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Disclaimer: 1. This is not a discussion of who’s products perform the best, but who is driving the thought lead and innovation in products at this moment

Why is Bauer #️⃣1️⃣ in my opinion⁉️ 

1. 960 mask, most copied product in hockey. Bauer also ignited the conversation around packing technology into a mask. 2. No cowling skate. 1S was the first no cowling skate on the market. Every brand has since created an entry. 3. Pad performance technology becoming the driving item with consumers. OD1N changed the way people looked at the performance possible in a goalie pad. 4. Stabiliside. Everyone will have a version of this by 2022-2023. 5. Printed graphics. The design potential is unlimited and other brands are headed there too. 6. They make every single piece of gear a goalie could want. Can’t sleep on the benefits of having a product in every category. 
 

9CAE8ACC-9860-428A-BB26-02A90ABA9927.jpeg

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It's obvious that Bauer is leading the charge for R&D, design influence, and even getting guys to full on switch. The "exodus" of pros that went to Bauer after the release of the 1S was something to see.

You putting True/CCM above Brians is a travesty though. True/CCM is so heavily reliant on the Lefevre name and that's based more on legacy (like Vaughn) than anything. Only thing really of note were True's custom skates that influenced the market.

Brians at least was the spearhead for the strapless pad and was up there with Bauer for the faster sliding surface design. True/CCM have always been market followers in my opinion.

Warrior is still ahead of Vaughn, but they're stagnating quite a bit.

 

 

Edited by coopaloop1234
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Great topic of discussion but I can still see people derailing this thread into some irrelevance with non NHL brands.

 

Nonetheless, I somewhat agree with your list and it's ranking. if you were to decide to open a hockey store in the modern era and sell goalie products, you simply wouldn't be one without offering CCM and Bauer. Say what you want but I can almost guarantee every goalie owns and wears at least one piece of CCM or Bauer gear even if they're not wearing the 5 big pieces. When you offer skates to mask and everything in between, you're definitely in a position to be more recognizable and influential in the hockey shop industry. They also have the funds to push R&D towards the future.

 

As much as goalies are traditionalists, they also like the newest and hottest fads in goalie stuff which is why I think True is a little high on the list. Sure, Canadian made gear is fantastic but hypothetically if all 5 companies went overseas with their pro grade gear, would goalies throw up their arms and retire from the position? Don't think so. True is just popular right now because of all the goalies they've managed to snatch from CCM and Bauer. I make no bones about the fact that their gear is good. But from a consumer's standpoint it's still CCM gear with no D30 and new lipstick. Besides, unless they decide to offer a 2nd tier of gear, junior sized gear, accessories etc, they can continue to pay NHL fees all they want if they're satisfied appealing to that certain demographic. I don't see much innovation there, frankly. I see popularity.

 

Brian's is holding steady, sort of. Sure, they were once known to be the kings of true custom gear with their graphics and functional options but let's face facts, almost all goalie companies offer that now and if they don't, they will. And I'm probably gonna piss off a lot of people by saying this but let's lay all the cards on the table okay? They don't offer skates, they don't have any certified products, their chest/arms have been hit or miss for years, pants are decent at best and really the only guys I know buying their jocks, knee pads and sticks are those die hard Brian's-wearing guys. And their junior gear along with their 2nd tier gloves, blocker and pads....I dunno who's buying that stuff. I don't have a bad thing to say about their pro level gear, it feels great and it's built well. They're always finding new ways to make their gloves feel and close better.

 

All I will say about Warrior is they make a great, innovative and feel good product but the salesman has to work a little bit harder to make that sale. Their gear is awesome at every age and price range. That aside, accessories, chest/arms and mask are all fantastic. When they day comes that they crack the NHL with a big name starter, they'll take off I feel.

