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Puck return machine scores big on campus

By Costa Maragos Posted: May 13, 2016 6:00 a.m.

(l-r) Joshua Hextall, Tyler Kenny, Everett Taylor with their device that automatically collects and returns hockey pucks.
(l-r) Joshua Hextall, Tyler Kenny, Everett Taylor with their device that automatically collects and returns hockey pucks. Photo: External Relations

Some straight shooting engineering students have come up with a cool gadget that can help improve your hockey skills.

The three students unveiled their EZ Shot Hockey Puck Return System system at the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science’s Project Day held recently on campus. The annual event is a showcase for the final projects of fourth year Engineering students.

The hockey machine was a big hit with Project Day visitors and reporters covering the event.

Hockey Net Pix
Click here to see the EZ Shot Hockey Puck Return System in action.

“On the market there’s not really anything like this. We are big hockey fans so obviously we wanted to do something that we enjoy doing,” says Josh Hextall who designed the machine with fellow students Tyler Kenny and Everett Taylor.

The machine is designed for solo players who practice firing pucks at a net.

Here’s how it works. A puck is fired at a net and then is directed to a battery-powered wheel that pushes the puck back to the player. It’s that EZ.

“It’s modular and light weight so it’s easy to use by anybody 10 years or older looking to improve their shooting technique,” says Tyler Kenny.

The puck can return at varying speeds - from 32 kilometres per hour and up to 64 kilometres per hour. The test results look promising. According to the students’ research, 80 per cent of shots fired were stopped by the backstop and fed to the collection system.  

The students say there’s still more work to be done but they see potential.

"Currently on the market there are pitching machines for baseball. There are return machines for basketball and pitching machines for football but ice hockey teams have been left out. And the ones that are out in the market are very large in scale and require a 120 volt ac power meaning they have to be plugged into a wall,” says Kenny. “We just wanted to create one that was portable and was able to run without any wires and could easily be used on any ice or cement surface.”

The students say the EZ Shot Hockey Puck Return System is designed to be used by both children and adults and can function in our cold Canadian winters. Now there’s something that will score big with hockey fans in Canada.

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