Thousands of athletes use innovation made by Latvian pupils

Four years ago, Aksels Zingulis and Reinis Nikuļcevs started a business while still at school. Now, their company RocketGrip exports an innovative product invented in Latvia - ice hockey equipment handles - to 45 countries, Latvian Television reported September 2.

The business idea began with one of the guys getting sick and tired of re-wrapping the end of the hockey stick every time during training.

“I was a pretty lazy athlete. In hockey you have to re-wrap the end of the stick all the time. This must be done basically before each training. I didn't like to do it, and I had the idea that there was something to change. Reinis was an enthusiastic technical mind who liked to use things in unconventional ways,” said Aksels Zingulis, co-owner of RocketGrip.

A material, a rubber-plastic alloy, which can be handled with hot water or a dryer, was found.

“We create the shape we want at the bottom, the shape that one is accustomed to. Put the grip on top, pour hot water on it, and the grip takes the shape we have created at the bottom,” Aksels Zingulis explained the product.

They started with handles for hockey sticks, but now also offer tennis, lacrosse, even angler handles. The handles are available in different colors, and customers can order a personalized design with a team logo or athlete's name.

“The big goal is to get into the NHL if we're talking about hockey,” Aksels Zingulis said.

Already at the very beginning of business, Aksels and Reinis focused on exports. At present, most of the production travels to the United States and Canada. The handles invented and produced in Latvia are being used by the hockey professionals in both the NHL and KHL and the World Hockey Championships.

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