Goal line save: Skate Armor

Reassuring neck safety during hockey
Goal line save: Skate Armor
Teri Weiss and son Mason Lohrei

As the famous saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and Teri Weiss’s Skate Armor neck guard is an invention that came from a mom’s necessity to keep her child safe. Weiss’s son came home from hockey practice one day with a neck abrasion from a hockey stick blade. He wasn’t wearing the neck guard she had just purchased for him because he said it was uncomfortable. “He told me if I designed one for him, he would wear it–so I did, with the intention of making it the most protective, comfortable neck guard available,” says Weiss.

The Skate Armor–which is a breathable, quick-wicking and lightweight neck guard for hockey–protects the crucial area directly over the carotid artery and jugular vein. “I discovered existing neck guards did not offer adequate protection in coverage and cut performance. I was actually able to cut through a competitor’s neck guard with a sharp cooking knife at home when I was first researching neck guards. It scared and disappointed me.”

Weiss has a background in international marketing in the golf industry and she leveraged that to develop and grow her business. “I hope my efforts will result in more women getting into designing products for the sports industry. It can be really difficult at times, [but] the experience I gained working in the golf industry definitely toughened me up,” she says. She also sought the expertise of the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation and UW’s Small Business Development Center.

Skate Armor’s product was just rated the top-performing neck guard by the Mayo Clinic, edging out other large hockey manufacturers that have been making guards for years, says Weiss.

What is social innovation?

According to Stanford University’s Social Innovation Review, social innovation is a “novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable or just than existing solutions” and benefits primarily society as a whole rather than private individuals.

It includes these elements:

Increasing employment, productivity and economic growth

Justice, fairness, environmental preservation, improved health, arts and culture and better education

A social innovation:

Can be a product, production process or technology (much like innovation in general), but it can also be a principle, an idea, a piece of legislation, a social movement, an intervention or some combination of them.

Recognizes the fundamental role of cross-sector dynamics: exchanging ideas and values, shifting roles and relationships and blending public, philanthropic and private resources. Innovation blossoms where the sectors converge.

Can’t be understood, let alone solved, without involving the nonprofit, public and private sectors.

The M List
Madison Magazine‘s M List is a who’s who of organizations and individuals who are having an impact on our local culture and economy. In its third year, the M List recognizes those making strides in the area of social innovation. Last year’s list of innovators were in the food industry. The original M List, in 2013, honored the technology sector. The 2014 M List honored “Foodtastic” entrepreneurs and innovators.

Click here to return to the 2015 M List.