Easton Ice Skates
Easton started out in 1922 making arrows and bows, they made their first Aluminum bow in 1939.
It wasn't until the 1980's that they started to develop a line of revolutionary hockey products, but they took time to catch on. A major step towards acceptance came in the late 1980s when top goal scoring forward Brett Hull began to use Easton aluminum sticks on the ice, but the turning point took place in 1990 when superstar Wayne Gretzky, who had been traded two years earlier to the Los Angeles Kings, visited Easton to try its sticks. He liked the product so much that he agreed to a seven-year, $2 million endorsement deal, providing Easton with instant credibility in the hockey world. By 1994, more than 150 NHL players would be using Easton hockey products. The company introduced its Ultra Lite composite plastic hockey stick and X-Treme Graphite blade, developed with significant input from Paul Kariya of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and other NHL players. Although Easton was capable of producing hockey sticks and blades much lighter than traditional wood versions, it was the players who advised the developers about the need for weight in certain situations, such as winding up for a slap shot. As a result, Easton added weight to the composite material to produce a stick that was lighter than wood and stronger, yet provided the feel that a player required. The sticks proved so popular with professional players, that Easton signed very few to stick deals, because most of them simply preferred to use Easton sticks whether they were compensated or not. By 2000, nearly 40 percent of NHL players used Easton sticks, far more than any of the older, traditional brands like Bauer, Titan, CCM, and Koho.
Easton also became involved in other ice hockey and roller hockey products. In the late 1990s, the company introduce its parabolic blade technology for ice skates, the patented Razor Blade skating system, which used a flex zone between the holder and the runner to transfer energy from the foot to blade, resulting in 25 percent tighter turns and better glide while allowing the skater to conserve energy. The stainless steel blades could also be removed from the graphite holder and replaced. In 2001, Easton introduced the Z-Air Skate, which created a comfortable, high-performance hockey skate combining a thermally activated composite construction, air-foamed latex ankle pads, and side cut tongue to fill in empty space around the foot. These were also the first skates to provide a drainage system to release moisture and keep them lighter, stiffer, and dryer after a game. In addition, they were heat moldable for a tighter fit or to make them ready to wear right out of the box.
In 2011 Easton-Bell Sports announced its largest and most aggressive commitment in skate innovation when it purchased the MLX Skate’s technology. The newly created Easton Speed Institute will combine MLX’s innovative skate insights with Easton’s design and engineering prowess, leading to a new skate concept expected to be in market for the 2013 hockey season.
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