|Type||Public (TSX: BAU)|
|Founded||Kitchener, ON, 1927|
|Headquarters||Exeter, NH, USA|
|Products||Ice hockey equipment, Rollerblades|
Bauer Performance Sports Ltd. (renamed Nike Bauer during 2005–2008) is one of the leading manufacturers of ice hockey equipment, fitness and recreational skates, and apparel. Bauer produces helmets, gloves, sticks, skates, shin guards, pants, shoulder pads, elbow pads, as well as goalie equipment. Bauer primarily developed and manufactured hockey skates prior to 1990, when it acquired the hockey assets of Cooper Canada Ltd.
History of Bauer Innovation
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2009)|
In 1927, the Bauer family, owners of Western shoe Company, established the Bauer company as it is known today in Kitchener, Ontario.
Bauer was the first hockey company to begin producing hockey skates in which the blade was permanently secured to the boot. The boot was made by Bauer and the skate blade by the now-defunct Starr Manufacturing Company in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. This innovation was originally marketed under the trade name "Bauer Supreme".
The arrival of the George Tackaberry boot, made by CCM under the "Tacks" trademark (the Tackaberry name having been acquired by CCM in 1937) saw a shift in the balance of power. The Tackaberry boot with CCM Pro-Lite blade would be worn by all NHL scoring champions from 1939 through 1969. The "Tacks" series of CCM skates would later be retired by Reebok in 2006.
The Bauer name returned to prominence after the company undertook a pioneering step of paying superstar Bobby Hull to endorse their skates. This move, and the introduction soon after of the TUUK chassis, ushered in a new era for the company.
The current National Hockey League rule banning the use of fancy skates was introduced on September 24, 1927. At the time, this effectively outlawed all skates other than tube skates. The plastic/rubber stopper seen on the heel of later tube skates was developed by CCM in 1960 following an injury to the Montreal Canadiens' Maurice "Rocket" Richard in the 1958–59 season. It was made mandatory by the NHL in 1964.
Then in the early 1970s, Jim Roberts, also of the Canadiens, began wearing the now famous TUUK blade. High-profile teammates Guy Lafleur, Steve Shutt, and Jacques Lemaire soon followed. The success of this blade chassis was such that by 1995, the various Canstar skate brands (Micron, Bauer, etc.) had a 70% NHL market share while their TUUK and ICM holders combined for a 95% share. (Note: Bauer no longer offers the ICM holder on player skates, although it is still offered with goalie skates, in addition to the TUUK cowling.)
In 1994, Bauer began producing the perforated TUUK chassis, which is the piece of equipment that connects the steel blade to the actual boot of the skate. This revolutionized the sport of hockey because it allowed skates to be made lighter, as well as more durable. Their current flagship skate is called the Bauer Supreme TotalOne NXG. This new skate boot utilizes a non epoxy-based material that reportedly weighs 35-45% less than its predecessor, the Supreme One95 (a skate that only weighed 750 grams in a size 8). This low weight was achieved without the use of perforated runners. This skate is worn by players, including Mike Fisher, Eric Cole and Milan Lucic. For those who want a skate similar to the One95s, the new Supreme One100 was released at the price of $599. Spec for spec, it is identical to the One95 with the main update being the new 3D anaformable ALIVE composite upper quarter package. An average of five players per NHL team wear Bauer Vapor Skates. MSRP at launch was $860, but the average street price is presently about $450. The latest Vapor skate is the Vapor APX succeeding the Vapor X:60 respectively. Bauer also released the new X7.0 for players who wanted a skate identical to the X:60. This skate is very popular to all kinds of player and is actually preferred over the APX by many NHL pros such as Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Teemu Selanne.
In 1994, Canstar, the parent company of Bauer, became a wholly owned subsidiary of Nike. In 2006, beginning with the release of the Nike Bauer Supreme One90, the company's products were rebranded as Nike Bauer. This was the first time Nike had ever used a partner brand name on a product. Nike has since divested itself of Bauer, the Nike Bauer name and logo has been discontinued and the company reverted to being known as just Bauer.
The company was sold to investors Roustan, Inc. and Kohlberg & Co., on February 21, 2008 and the company is once again known as Bauer.
- 1927 Bauer family of Kitchener starts company.
- 1933 Company develops the first skate with the blade attached to boot.
- 1950s Bauer becomes a division of shoe giant Greb Industries.
- 1974 Warrington Products, controlled by Bronfman family, buys Greb.
- 1975 Company launches the TUUK blade holder.
- 1981 Ski and skate boot entrepreneur Icaro Olivieri merges his company with Warrington.
- 1988 Olivieri and investment group executes leveraged buyout of struggling Warrington and renames it Canstar Sports. Firm focuses on hockey equipment.
- 1992 Hockey star Eric Lindros joins Bauer team.
- 1995 Nike buys Canstar, Bauer’s parent company, for $395 million.
- 1997 Bauer introduces the lightweight VAPOR skate and a better helmet with dual density foam.
- 2005 Company develops the VAPOR XXX one piece stick.
- 2008 Quebec-based Roustan Inc. and U.S.-based private equity firm Kohlberg & Co. purchase Nike’s Bauer assets for $200 million.
- 2010 Bauer buys Maverik Lacrosse.
- 2011 Company announces plan to become a public company with a listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange.