The Henrik Lundqvist Crystal Skates and display is a one of a kind high end sports memorabilia art piece created by the artist Don Blanton. Henrik and Don were former neighbors in New York and became friends through work with The Henrik Lundqvist Foundation.
Henrik gave Don his skates used in the 2016-2017 New York Rangers season games to crystallize as a sequel to the Lundqvist Crystal Hockey Mask Don had previously created for The Henrik Lundqvist Foundation. The Lundqvist Crystal Mask is now on display permanently in the Signature Suites lobby at Madison Square Garden.
The mask was a challenge, but the skates proved to be even more of a challenge. Like the mask, the skates needed to be cleaned, dipped in copper, then nickel and finally chromed through special processes. Once chromed, Don had to create a special “jig” in order to start applying Swarovski Crystals to the irregular surface which required Don to create unique ways to adhere the crystals. Another challenge, was that each skate was not exactly alike and so he had to figure out how to make them look consistent, so at times he needed to be working on two skates at a time.
One of the biggest challenges were the shoelaces. The shoelaces were created using silver shoelace material over the original shoelaces, and then adorned with crystals. Two years later and thousands of Swarovski crystals; the skates were completed. Along the way Don chose not to crystal over the dents and scrapes Henrik incurred during the actual games as he felt that was part of the art and should remain in tact. The actual soles of Henrik’s skates are also installed into the Crystal Skates and Henrik’s signature appears on the backs of each skate for authenticity.
The next challenge was to create a display case worthy enough to showcase Henrik’s skates. This was an extremely hard challenge as this display case was a one of kind prototype in reality. Like all prototypes there was a lot of trial, error and solutions. The motor had to be modified to handle the 13 lbs of skates without burning up. A specially crafted “acrylic ice” was created for the skates to stand on. Since Henrik is a goalie, he normally is positioned on the ice with the skates pointing at an angle. After looking at the skates straight on they did not look right so Don and his team had to route an angled groove in the acrylic in order for the skates to lean which visually looked better. Don had to craft special acrylic stands which attach to the skates In order hold them in place as they rotate. The next challenge was how to light the “acrylic ice” underneath the skates without seeing the motor shadow which required Don to create special lighting after much trial and error. The center of the “acrylic ice” is adorned with a silver cap with Henrik’s Crown 30 Logo.
The display case proved to have many more challenges including not only the lighting, but the flocked sides of the cabinet were displaying strange shadows which took your eyes away from the skates as a focal point. Once again, Don had to create a special “infinity” hole material to adorn the inside of the display case to refract the light without shadows. All in all Don and his team had to invent 30 different components in order to create this display.
Once the display case was created, Don created a pedestal worthy of the case. The display pedestal also was created with LED light controllable acrylic features. The display case and pedestal have four unique channels of LED lighting. This adds ability to display millions of colors and also to create the signature NY Rangers colors of Red, White and Blue to enhance the crystals on the skates.
He and his team created computer controlled logic and his signature patent pending forward stopping system. Once the display case is turned off the skates will rotate until they are front and center and then stop. Once stopped the timing system will turn off the display case, then the pedestal and finally the engraved lighted “Lundqvist Crystal Skates” placard.
The display case is accompanied by two lighted 11”x14” LED photographic displays of Henrik wearing the actual skates in a New York Rangers game!
Don explains he spent over 600 hours and 2 years to create this gift for his friend, Henrik Lundqvist and his wife Therese for the Henrik Lundqvist Foundation. The Henrik Lundqvist Foundation, through its fundraising efforts and community outreach, strives to create positive change in the lives of children and adults throughout the world through education and health services.
The skates are to be auctioned off to support The Henrik Lundqvist Foundation at a later date to be announced.
One of a kind priceless original art piece
Skates actually worn in 2016-2017 New York Rangers games
Adorned with thousands of Swarovski crystals and elements
Each crystal painstakingly placed one by one
Hundreds of LED lights - Millions of lighted color combinations
30 Invented components
600 Hours to complete the crystals and display case