skiers needing sharp edges. Top level golfers would likely develop all kinds of lower body injuries if they had to tee off without cleats. Similarly with runners using starting blocks and pitchers using the rubber.


These seemingly minor grip enhancements play a crucial role in sport. They allow athletes, and especially elite athletes, to safely push the boundaries of mobility, and thereby push the boundaries of their sport. Higher, Faster, Stronger begins with these little changes, and that's why they are allowed: Mobility is the principle that moves sport and little stands in its way. Following this principle has never failed sport and it would not have failed hockey had the NHL allowed Overdrive. There might have been fewer goals, (until forwards figured out better ways to score - they always do), but fans would have been treated to seeing the best goalies in the world moving even faster, and with far fewer injuries.