 

As for Vaughn...well.....I think I could spend all day on those guys with their good and bad. They're trying to be as innovative as the other guys they're just really slow at doing it. Like jeez I think it took over 10 years to offer more than silver and black transfers on the face of gear, yikes. But they're that company you can always rely on

 

Also my pick for Number 1: Bauer

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If we swap the term influential for innovative I'd buy the arguments presented, and I think I'd put Warrior above True as well.  Aside from being the first (I believe?) with custom skates I think Warrior has done more to bring new features and approaches to making goalie gear.  Lefevre took a really good CCM line and made some tweaks to craft the L20.1 and now L12.2, but I don't think they're truly innovative lines, but they perform well and are obviously of first rate quality.  

Vaughn probably deserves to be in last place with regard to innovation, but I don't care.  With what I was looking for in a pad, the V9 (with a decent amount of customization) ended up being one of probably only two options I could have reasonably picked and I expect them to be nothing short of awesome for my game and how I play.  Plenty of NHLers clearly feel the same way.

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Saw this on Instagram. 

I can see most of this, but putting the Bauer 960 up there is a tough sell. For starters, this was a product that Bauer bought. While they have developed it further, and while other mask makers have copied the shell shape, there is absolutely nothing about a time-traveled Jerry Wright-built 960/961 from 1991 that wouldn't suffice in the NHL today. Plus, the Lefevbre 590 glove would like to have a word with you regarding being the most derivative goalie product. 

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55 minutes ago, ULTIMA said:

As much as goalies are traditionalists, they also like the newest and hottest fads in goalie stuff which is why I think True is a little high on the list. Sure, Canadian made gear is fantastic but hypothetically if all 5 companies went overseas with their pro grade gear, would goalies throw up their arms and retire from the position? Don't think so. True is just popular right now because of all the goalies they've managed to snatch from CCM and Bauer. I make no bones about the fact that their gear is good. But from a consumer's standpoint it's still CCM gear with no D30 and new lipstick. Besides, unless they decide to offer a 2nd tier of gear, junior sized gear, accessories etc, they can continue to pay NHL fees all they want if they're satisfied appealing to that certain demographic. I don't see much innovation there, frankly. I see popularity.

I think you're right about True/Lefevre, but there's a lot to say about True/VH and how they changed the skate business. Prior to True/VH, custom skates were not something most people thought about purchasing. Only the biggest gear nerds or people with truly troublesome feet were looking at custom as an option. And back in the day, custom skate order forms were essentially an Excel file with a couple drop down boxes and maybe a tracing of your feet. It was sort of an arcane process at the retail level.

In comes True with the iPad scanner. Scans can be done quickly and accurately. Customers can see what their foot looks like, highlight problem areas, and have pictures taken to show the factory what needs to be done. True has really leveraged technology and opened the market for custom skates. Nowadays, custom skates are something almost everyone knows about. A lot of people consider it an option over stock skates, even if their feet are not particularly troublesome, especially in goalie, where we don't have many skate models to choose from.

Bauer and CCM have followed True with their foot scanners. Bauer has specifically collected data on all the feet ever scanned on their 3D skate lab scanners to formulate the new Fit 1, 2 and 3 for their higher-end player skates. CCM is also transitioning to a three fit system for their higher-end player skates beginning in 2021. Would all of this have happened without True? Probably. But maybe True's disruption of the skate world has accelerated and/or inspired some of these moves that the Big Two are making.

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52 minutes ago, dualshowman said:

Plus, the Lefevbre 590 glove would like to have a word with you regarding being the most derivative goalie product. 

The Brian's Altra 750 would like a word with the 590.

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16 minutes ago, ZeroGravitas said:

....back in the day, custom skate order forms were essentially an Excel file with a couple drop down boxes and maybe a tracing of your feet. It was sort of an arcane process at the retail level.

bauer and ccm did custom skates as far back as at least 94.  They they mold the foot.

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What metric(s) are we using to rank these brands?  Pro adoption? Retail sales?  Innovating on a "big ticket" ideas that other companies have adopted?

Below are the big ticket ideas of each, I probably missed a few, maybe others can help me flesh it out.

