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CCM, 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.
CCM Refutes Report of Sale by adidas
A report that adidas is planning to put CCM up for sale in 2016 was refuted by CCM in a letter sent to its retail partners. CCM said a New York Post story's unnamed source is not credible and it is not the message it has been receiving from adidas leadership. CCM said there is always the possibility of a divestiture occurring, but added it has not received any signals of that being the case and isn't letting the report be a distraction from its current success.
CCM reported it has tripled the brand's sales in the last three years and said its future looks bright with breakthrough products in all of its categories. It also said it has 2016 plans to upgrade IT systems to offer best-in-class service to retail partners, enhance research capabilities to firmly establish CCM as the innovation leader and increase its strong connections in hockey at the professional level, while also producing strong initiatives for youth and junior players.
The New York Post said adidas was unsuccessful in an attempt to sell CCM for $150 million in 2013.
27th Annual Let's Play Hockey Expo in March
The 27th Annual Let's Play Hockey Expo, the world's largest consumer hockey trade show, will be held March 4-5, 2016 at the RiverCentre in St. Paul, Minn. Last year's event sold out all available booth space and for several years more than 40,000-plus hockey fans have attended.
The Let's Play Hockey Expo occurs in conjunction with the Minnesota boys state high school hockey tournament in the adjacent Xcel Energy Center, which is attached to the RiverCentre. Major manufacturers and entrepreneurs have the chance to showcase their products to players and fans.
Mike Vaughn will also be honored as the recipient of the 2016 Bob Perani Lifetime Achievement Award on March 4. In 1981, Vaughn started his goalie equipment company in his garage and now his products are available all over the world and worn by 82 percent of the goalies in the NHL.
NHL Considers Equipment Changes, Larger Goals to Increase Offense
The decline of goal-scoring has the NHL looking at decreasing the size of equipment for goaltenders and increasing the size of goal cages. It was a topic of discussion during a meeting of NHL general managers in November.
Through the first 215 games of the NHL season the average goals scored was at 5.32. Last season finished at 5.46 a game and in 2009-10 it was 5.53, according to a story on Yahoo.com.
Colin Campbell, the NHL senior vice president of hockey operations, said GMs, owners and the National Hockey League Players Association have agreed to an adjustment of goalie equipment for the 2016-17 season. Campbell said goalies have agreed to the changes, but if they don't work, looking at bigger nets is an option.
Campbell said he has several prototypes of larger goals in the barn at his home. Before that happens, however, he said every attempt must be made to adjust the goalie equipment.
A change to a larger goal cage would also have an impact at other levels of play that would want to use nets that were the same as the NHL. There are also construction issues as a wider net would require new holes in an ice arena's cement.
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."
Roustan Ends Fight for Seat on Performance Sports Group Board
Former Bauer Chairman Graeme Roustan gave up his fight for a seat on the board of directors of Performance Sports Group, which owns Bauer, in late September. Roustan was Bauer chairman from 2008-2012 and planned to nominate himself as a candidate for director at the company's annual meeting Oct. 14 because of his dissatisfaction with PSG's plans.
Roustan is opposed to Bauer's foray into retail by opening its "Own The Moment" stores in the U.S. and Canada. The first store opened in suburban Boston in August and the second will open in suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul later this fall.
The PSG Board of Directors publicly released a letter to company shareholders, signed by board chairman Bernard McDonnell, that questioned Roustan's qualifications to be a director. The New York Post reported that Roustan could make a takeover bid for PSG that could surpass $1 billion.
Adidas Lands Seven-Year NHL Jersey Deal
The NHL and adidas announced a seven-year partnership that will make adidas the official outfitter of on-ice uniforms and official supplier of licensed apparel and headwear for the League starting with the 2017-18 season. Reebok, a brand owned by the adidas Group, is the NHL's current official outfitter.
In addition, the NHL, NHL Players' Association and adidas announced a partnership for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey that makes adidas the exclusive outfitter for authentic and replica jerseys for the eight-team tournament that will take place in Toronto from Sept. 17-Oct. 1, 2016.
"This is a big deal for us and we know it is for [adidas]," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
Bettman emphatically denied that the new partnership with adidas means advertising on NHL sweaters is coming in the near future. He said there have been no formal or informal discussions on the subject but there have been discussions about advertising on the World Cup jerseys.
Adidas will also be outfitting NHL dressing rooms with high-performance training footwear and apparel. CCM, which like Reebok is a brand owned by the adidas Group, will remain the NHL's official on-ice equipment supplier for the duration of the League's seven-year contract with adidas.
Click here to read more about the adidas-NHL jersey deal.