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History of Bauer

The owners of Western Shoe Company, the Bauer family, established the Bauer company as it is known today in 1927 in Kitchener, Ontario. Bauer would grow over the years, buying up smaller rivals such as Micron. But in 1994, Nike announced the acquisition of Canstar, the parent company of Bauer. The purchase was completed in February of 1995.

Bauer was the first hockey company to begin producing hockey skates in which the blade was attached to the boot. The boot was made by Bauer and the skate blade by the now-defunct Starr Manufacturing Company. This new product was then marketed under the trade name “Bauer Supreme”.

But the arrival of the legendary George Tackaberry boot, now made by CCM (The Hockey Company) under the Tacks trademark – the Tackaberry name having been acquired by CCM in 1937 – saw a shift in the balance of power to Bauer’s rival. The Tackaberry boot with CCM Pro-Lite blade would be worn by all NHL scoring champions from 1939 through 1969.

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 holder, ushered in a new era for the company.

The current NHL 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 Montréal Canadiens’ Maurice “Rocket” Richard in the 1958-59 season. It was made mandatory by the NHL in 1964.

Then in the early 1970’s, 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 (Mega, 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 Nike Bauer Supreme One90, which weighs in at an amazingly light 750 grams in a size 8. Ironically enough though, this low weight was achieved without the use of perforated runners.

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