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Syracuse Crunch team with local hospital to sterilize PPE

Sani Sport Crunch

Personal Protective Equipment is critical for the heroes on the frontlines fighting COVID-19 and the ability to extend its use can provide a much-needed solution to the global supply shortage.

Dr. Robert Corona, CEO of Upstate Medical University, recently learned of the process professional hockey teams use to sanitize their equipment and wanted to see if these machines could be repurposed to disinfect PPE.

He reached out to the Syracuse Crunch, a nearby American Hockey League organization, about the effectiveness and availability of the team’s Sani Sport machines. The franchise quickly made the equipment available to the hospital and in less than a week Upstate Medical University came to an encouraging conclusion.

“After careful analysis of the Sani Sport and other peer-reviewed published decontamination testing data by our infection control team, infectious disease specialists, microbiology team and other clinical experts, we have made the decision to use Sani Sport to decontaminate our face shields,” Dr. Corona said in a statement. “We have developed a specific process for collection of the used face shields, decontamination and re-issuing of the face shields. Thank you to the Syracuse Crunch!”

For now, these machines will be used solely to clean face shields.

“We used methodology similar to the process which uses the ‘predicate device’ analysis. The literature supports killing the virus on hard surfaces,” Dr. Corona said when reached by email. “We are limiting our process to face shields only because no specific studies have been on N-95 masks material.”

The hockey community has contributed to the global fight against COVID-19 in a variety of ways but this innovative approach could provide immediate assistance.

“Right now, we can’t give back to the community by playing hockey, but we can play an active role in helping people battle COVID-19 with the equipment we have in our locker room,” Crunch owner Howard Dolgon told NBC Sports. “We have learned over the years that things work in various ways.”


Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.