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Hockey Discussed at 10th Annual
NFHS, NCAA Meeting
The 10th annual NCAA and NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) rules meeting was held April 12 in Indianapolis. Here is a look at what occurred in ice hockey:
The NCAA's Ty Halpin said Division I men's coaches have regular discussions about the NHL's plan to cut down on the size of goalie equipment. Halpin said D-I coaches want to be on the same page with the NHL plans.
This is a rule-change year in early June and the NCAA's Ty Halpin said they would like to a see an increased amount of scoring chances - even though goal-scoring was up this year.
The rules committee meets at the end of April and NFHS's Dan Schuster said there are no proposals on equipment changes for this year. Schuster said they are satisfied with the current state of helmets but are pushing for an emphasis on proper fitting of helmets and facemasks.
Schuster said there are no NHL-type proposals about the size of goalie equipment. He said it's not a direction the NFHS can go for a number of reasons.
HECC (Hockey Equipment Certification Council) representative Terry Smith said they have formed a task force with the CSA Group in Canada to develop a national test for ice hockey helmets. Schuster and Halpin said they have received no inquiries regarding the Virginia Tech hockey helmet test ratings done in 2015.
Neurosurgeon Has Concerns About Equipment, Fighting in NHL
A Toronto neurosurgeon believes the NHL should be more concerned about concussions and said one of the problems is hockey equipment. Dr. Charles Tator, who is with the Krembil Neuroscience Centre at Toronto Western Hospital, thinks some changes would decrease the number of concussions.
"I would start probably with the equipment," Tator told Canada's Sportsnet 590 The Fan. "It's crazy to have elbow pads and shoulder pads that are like sledgehammers. Why have the (NHL and other hockey leaders) allowed those ridiculous elbow pads and shoulder pads to be perpetuated?"
Tator thinks eliminating fighting and imposing harsher penalties and suspensions for hits from behind on unsuspecting players would help reduce concussions.
Kevin Davis Out in Performance Sports Group Management Shakeup
A management shakeup at Performance Sports Group, the parent company of Bauer, led to the immediate departure of Chief Executive Officer Kevin Davis. The PSG Board of Directors appointed Chief Financial Officer Amir Rosenthal as the interim CEO on Tuesday, March 22.
The move comes in the wake of PSG lowering its fiscal year guidance in early March and a New York Post report that the company was being questioned about misstatements of revenue. Davis had been the CEO since 2008.
“We are grateful to Kevin for his significant contributions to the Company,” said PSG Chairman Bernard McDonell in a statement. “Kevin and the management team successfully led the company from a privately held hockey business to the publicly traded, global and multi-sport organization it is today. We wish him well as he pursues the next chapter in his career.”
Graeme Roustan, who was PSG's Chairman from 2008 to 2012, has been trying to get back on the board and told The Post: "This is long overdue."
Several customers told Roustan in a 2015 survey that the company asked them to move orders forward to an earlier quarter, which The Post reported exclusively March 14. Roustan presented his findings to the PSG Board in June 2015 but Davis, at a Bank of America retail conference March 15, told The Post he did nothing wrong and didn't manipulate PSG's earnings.
Rosenthal, who will also remain President, PSG Brands, joined PSG in 2008 and previously held the role of CFO and Executive Vice President Finance and Administration with the Company. In his role as CFO, Rosenthal was instrumental in leading PSG's initial public offering and listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange in 2011, as well as the U.S. listing on the New York Stock Exchange nearly two years ago.
"The Board is pleased to appoint Amir as the Company’s interim Chief Executive Officer,” McDonell said. “Amir is a proven leader with a strong understanding of our brands and our customers and has been instrumental in the growth and success of Performance Sports Group. The Board will conduct a search for the permanent CEO of Performance Sports Group and will include Amir among the candidates under consideration for this role.”
“Performance Sports Group continues to be focused on delivering the best possible performance and protection to athletes at all levels,” Rosenthal said. “Our leading brands, deep consumer connections, commitment to innovation and dedicated employees remain the four key pillars of our company and I look forward to working with the Board, the management team and all of our employees to continue delivering on our mission."