  1. Bauer -
    •  +: CORTech, cowlingless skates, composite sticks, Poron XRD, CURV composite, Innegra mask inner layer
  2. True -
    • +: Custom skate process
  3. Warrior -
    • +: Ritual line, C/A arms (robo arms)
  4. Brian's -
    • Optislide, smart strapping
  5. CCM -
    • D30, menu-driven custom program
  6. Vaughn -
    • Carbon fiber inserts, Scrivens strap

Since a few folks brought up acquisitions, these are the ones I can think of -

  1. Bauer - Itech, who bought Jerry Wright's designs.  The 960 is 30+ years old.  Does this still count as "innovation" at this point
  2. True - Lefevre.  3 out of their 4 lines are legacy products from their time with CCM.  Bought VH for their custom skates
  3. Warrior - Innovative(?) for their stick technology.  Contracted/brought in Pete Smith to start the Ritual line (Messiah was a total disaster IIRC
  4. CCM - if we really wanna go back, acquisitions of Heaton/Koho/Jofa/Canadien/Titan
  5. Vaughn - Graf, Eagle, Tackla, Brian's.  Partnership with Pro's Choice

 

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Well, this is gonna be interesting.

I won't go into crazy details but off the top of my head: Bauer has led into the mask department but a lot of small brands could hold their own in the show if it were not about budgets. When the ODN1 pad came out, Pete Smith introduced his 6000 which flipped the switch as well and FMade by Dennis (then Piku) introduced his full one piece landing/sliding flap. Lets dig back and revisit the CCM Blockades which was way ahead of the game and quite resembles where Bauer went with the ODN1 pads. The Sher-wood Ceberus was the first line to introduce the one piece glove I believe. Jennison out of BC also comes to mind as the one piece glove.

Warrior has a special thing going on but, despite the good success of the R/G5 line, are they going to become a one trick pony outfit? Pete has crazy talent in the creativity department and I'm very curious as to what he will think up next.

True...lets just call it for what it is; Lefevre. They are a brand that has a HUGE following even if they have barely change anything in their gear the past decade or so. All I can say is that somewhere in a dark room CCM is in face palm mode.

Vaughn is still present in the show, surprisingly. The few that stay loyal to them are the old school feel mentalities. Ex: despite his modern game, you'll never see Rask try something else, let alone switch to a different brand/style.

Skates are a little tricky. I thought True (can't remember their prior name) was the first to do a cowling-less skate? Although the current market trend is no cowling skates, quite a few in the show are still sporting cowling skates. Will one of the companies came back with a cowling model to reflect the small pro trend? Who knows. I think a cowling option as well as a 4mm option should still be available somewhere.

Brian's has always stood on its own IMO. They offered the most custom graphic options for the longest time, catered to both the old school/hybrid and modern pro-fly goalie. Their c/a has been a constant hit and like Warrior, they try to push the envelope as much as possible. 

I will agree that Bauer and CCM are the only two that offer full on gear from head to toe and beyond. That alone, regardless of innovations keeps them in the loop for those looking for a one-stop-shop experience or the first timers.

What I can see in the show in terms of who holds ground in what area: True for pads/glove followed closely by Bauer. C/A is ruled by both CCM and Vaughn. Pants are clearly CCM. Masks are mostly Bauer. Skates are shared between True and Bauer. Sticks are clearly Warrior followed by True.

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Definitely agree with the Vaughn consensus, however one thing about vaughn that other companies just don't have is the core customization options for the average customer. Vaughn can build almost anything you want in a pad while other companies will only make an entirely custom specced pad for pros. 

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20 minutes ago, Charlie T said:

Definitely agree with the Vaughn consensus, however one thing about vaughn that other companies just don't have is the core customization options for the average customer. Vaughn can build almost anything you want in a pad while other companies will only make an entirely custom specced pad for pros. 

I had heard that Mike Vaughn was stubborn about doing changes to gear structure at retail. ??

