Hi, I am John Erickson, inventor and founder of SuperShooter2. Like most kids from the Upper Midwest, I grew up playing hockey and was always looking for ways to better my game. One aspect of the game that continuously fascinated me was the hockey shot. I was always shooting in the garage against a very beat up piece of plywood (this was the era before shooting tarps and such), into the chain link goal at the neighborhood rink, or into the goal on the rink my father created by flooding our backyard. Besides this, I used training methods to improve my shot such as shooting with weighted pucks I made myself by drilling holes in pucks and filling them with lead. I put weight on the back of my stick blade for shooting training sessions. Beyond this, I worked to build additional forearm and grip strength by doing endless pull-ups, spring-loaded grip pumps, and rolling up weights suspended by hockey laces on a hockey stick.
This all seemed to help my hockey shot, but what helped the most was focused practicing on pass, wrist, and snap shots, shot after shot, after shot! That meant shooting buckets and buckets of pucks. Not too exciting, but it produced results!
I was always looking for more efficient ways of picking up pucks, but never found one besides just confining the “rollers” by having guide boards along the sides of my shooting area in the garage. Fast forward to the period when my daughters played high school hockey. I decided to see what I could come up with for a shooting system that returned the puck directly back to the shooter. In our garage, I set out a couple sheets of plywood and a narrow sheet of HDPE to determine the most effective curvature for returning shot pucks, and the minimum speed the system would perform at.
I knew that if I was to commercialize the system it would be a long road so pursuing a patent was a must. With a proven design in hand, a patent application was submitted, and eventually US Patent 7,662,054 B2 was granted on February 16, 2010.
While the patent work was in process, I started showing it to teams and training centers. As a Michigan Technological University grad, they were one of the first teams I showed it to. They were interested in the shooting training system, which returned the puck directly back to the shooter AND displayed the shooter’s shot speed. One improvement they felt was important was to increase the display size. They suggested I meet with the mechanical/computer engineering departments at Tech to work with a student team.
One thing led to another, and the SuperShooter2 sponsored a Capstone Senior Design Project at Michigan Tech University, which was set up to refine the current design and develop the mechanical, electrical and computer components to release for mass production. A team of two mechanical, two electrical engineers and an exercise science student was formed; they spent two semesters on it, accumulating 498 man hours refining the electronic five-hole version. While the electronic five-hole version was beneficial to players, through use at training centers, it was determined a four-corner system would create better results. And thus, the current system was born.