Bauer Named Exclusive Equipment Supplier of NAHL
The North American Hockey League (NAHL) announced that Bauer Hockey, a subsidiary of Performance Sports Group Ltd., has been named the exclusive equipment supplier of the 22-team junior league. Through this three-year agreement, Bauer will provide all NAHL teams with Bauer sticks, pants, gloves and helmets. For the NAHL, this strategic partnership provides its players with the world’s most innovative product to ensure athletes can perform at their best during these important development years.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Bauer Hockey as our exclusive league equipment supplier,” said NAHL commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “We believe Bauer products are among the best in the industry and that this relationship will provide our most valuable asset – the players – with the necessary tools to compete at an elite level. Bauer Hockey is the leader in the industry with a passionate commitment to elevating performance and protection. This reinforces our mission to help athletes who aim to climb the developmental ladder and excel on the ice.”
The NAHL is the only USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II junior league, and it includes 22 teams in 10 states. The league graduates hundreds of its players to NCAA hockey each year, which during the current 2015-16 season includes approximately 150 Division I commitments. Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, Ryan Kesler of the Anaheim Ducks and James van Riemsdyk of the Toronto Maple Leafs are just a few of the alumni who once played in the NAHL.
“We’re proud to be partnering with such a prestigious league that allows us to help elevate the on-ice performance of top upcoming players,” said Rich Wuerthele, Executive Vice President, Bauer Hockey. “Through this strategic partnership we will continue to showcase our brand and innovations to elite athletes, while also activating at the grassroots level in key NAHL communities for tournaments and other league events.”
In addition to the range of Bauer products available, the selection options for NAHL players will also include Easton sticks and gloves. Performance Sports Group recently acquired Easton Hockey, bringing the brand’s heritage and history of innovation together with Bauer. Bauer will also serve as the preferred equipment supplier of both the Tier III Junior North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) and the Tier I Midget North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL).
NHL to Reduce Size of Goaltenders' Equipment for 2016-17 Season
NHL goaltenders will be cut down to size to start the 2016-17 season.
A presentation to require goalies wear equipment better suited to their body size was delivered at the NHL's annual General Managers' meetings in mid-March. The initiative will reduce the sizes of pants and upper-body equipment and cut out some of the unnecessary extra padding which doesn't protect goalies but gives them an unfair advantage.
Some of the NHL's top goalies pushed for the change to make the position more about skill and less about using large equipment to stop shots. Goalies not in compliance with the rules would face a two-game suspension, which is already in effect but will be enforced more rigidly next season, and fines.
"If it takes a little more skill to play the position so be it," former NHL goalie and senior director of hockey operations Kay Whitmore said. "Does this make scoring go up? I don't know. That's to be seen and that's not why we did it. This was done (because) we felt there were inequities within the goalies themselves and the best goalies have come out and said that. And that's what's driving the bus here."
Whitmore said manufacturers of goalie gear will have enough sizes to make the streamlined equipment necessary for the change. The new equipment is expected to be ready in the summer and it could be used in the World Cup in Toronto in mid-September.
Click here to read more.
The Financial and Time Sacrifices to Play Youth Hockey
The Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota took a closer look at the financial and time investments for kids to play hockey. Some families told the newspaper they spend as much as $10,000 a year for equipment, fees, travel and lodging. Parents end up making numerous sacrifices in order for their children to play the sport they enjoy.
There are ways to reduce some of the equipment costs, which is pointed out by Eric Knudson, the store manager of NSGA member Gerrells Sports Center/Hockey World in Grand Forks. Helmets can be used for two to three years and Gerrells also has a leasing program for skates so they can be switched out in-season if a player's feet outgrow the skates. Equipment can also be handed down to younger siblings.
Click here to read the full story and view an graphic that shows the cost of outfitting a player from head to toe.
Adidas Appoints New Head of Hockey North America
Adidas appointed Dan Near as the new head of Adidas Hockey for Adidas Group North America. Near joins Adidas from the NHL, where he built new distribution for licensed products and led strategic grow-the-game initiatives in North America during his 10 years in the league.
"His existing relationships within the NHL and across the hockey industry will be key in bringing the Adidas/NHL partnership to life," said Michael Rossi, the General Manager for Adidas Group Canada. "Dan also brings diverse experience from other industries ... and is a proud Canadian with an innate passion for sports, especially hockey. He also brings a natural curiosity and genuine passion to create a new path forward between Adidas and the NHL under our new agreement that excites us all."
