World Junior Championship players will be wearing some awesome custom-printed ice skates for this year’s tournament.
Bauer has painted the heel of its Vapor skates to feature the flag where each player hails from. Bardown posted photos of the skates that includes special designs for Canada, Germany, Finland, Russian, United States, Sweden, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, and Switzerland.
Playing in custom painted skates was originally an idea that was made popular by Alex Ovechkin in 2010. For the Vancouver Olympics, Ovechkin had the bottom of his skates painted. It featured personal branding, including fire, demonic sheep, and the number eight. “Ovechka” means “sheep” in Russian.
Four years later in Sochi, Ovechkin had his skates painted with the Russian flag on the sides.
In 2017, Ovechkin became the first player to wear custom-painted skates during warmups, which featured imagery from his two hometowns of Washington DC and Moscow. Ovechkin was intent on wearing the fancy boots during the game, but the NHL denied the Russian’s request.
“Obviously I want to play with them, but the league said no,” the trend-setting Ovechkin said. “I think they’re sick. They’re pretty cool. It’s something new. Nobody done it before. It’s nice to be first guy.”
Over a decade after Ovechkin’s innovation, World Junior players will wear the special skates in games, helping bring more individuality to the game.
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