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Steelheads love The Beast’s MyGuardWash

Wednesday, January 20th
Steelheads love The Beast’s MyGuardWash

They say necessity is the mother of invention. And in 16 years as the equipment manager for the Idaho Steelheads, Khris Bestel never came across the right tool he needed to keep his players healthy and on the ice.

“You hear about kids getting sick all the time in winter, and I thought, ‘who would want to put a dirty mouth guard back in their mouth?” said Bestel. “So there was a time a couple years ago I was going to buy the players a better container to clean them, and it didn’t exist.”

So he decided to make it himself.

Bestel, known as “The Beast” throughout the ECHL, developed his own device called MyGuardWash and now holds a patent, a trademark, and has his own injection mold to mass-produce the mouth guard sanitizing device that is his own design.

“I wanted to develop a better cleaning system for mouth guards for our players. I was tired of seeing them dirty and all over the floor and poorly handled,” said Bestel. “I wanted to develop a container that would submerge it. And when you pulled it out of the jar, it strains it right through and cleans it really well.”

MyGuardWash has a container with a screw-on lid, and attached to that lid is a straining platform. Users fill the container with simple mouthwash and place the mouth guard on that platform. The user then lowers the platform into the container as they screw the lid back on, submerging the mouth guard in the mouthwash and cleaning it.

The results have been strong on the ice, where the Steelheads have had virtually no illness since the team began issuing the product to all players.

“When we first did this last year when I made them, (former Steelheads coach) Brad Ralph called me in the summer and remarked how we never got sick,” said Bestel. “And I really think that every time your mouth guard is submerged in antiseptic, it’s going to kill the germs. I’m not going to claim it keeps you from getting sick, but these players use them every day and we haven’t gotten sick this year.

“I can’t claim it doesn’t make you sick, but we haven’t.”

And other teams have certainly taken notice, with teams around the ECHL and other league’s in North America using samples of Bestel’s inventions in their own locker rooms and preparing orders to bring in more. It was that widespread interest that inspired Bestel to invest in the injection mold and produce them on a grander scale.

Players who join the Steelheads immediately are given a bag, a locker room stall, and a MyGuardWash. It was encouraging for Bestel that some of the Steelheads’ recent acquisitions had seen his product before.

“I gave it to them and they said, ‘Hey, they’re using these in the American League!’ So I thought that was cool, and now they have these new ones to take back with them.”

Bestel sold out the first 1,200 units of his product before the Steelheads spent much of the first half of their season on the road. Now with the Steelheads prepared to play more games in Boise, Bestel and his business partners, childhood friends Rob Russell and Scott Morfeld, are ready to take their business venture to the next level.

They have thousands of units in inventory and have launched their website, MyGuardWash.com. The site offers information on MyGuardWash, gives player testimonials for the device, and allows visitors to order one of their own. The hockey equipment manager-turned-entrepreneur has carved a niche for his invention in hockey circles, but believes it will be valuable for other sports like football and lacrosse. It can also be valuable for non-athletes, for people who wear mouth guards or sleep guards at night.

The Beast’s office in the bowels of CenturyLink Arena is a shrine to his tenure here. The walls are covered with pictures and name plates from the players that have come and gone while he has remained, working in that office on skates and sticks, sewing and tinkering, always looking for new ways to improve the team’s performance on the ice.

In those efforts and from that office, he has now not only helped the Steelheads stay on the ice, but also created something that may have an impact on player health spreading well beyond Boise.

“That’s just the way I think, I’m always thinking about how I can improve on something,” said Bestel.

“If you want something done right, you do it yourself. “

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