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'Naked Cooler' arrives with help of Hartnell's backing

by Adam Kimelman / NHL.com

Summer is time for parties -- at the pool, the lake, the campsite. When you're having fun, who wants to waste time looking through coolers for a drink?

Now, thanks to the Naked Cooler, you can see exactly what's available.

The Naked Cooler is a simple twist to the old cooler that probably just came out of your garage in the past few weeks. Instead of four solid walls, the Naked Cooler has windows that allow you to see what's inside.

The simple idea was hatched by Philadelphia Flyers video coach Adam Patterson during a dinner date with his wife in 2011.

Scott Hartnell, then with the Philadelphia Flyers, overheard his video coach Adam Patterson talking about a new idea in the locker room and a few years later the Naked Cooler was born. (Photo: Philadelphia Flyers)

"A lady was setting up for the night and she was putting beers into a Plexiglas [container]," Patterson said. "She was loading beers that I could see from the fridge … and she was putting them into the front window. I could see the label of the beer and I was joking to my wife, I'm going to drink the third guy from the left, he's looking at me. And it was like my light bulb moment."

Patterson mentioned the idea of a cooler with windows in the Flyers' locker room a few days later during a road trip in Florida. Scott Hartnell, then a member of the Flyers, overheard the conversation.

"Scott was in the other room getting a massage," Patterson said. "He said, 'I hear you talking about something. And whatever it is, I want in.'"

At the time Patterson was getting his idea checked by a patent attorney. After getting the OK that he had something unique, Patterson went back to Hartnell and told him about the idea. Hartnell jumped on board immediately.

"It's little changes on a great idea," said Hartnell, now with the Columbus Blue Jackets. "Instead of having a blue, a white or a red cooler, you can have something that's different colors, you can see through it. It's a neat twist to the cooler game."

The Naked Cooler is 20 inches long, 24 inches wide and 18 inches deep, and can hold up to 50 cans of your favorite beverage. It has a telescoping handle and wheels for easy portability, and retails for $150.

The biggest change from the traditional cooler is the windows. The Naked Cooler uses a thick, single-pane piece of Plexiglas that in testing held up with no fogging or loss of temperature inside the cooler.

"The two most important things we were focused on were the fogging -- what's the point of having a cooler [with windows] that you can't see inside to find stuff -- and making sure it's insulated," Patterson said. "What they've found is that the thicker the Plexiglas, it still holds the ice, has the same temperature control as having a regular stool cooler. … The cold doesn't evaporate and it doesn't fog as much. The only time they've said they've seen fogging is 95 degrees and it was a little bit on the bottom; wipe it with your finger and it's gone."

The visible inside of the cooler can be customized in one of four bright colors, pink, orange, blue or green. Patterson said eventually he hopes to be able to allow people to customize the colors of their cooler to match their favorite spots team.

"It's a polypropylene decal that when you heat it up it bonds to the surface," he said. "The decals are cheap so you can buy decals for the inside of the cooler and you can do any colors. … You can do your [Philadelphia] Eagles colors or [Philadelphia] Phillies colors or any team you want. That's our idea for down the road, be able to mix and match, I want this color. We'll keep it a gray base on the outside but change the interior."

There also is a removable ice bin and cup holder for 18 drinks.

"That was someone telling me along the way they like mixed drinks and they hated fishing through the dirty cooler of beer for ice," Patterson said. "If I'm going in and I want ice for my drinks, I've got peeled-off labels in there, there's dirt and grass. This is a way to separate the ice."

A Kickstarter was launched June 1 to raise money to fund the manufacturing of the cooler, and already has raised more than $20,000, with a goal of $200,000. Hartnell, a 14-season NHL veteran known as one of the most outgoing players in the League, has made a number of public and media appearances to promote the cooler. He's also enlisted some of his friends inside and outside of the hockey world to help, among them Fox Sports broadcaster Erin Andrews.

"The hockey world is such a small world," Hartnell said. "To get a retweet or mention from ex-teammates and teammates like that, that's pretty cool. Erin has a lot of Twitter and Instagram followers. Those things help. Shows what kind of great friends they are and are able to help us out with this little launch."

Naked Coolers are available now through the Kickstarter page or at NakedCooler.com. The coolers are expected to ship by March 2016.

"A lot of people came to me and were like, I throw parties and I have five coolers out there, and I'm writing sticky notes on here and one says water, one says beer. You're fishing through and it's the wrong one. He said this would be perfect; I buy two of these, I put the kids' drinks in one, put the adults' drinks in the other, problem solved," Patterson said.

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