Adidas also promoted Keith Leach to senior director - NHL, leading all NHL-related licensed product initiatives for the SLD division across North America.
"As we look ahead to the 2016 World Cup of Hockey in Toronto and next season's launch of Adidas on-ice with the NHL, we are thrilled to step onto a proverbial 'fresh sheet of ice' with these two capable leaders guiding our efforts."
CCM Hockey, AHL Extend Partnership Five Years
CCM Hockey and the American Hockey League announced a five-year extension of their multi-year partnership that will continue to serve as the foundation for the AHL's marketing, licensing and on-ice branding strategies. CCM will remain the exclusive supplier of sticks, helmets, gloves, pants and jerseys to deliver world-class products to AHL players.
The AHL is in its 80th season and CCM is positioned as the largest designer and manufacturer of hockey equipment in the world. CCM is represented by NHL superstars Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, Carey Price and John Tavares. CCM Hockey will remain the exclusive licensee for AHL replica jerseys and will remain a licensee for other apparel and headwear.
CCM will also continue to sponsor the AHL All-Star Classic, providing equipment, jerseys and locker room apparel for the annual event, and will also be the head-to-toe uniform provider for AHL referees and linesmen.
"Our partnership with CCM Hockey has been an integral element in the success of our league business for the past 11 years," said David Andrews, President and CEO of the AHL. "The scope of this relationship remains unmatched in our sport and continues to have a positive impact on every facet of our product both on and off the ice."
Reebok-CCM Ordered to Stop Helmet Safety Claims
Reebok-CCM has agreed to stop making claims that its hockey helmets prevent head injuries after it reached a consent agreement with Canada’s Competition Bureau in late December 2015.
According the Bureau, advertisements for the CCM Resistance hockey helmet contained words, images and videos that created an impression that the helmet would protect players from head injuries such as concussions. Reebok-CCM had conducted testing on the helmet prior to making the claims, but the Bureau determined the testing was not adequate and proper to support its marketing claims.
The Bureau reached a similar agreement with Bauer Hockey last year.
“We are pleased that Reebok-CCM has cooperated with the Bureau’s investigation and has agreed to stop making claims that could lead consumers into believing that their helmets can prevent concussions,” said John Pecman, the Bureau’s Commissioner of Competition. “Arriving at an agreement rapidly that resolves the Bureau’s concerns while putting sports equipment in the hands of the less fortunate is a great alternative to spending time and resources in a courtroom.”
The agreement with the Bureau requires Reebok-CCM to:
- Donate $475,000 worth of sports equipment to a charity that supports youth in sports or teams, associations or leagues for underprivileged children or youth hockey players;
- Remove or modify the remaining claims from all marketing materials, including packaging and online advertising;
- Implement an enhanced corporate compliance program and take steps to ensure retailers do not make unsupported claims;
- Pay $30,000 toward the Bureau’s investigation costs.
On its website, Reebok-CCM advertised that the CCM Resistance helmet had a “Rotational Energy Dampening System” that helped manage rotational impacts and reduce rotational acceleration of the head during impact, according to a story in the Toronto Globe and Mail. The Bureau determined this created an impression the helmet could protect against head injuries.
Outspoken Don Cherry Pulls No Punches on State of Game
Don Cherry has never been afraid to share his thoughts on hockey as a professional player, NHL coach and long-time broadcaster. Cherry, the flamboyantly dressed co-host "Coach's Corner" on Hockey Night in Canada, took some powerful slapshots in a recent Q&A in Toronto's The Globe and Mail.
Cherry believes the equipment on goalies now has gotten ridiculous - to the point where 165-pound Ryan Miller of the Vancouver Canucks "looks like the blimp guy in the tire commercials" after he puts on his equipment. There are some aspects of the game that have improved in his view but doesn't necessarily believe it has translated into a more entertaining or better overall product.
Click here to read the entire interview with Don Cherry.
Adidas Lands Penguins' Star Sidney Crosby
Adidas announced a multi-year partnership with NHL star and captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, in October. A Stanley Cup winner, World Championships Gold Medalist and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Crosby joins adidas to collaborate on apparel and equipment design and development. The Penguins center will also take a leading role in adidas marketing.