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1 hour ago, RichMan said:

I had heard that Mike Vaughn was stubborn about doing changes to gear structure at retail. ??

The V9 offers core stiffness options for both the thigh rise and scoop/boot right on the order form.  Dennis was perfectly happy to do the stock boot and stiff thigh rise on my set.  
 

I made quite a few other changes to them too, and the only upcharge was for layering carbon fiber on the face of the pad like they do in the SLR2s, and it was only $95.  Honestly had a great experience working with them. Can’t wait to get them!

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On 2/19/2021 at 3:18 PM, ZeroGravitas said:

I think you're right about True/Lefevre, but there's a lot to say about True/VH and how they changed the skate business. Prior to True/VH, custom skates were not something most people thought about purchasing. Only the biggest gear nerds or people with truly troublesome feet were looking at custom as an option. And back in the day, custom skate order forms were essentially an Excel file with a couple drop down boxes and maybe a tracing of your feet. It was sort of an arcane process at the retail level.

In comes True with the iPad scanner. Scans can be done quickly and accurately. Customers can see what their foot looks like, highlight problem areas, and have pictures taken to show the factory what needs to be done. True has really leveraged technology and opened the market for custom skates. Nowadays, custom skates are something almost everyone knows about. A lot of people consider it an option over stock skates, even if their feet are not particularly troublesome, especially in goalie, where we don't have many skate models to choose from.

Bauer and CCM have followed True with their foot scanners. Bauer has specifically collected data on all the feet ever scanned on their 3D skate lab scanners to formulate the new Fit 1, 2 and 3 for their higher-end player skates. CCM is also transitioning to a three fit system for their higher-end player skates beginning in 2021. Would all of this have happened without True? Probably. But maybe True's disruption of the skate world has accelerated and/or inspired some of these moves that the Big Two are making.

I totally forgot about True acquiring VH, I'll agree with that - yes their skates were a game changer and put True on the map of hockey and showed they could potentially be a player. Warrior started out the same way just doing sticks and some protective and 10 years later they have almost everything to offer except skates. I do think Warrior should have gone after Graf and slapped their logo on their skates.

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10 hours ago, RichMan said:

I had heard that Mike Vaughn was stubborn about doing changes to gear structure at retail. ??

It's been no secret that Mike Vaughn has been stubborn on a number of issues and has put his foot in his mouth. I do recall him saying that other brands' pro level gear is only as good as his 2nd tier gear.

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With True and Warrior having deep-pocketed ownership, I'd think they'll both offer head to toe equipment in the next few years to compete with CCM and Bauer. If I remember correctly, aren't sticks and skates the most lucrative segment of the industry?

Warrior would be crazy to not enter the skate segment IMO, especially with the cred/tech of New Balance behind it. True will probably continue the Lefebvre mask design (made by Bombardier I think? unless that's an issue with CCM), and pants/CA's/accessories seem like an easy add-on for them.

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Now that I think about it an interesting idea would be for true to acquire McKenney. I’m not sure it makes any sense with Lefevre already let of the True family but with mckenneys knowledge in pants and chest protectors it could be what they need

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2 hours ago, ThatCarGuy said:

Now that I think about it an interesting idea would be for true to acquire McKenney. I’m not sure it makes any sense with Lefevre already let of the True family but with mckenneys knowledge in pants and chest protectors it could be what they need

Meh. Reverse engineering a pant or c/a is rocket surgery. In fact I thought Lefevre already has a c/a that simply hasn't been released yet. 

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1 hour ago, BadAngle41 said:

Meh. Reverse engineering a pant or c/a is rocket surgery. In fact I thought Lefevre already has a c/a that simply hasn't been released yet. 

Maybe bring back the unicorn once again?

Mckenney's pants are bomb proof just like Brown. Their high end c/a has always garnered strong reviews. 

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On 2/19/2021 at 12:53 PM, coopaloop1234 said:

It's obvious that Bauer is leading the charge for R&D, design influence, and even getting guys to full on switch. The "exodus" of pros that went to Bauer after the release of the 1S was something to see.

