Hockey gear manufacturer to switch from protecting players to medical staff

Hockey equipment manufacturer now making face shields for medical professionals | Offside

Hockey equipment company Bauer stepping up to help health officials fighting COVID-19

Bauer's vice-president of products, Dan Bourgeois, said the company has also received requests for the masks from other first-responders, including police and firemen, according to a report from the Canadian Press via Sportsnet.

Bourgeois said they received approval at 2 a.m. Thursday morning, and a few hours later "emails were coming nearly every minute".

Bourgeois said staff at Bauer's innovation centre in Blainville, Que. will return to work Monday and begin production of a full face shield, created to work with masks worn over the mouth.

The company says it has modified its production line to make full-face, single-use visors.

With non-essential businesses ordered closed in Quebec, the company is notifying the provincial government it will re-open while producing essential services before going into production Monday.

Bourgeois adds that demand has grown, meaning the company will try to ramp up its daily output in the hopes of producing 500,000 units.

Eager to do their part at Bauer, Bourgeois said that factory managers worked with research and development staff to come up with the most logical method to help fight against the pandemic, and that manufacturing visors was the most suitable course of action.

"We say we're a protective company ... Then why aren't we starting to (make) protection for our doctors, nurses, hospitals, and their needs?"

The face shields are made of materials used to make hockey visors.

Bourgeois adds the company doesn't expect to make a profit on the project, nor is that the goal.

Masks, gloves, gowns, face shields and other supplies protect healthcare workers from the virus, and also reduce the risk of spreading it from one patient to the next.

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