Easton Hockey is one of the preeminent brands in the world of hockey equipment. They have been innovators in multiple areas of sports and they continue to advance the state of technology in hockey equipment. Here is a collection of some of the more interesting parts of their Hockey history, primarily written by Easton through their web sites and their recent SEC public filing for Easton-Bell Sports (the parent company of Easton Sports).
Easton Hockey Overview
Easton Hockey is a leader as well, ranking atop the industry in sticks and gloves and growing faster in skates than any other company. Despite having been in existence for only 20 years, Easton Hockey has climbed the ladder so quickly because it has relied on the same strategy that catapulted the company to the forefront of the archery and baseball/softball industries: innovation.
In 1999, the Easton Hockey brand shot to the front line of the hockey stick business with the creation of the composite Synergy stick, the industry’s first one-piece hockey stick. Designed to weigh thirty percent less than the average stick without sacrificing strength, Synergy took the sport by storm, including the National Hockey League, where over 200 non-endorsed athletes choose Synergy.
The Synergy is just one of the sticks Easton manufactures. There are several wood and aluminum sticks as well. Easton carries a wide range of high-performance hockey equipment: from sticks, skates, blades and runners to gloves, protective gear and functional clothing, with many items available in junior sizes. Popular lines include the Z-Air, Ultra Lite and X-Treme styles, which are designed to meet Easton’s high standards for quality, durability and comfort. To complete the game, Easton also offers equipment bags, apparel and other hockey necessities through nationwide sporting goods stores and outlets.
The above section is from the Easton Sports web site
Easton Hockey Timeline of Major Milestones
Easton launches Stealth texalium/carbon fiber boot skate – lightest performance skate ever made! Sub-700 grams
Easton introduces Synergy II two-piece stick with Synergy technology
Easton launches Synergy Composite Skate – Multiple patents pending!
Easton launches THE STEALTH – ‘Most Dynamic Composite Stick in the WORLD!’
Easton introduces Uni-body Construction. This proprietary skate manufacturing process produces the most exact and most comfortable performance skate in hockey.
SyNergy Composite stick introduced, The lightest production stick in the World!
Patents issued on Focus Flex Innovation that is used on multiple Easton products.
Patented Parabolic Razor Bladz skating system introduced, allowing player to conserve energy while increasing performance.
Easton introduces pressurized air bladders to hockey protective equipment, increasing impact protection by as much as 33%.
First composite Hockey Blade introduced.
Over 150 NHL pros use Easton hockey sticks.
Easton sticks and gear for in-line and street hockey have created another growing market for the company.
The “Great One” Wayne Gretzky signs 7 year contract and endorses Easton sticks, gloves and protective equipment.
Easton introduces the first aluminum hockey stick and gains approval for its use in the NHL.
Their mission statement: To be the world leader in supplying high-performance sports equipment and components. To innovate, develop, manufacture and market all types of high-quality sports and recreational equipment and components that utilize our unique engineering and manufacturing capabilities and offer the consumer distinctly higher performance products.
The above information is from the Easton Hockey web site.
Easton-Bell Sports Business Overview
Easton-Bell Sports (the parent company of Easton) currently sells a broad range of products primarily under four brands:
- Easton ® (baseball, softball and ice hockey equipment, apparel and cycling components)
- Bell ® (cycling and action sports helmets and accessories)
- Giro ® (cycling and snow sports helmets and accessories)
- Riddell ® (football and baseball equipment and reconditioning services)
According to the SGMA, ice hockey attracted 1.8 million U.S. participants in 2006 and U.S. wholesale shipments of ice hockey equipment was approximately $200.0 million in 2006. We estimate that the Canadian ice hockey market is at least as large as the U.S. market in terms of participants and dollars spent. The SGMA reports that U.S. participation in ice hockey in 2006 has almost doubled at the high school level since 1990, fueled by an increase in female participation. Elite athletes represent an even faster growing segment of the ice hockey market, as evidenced by the fact that the number of National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) colleges sponsoring hockey teams in 2005 has almost doubled since 1990 to 207 teams.
We offer a broad line of ice hockey equipment and accessories (sticks, blades, skates, protective equipment and apparel) for ice hockey athletes and enthusiasts at all levels of competition. All of our ice hockey products are sold under the Easton brand name. We believe our sticks are used by more NHL players than any other brand. Ice hockey products accounted for approximately 15.5% and 14.7% of our net sales in 2007 and 2006, respectively.
Competition: In ice hockey, we primarily compete with Bauer Hockey, Reebok-CCM Hockey and Mission ITECH Hockey.
We manufacture composite ice hockey sticks and blades and certain cycling components at our facility in Tijuana, Mexico and custom ice hockey pants, gloves and skates at our facility in Quebec, Canada.
Introduction of New Products: In 2008, we expect to introduce several new products that capitalize on the strength of our brands. Those introductions include a new line of snow goggles and cycling sunglasses under the Giro brand and an expanded line of premium composite and aluminum bats and composite hockey sticks, along with the introduction of hockey helmets under the Easton brand.
This section is from the Easton-Bell Sports Inc. form 10-K filling for 2007