New York Hockey Journal- Top Shelf

Aug 05, 2017

By Leo Scaglione Jr.
Top shelf

From True’s custom VH to Bauer’s 3D Skate Lab to CCM’s FlexFrame technology, skate craftsmen are catering to high-end players like never before, and the trickle-down effect is marvelous
By Leo Scaglione Jr.

National Hockey League players demand the best.

They expect to perform at an elite level, individually and as a team. They hold their equipment to the same standard, too, particularly their skates, which is why ice skate companies keep raising the bar with their customization processes and sales experiences.

“There’s a lot of emphasis on the high end of the skate market right now and trying to create more value,” True Hockey senior marketing and business development manager Dave McNally said.

True is especially studying this segment since it has one player skate offering, which is 100 percent custom and sells at the premium price point.

“We acquired VH footwear last year, which was primarily a custom-skate business,” McNally explained. “We’ll continue to be a custom-skate business for at least the next year. You can’t buy our skates off the shelf; you must go to the store and get your foot scanned. The skate is built to your foot, which is why our way is unique.”

The foot-scanning software operates on an iPad and provides a 3D scan showing the measurements and mold of the foot. True is in the midst of a rollout at retail and aims to be finished by the end of this month. There will be 130 custom-fit centers throughout the United States and Canada in partnership with True’s current retailers. It’s a limited distribution, though, since True has over 650 retail partners.

The end goal is to provide players with the best-fitting skates possible.

“The consumer will go into the store, have their feet scanned, their order processed, and the data and the order will be sent to our factory in Winnipeg,” Mc-Nally said. “The skates will be built to that data and then shipped back to the store, so that the consumer can come back and pick up the skates and have them heat molded. Heat molding is an important part of the process, so it’s imperative that the consumer comes back and has that done.”

This autumn, True will have appointment-booking software available online, which will allow consumers to book a fitting with their local dealer.

“We want to make the process as efficient as we can,” McNally stated… more