You putting True/CCM above Brians is a travesty though. True/CCM is so heavily reliant on the Lefevre name and that's based more on legacy (like Vaughn) than anything. Only thing really of note were True's custom skates that influenced the market.

Brians at least was the spearhead for the strapless pad and was up there with Bauer for the faster sliding surface design. True/CCM have always been market followers in my opinion.

Warrior is still ahead of Vaughn, but they're stagnating quite a bit.

 

 

True comments - IMO, influence has many pieces. The fact that 80% of pros wear there skates and 40% of goalies use their gear mean they are influential just based in volumes. They will have a mask and chesty in the NHL in 21-22. Stock retail skates coming this spring. They are going to splash. Splash means impact to me.

Brian's - First off, hard to be truly influential when you are not every category. We all own at least 1 piece of Bauer or CCM because of masks, skates, or sticks. If they have a place in all our bags, they are more influential. If I want to get knit picky... Smart Strapping is over 10 years old. It's time to move the next thing. Brian's is still good to me though because the BOA on the glove is still unmatched. Many of the new pads coming right now look like Optik so I give kudos to Brian's there. Reminds of how every new pad in 2005 looked like a Premier or a Velo. No top binding, stiff core, soft boot, ultra thin profile, hard rebounds, and sliding enhanced material. Bauer has those attributes, but marches to their own drummer. I don't lump them in with the Optik clone crowd

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29 minutes ago, TheGoalNet said:

True comments - IMO, influence has many pieces. The fact that 80% of pros wear there skates and 40% of goalies use their gear mean they are influential just based in volumes. They will have a mask and chesty in the NHL in 21-22. Stock retail skates coming this spring. They are going to splash. Splash means impact to me.

Brian's - First off, hard to be truly influential when you are not every category. We all own at least 1 piece of Bauer or CCM because of masks, skates, or sticks. If they have a place in all our bags, they are more influential. If I want to get knit picky... Smart Strapping is over 10 years old. It's time to move the next thing. Brian's is still good to me though because the BOA on the glove is still unmatched. Many of the new pads coming right now look like Optik so I give kudos to Brian's there. Reminds of how every new pad in 2005 looked like a Premier or a Velo. No top binding, stiff core, soft boot, ultra thin profile, hard rebounds, and sliding enhanced material. Bauer has those attributes, but marches to their own drummer. I don't lump them in with the Optik clone crowd

I guess it mostly comes down to how we determine influence. I mostly attributed influence as how each respective company has influenced the evolution of gear.

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On 2/19/2021 at 9:48 AM, TheGoalNet said:

Disclaimer: 1. This is not a discussion of who’s products perform the best, but who is driving the thought lead and innovation in products at this moment

Why is Bauer #️⃣1️⃣ in my opinion⁉️ 

1. 960 mask, most copied product in hockey.

 

2 hours ago, TheGoalNet said:

If I want to get knit picky... Smart Strapping is over 10 years old.

Cherry picking comments here, but the 960 shape has been around for over 30 years?

RE: "most copied product in hockey" - IMO the original Vaughn Velocity 1 earns this one.
It seems like everyone had a copy out within a year of that pad release... from the obvious (Battram), to fringe companies (Sherwood, Torspo, D&R, Hespeler...list goes on).  The bigger manufacturers would follow after - Itech (9.8?), Bauer (X90?), CCM (Eflex1)

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18 hours ago, coopaloop1234 said:

I guess it mostly comes down to how we determine influence. I mostly attributed influence as how each respective company has influenced the evolution of gear.

Fair, that's the beauty of this. It's about stimulating discussion.

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On 2/19/2021 at 1:02 PM, ULTIMA said:

Great topic of discussion but I can still see people derailing this thread into some irrelevance with non NHL brands.

