Raita Sport: Flexible dasher boards improve the safety of players

As a result of active research and development work, Raita Sport Co. Ltd. created a flexible dasher board model suitable for ice hockey arenas. The new dasher board structure offers significantly greater flexibility than previous options and improves the safety of players in checking situations.

Raita Sport Co. Ltd. explored the flexibility of different dasher board structures in a study implemented by the Department of Biology of Physical Activity of the University of Jyväskylä. At the same time, new information was obtained for the purpose of developing regulations concerning dasher board structures. The results of the research were published in the European Journal of Sport Sciences.

“The fruits of our labour are utilised in the development of requirements imposed on dasher board systems by the International Ice Hockey Federation, national ice hockey associations and professional ice hockey leagues in different countries,” explains Tuomo Hyvärinen, Managing Director of Raita Sport Co. Ltd.

A major benefit obtained from the development work was winning the bidding contest for ice hockey dasher board systems for the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia. All official ice hockey matches in the Sochi Olympics will be played using flexible dasher board systems supplied by Raita.

“Evidence provided by the research on the superiority of the new dasher board model and our experience from supplying dasher boards to more than 30 elite competitions played a central role in the closing of the contract,” Hyvärinen explains.

Raita supplied a total of four dasher board systems for the Sochi Olympics. In cooperation with its Finnish partners, Raita also supplied a seating system for approximately 12 000 people for the main arena. About 3 000 of the seats are so-called telescopic seats, meaning that the lowest rows can be pulled back using electric engines, so that more floor space is made available for events that require it.

Research and development work provides the tools for success in international competition

“In our view, this shows that through investments in product development and research, Finnish companies, too, can obtain and retain a good market position even in tough international competition. It is our goal to continue to win significant arena projects both in Finland and abroad in the years to come. This way, we aim to strengthen our growth, profitability and market position as the leading dasher board supplier in Europe,” Hyvärinen continues.

Based on the development work carried out, Raita Sport Co. Ltd., operating in Oulainen in northern Finland, has submitted several patent applications that aim to secure the advantage offered by the innovations also in the future. Approximately 80 per cent of the dasher boards and related equipment designed and manufactured at the Oulainen plant are produced for the export market.

“Thanks to Tekes cooperation, we were able to invest our own staff resources in the months-long product development that required a great deal of patience. We created and tested several prototypes. The end result was an optimal combination of materials and technical solutions that are able to absorb shocks in check situations and withstand the rigours of ice hockey games,” Hyvärinen explains.

“After our own tests, the University of Jyväskylä compared our new flexible structures to previous dasher board structures in measurements simulating checking carried out in a laboratory environment.

Research carried out at the University of Jyväskylä in the field of the science of physical activity is of a high standard internationally. With the help of Tekes, we were able to benefit from this top-level expertise,” continues Hyvärinen.

Further information

Tuomo Hyvärinen
Managing Director
Raita Sport Co. Ltd.
Tel. +358 (0)8 479 5000
tuomo.hyvarinen (at) raitasport.com

Author: Tiina Lifländer
Photo: Raita Sport Co. Ltd.