Growing up in the northeast, hockey was a major part of Bill Everett’s life. Now a TV executive for a well known company, when he was younger he had expected to play it professionally reports The Denver Post.
A slap shot shattered Everett’s dreams in 1970 and left a plate in his skull. But the injury, he said, helped him develop one of the sport’s most visible safety products – the clear face shield.
But there was no fortune in it. Instead, the former defenseman has passed the years competing with Goliath-size companies making millions of dollars on their own face shields.
At the time, the idea was simple: a clear face guard for hockey players. It came to him as youngsters with hockey-related injuries visited the sporting-goods store where he worked while attending Boston College on a hockey scholarship.
Others were developing hockey face shields too, but the first patent didn’t arrive until 1975 – in Medinah, Ill., going to mechanical engineer Dale Kasper.
Everett Enterprises and its shield, Dewlex, had an austere beginning, with production and shipping comprising friends around a kitchen table.
The success train suddenly stopped before it really got going, though, because of a combination of the shield’s persistent fogging and a new rule mandating face cages for youth players.
“We didn’t see the shield again for a very long time,” Threadgood remembered.
It wasn’t until 2002 that Everett dived back into the business as successful anti-fog coatings for plastics had been developed.
Today, despite giants Bauer and Oakley dominating the field, Everett’s Boulder Hockey Shield Co. has a few investors and sales are in the “single-digit thousands” a year, he said, and growing.
Photo by Boulder Hockey Shield Co.