 

Nonetheless, I somewhat agree with your list and it's ranking. if you were to decide to open a hockey store in the modern era and sell goalie products, you simply wouldn't be one without offering CCM and Bauer. Say what you want but I can almost guarantee every goalie owns and wears at least one piece of CCM or Bauer gear even if they're not wearing the 5 big pieces. When you offer skates to mask and everything in between, you're definitely in a position to be more recognizable and influential in the hockey shop industry. They also have the funds to push R&D towards the future.

 

As much as goalies are traditionalists, they also like the newest and hottest fads in goalie stuff which is why I think True is a little high on the list. Sure, Canadian made gear is fantastic but hypothetically if all 5 companies went overseas with their pro grade gear, would goalies throw up their arms and retire from the position? Don't think so. True is just popular right now because of all the goalies they've managed to snatch from CCM and Bauer. I make no bones about the fact that their gear is good. But from a consumer's standpoint it's still CCM gear with no D30 and new lipstick. Besides, unless they decide to offer a 2nd tier of gear, junior sized gear, accessories etc, they can continue to pay NHL fees all they want if they're satisfied appealing to that certain demographic. I don't see much innovation there, frankly. I see popularity.

 

Brian's is holding steady, sort of. Sure, they were once known to be the kings of true custom gear with their graphics and functional options but let's face facts, almost all goalie companies offer that now and if they don't, they will. And I'm probably gonna piss off a lot of people by saying this but let's lay all the cards on the table okay? They don't offer skates, they don't have any certified products, their chest/arms have been hit or miss for years, pants are decent at best and really the only guys I know buying their jocks, knee pads and sticks are those die hard Brian's-wearing guys. And their junior gear along with their 2nd tier gloves, blocker and pads....I dunno who's buying that stuff. I don't have a bad thing to say about their pro level gear, it feels great and it's built well. They're always finding new ways to make their gloves feel and close better.

 

All I will say about Warrior is they make a great, innovative and feel good product but the salesman has to work a little bit harder to make that sale. Their gear is awesome at every age and price range. That aside, accessories, chest/arms and mask are all fantastic. When they day comes that they crack the NHL with a big name starter, they'll take off I feel.

 

As for Vaughn...well.....I think I could spend all day on those guys with their good and bad. They're trying to be as innovative as the other guys they're just really slow at doing it. Like jeez I think it took over 10 years to offer more than silver and black transfers on the face of gear, yikes. But they're that company you can always rely on

 

Also my pick for Number 1: Bauer

I highlighted what you said in "bold" and "orange" that I really agree with. Exactly where my head was at.

True: True is the number 1 skate brand in the NHL, 80% use. True is the number brand for set ups in the NHL, 45% use. So being #1 is skates and setups in influential. True has retail stock skates coming this spring.

Right now, they have holes in their product line, but they are HOT right now. They have wind at their sails. If they get the Jr gear, masks, etc rolled out quickly, they should succeed? Time will tell.

Brian's: Never count Brian's out. Their gear performs solidly. People love the made in canada. They have a "fun" vibe around this brand. But yes, I agree, if I wanted to paint a picture that Brian's outlook is Foggy... I could make make that argument.

 

Warrior: Hard to call a brand "influential" that only has sticks in the NHL. It's not the only piece of influence, but any goalie can say it's unusual that Warrior has no pads in the NHL

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On 2/22/2021 at 9:55 AM, motowngoalie said:

With True and Warrior having deep-pocketed ownership, I'd think they'll both offer head to toe equipment in the next few years to compete with CCM and Bauer. If I remember correctly, aren't sticks and skates the most lucrative segment of the industry?

Warrior would be crazy to not enter the skate segment IMO, especially with the cred/tech of New Balance behind it. True will probably continue the Lefebvre mask design (made by Bombardier I think? unless that's an issue with CCM), and pants/CA's/accessories seem like an easy add-on for them.

It's my understanding that New Balance is shopping Warrior. Same as Adidas and Nike pulling out. Hard goods is a hard business compared to sneakers or moisture wicking sweat pants.  Not sure how much Warrior wants to spend on skate development right now

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