"Since I started playing hockey I have had a passion for the sport. I am excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with adidas and have an influence on products that matter to hockey players and all athletes in their training and preparation," Crosby said. "Adidas and I share the same drive to be the best at what we do. It's an exciting time to be a part of the energy the brand has and the future of the sport."
Known for his intuitive scoring ability, Crosby notched his 800th career point last season, becoming the sixth-fastest player in NHL history to reach 800 points. Along the way, Crosby has taken home the Art Ross Trophy (leading scorer) twice, made eight Stanley Cup playoff appearances and been named an NHL All-Star five times.
In addition to playing a key role in future hockey product creation and in marketing campaigns, Crosby will represent adidas at major international sporting events and brand initiatives around the world. Last month, adidas announced its new partnership with the NHL and NHLPA to be the official outfitter of all on-ice uniforms and licensed apparel and headwear, set to begin with the 2017-18 season. Additionally, adidas will become the official outfitter of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Pure Hockey Acquires Hockey Giant
Pure Hockey, LLC announced it has acquired all of the assets and ongoing business of California-based Sports Giant, LLC. Sports Giant includes ice hockey retailer Hockey Giant and online property HockeyGiant.com (among other online properties). HockeyGiant.com was one of the original online sellers of hockey gear and related product and remains among the largest online retailers.
Pure Hockey began discussions to acquire Sports Giant, LLC this past summer and with the acquisition, Pure Hockey strengthens its position as the largest ice hockey retailer in the US, operating 31 retail locations and multiple websites.
"This is a transformational acquisition for Pure Hockey; one which allows us to provide more value to our customers and increases our presence in some excellent hockey markets," said David Nectow, President of Pure Hockey parent company TSG Enterprises, LLC. "It also allows us to better compete in an evolving competitive environment. We are beyond excited to introduce ourselves to all of the valued Hockey Giant customers in the U.S.A."
In conjunction with the acquisition of Hockey Giant, Pure Hockey has also announced the relocation of its Corporate Headquarters to a 345,000 square foot building in Holliston, Mass. According to Nectow, the move to the state-of-the-art office and distribution facility will accomodate the Company's plans for current and future growth.
Pure Hockey is in its 21st year of business, with 22 store locations in seven states (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania) and its online properties at www.purehockey.com and www.puregoalie.com. Pure Hockey also owns and operates ComLax, a 22-store retail chain which sells lacrosse equipment, and the online property www.comlax.com.
Hockey Giant was founded in 1999 and is a specialty multi-channel retailer of equipment for ice hockey and lacrosse. Hockey Giant is the main operating division of SportsGiant, with nine hockey stores in seven U.S. states (California, Wisconsin, Texas, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York and New Jersey). Its primary online business is www.hockeygiant.com.
Bauer Opens New Innovation Center
Bauer officially opened its new Innovation Center in Blainville, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal, as the facility hosted approximately 350 of the company's top global retail partners for its annual BauerWorld event. The 100,000 square foot facility features state-of-the-art product testing labs, industry-leading design tools, a real ice surface to evaluate new product and a custom pro shop to host elite athletes.
The Bauer Innovation Center was previously located in St. Jerome, Quebec, for more than 44 years. The new cetner in Blainville is 25 percent larger and has more than 150 testing and research and development machines.
"Our new facility in Blainville matches our premium product with a premium research facility to continue elevating performance and protection at all levels," said Rich Wuerthele, Executive Vice President of Bauer Hockey.
STX Signs Six NHL Players
Baltimore-based STX signed six NHL players to multi-year deals to compete with STX equipment. J.T. Miller (New York Rangers), Adam McQuaid (Boston Bruins), Matt Martin (New York Islanders), Colin McDonald (Philadelphia Flyers), Shawn Thornton (Florida Panthers) and Vincent Trocheck (Florida Panthers) join players such as Matt Moulson (Buffalo Sabres) and Jiri Hudler (Calgary Flames) on the STX roster.
The addition of the six players will help drive brand awareness as STX continues to expand its ice hockey line, including the recent launch of the completely redesigned Stallion 600 stick.
"We are proud to announce these new NHL player partnerships," said Matt Hoppe, Senior Global Brand Manager at STX. "As we continue to expand our presence in the NHL and beyond, elite-level athletes everywhere are making the conscious choice to use STX Hockey equipment and that validates the high-performance nature of our products."