02 May 2006
Montreal, Quebec (Canada), May 2, 2006 - As the National Hockey League regular season has come to a close, RBK Hockey marks its first anniversary, and it has lots to celebrate. When NHL players returned from their one year absence due to the lock-out, RBK hockey hit the ice with them, changing the face of the game forever. The new line of RBK Hockey equipment and apparel was also chosen by the American Hockey League (AHL), the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) and the ECHL immediately after it was launched. RBK Hockey has quickly played a leading role among European Elite Leagues where its adoption rate leads all other brands.
"The strategy behind the launch of RBK Hockey has proven to be the most effective plan the global hockey industry has seen in many years," says Matt O'Toole, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Hockey Company. "An uncompromised dedication to Product Innovation, Pro Athlete Usage and an effective Marketing Communications plan has succeeded in placing RBK Hockey as the head-to-toe brand of choice for hockey players throughout the world."
RBK Hockey Product - Visibly different, Demonstrably better A major part of RBK's success has been predicated on the development of superior products. RBK subscribes to the notion that "product is king". With the goal of offering a full product line that is visibly different and demonstrably better than anything on the ice, RBK Hockey has created a dynamic and eye-catching look backed by innovation and cutting edge technologies. The product launch was focused on developing an innovative high-end line of Hockey products, tested by top caliber Pro players in order to conquer the professional hockey markets. To enhance this authentic product quality, the RBK Hockey line was developed and designed in The Hockey Company's brand new Research and Innovation Center in Montreal.
RBK Hockey's proprietary FitLite™ Technology introduced leading innovation and cutting-edge technology to the hockey helmet category. The 360 degree, fully adjustable RBK 8k helmet is designed for elite hockey players and is the lightest helmet available on the market. It features the lightweight composite micro SubShell, which is exclusive to RBK. In RBK's inaugural year, 20% of all NHL players have already adopted the RBK 8k helmet. It's no wonder that the RBK products sold at retail bear the coveted NHL Platinum Shield indicating that these products are the same products worn by NHL players.
Pro Athlete Usage 99% of all NHL players use at least one piece of RBK hockey equipment! RBK quickly established its leading position when the NHL adopted new standards for protective products for its players. RBK is already the benchmark in terms of protective equipment standards to which all other brands compare (or cannot compare). Patented technology including JDP, Hyper-X and ASD are at the forefront of player safety.
In Europe, RBK Hockey was the top pick for helmets and gloves during the World Championships in Vienna, Austria. RBK was also one of the most visible brands at the Copenhagen World Cup. In addition, the RBK Hockey helmet and gloves were exclusive to the German national Women's team at the Turino Olympic Games. RBK also dominates the Swedish Elite League with protective equipment and gloves.
RBK is the exclusive supplier of all authentic on-ice jerseys worn by the players across all 30 NHL teams. RBK is also the exclusive supplier of all NHL replica and practice jerseys. Millions of hockey fans around the world see the Vector icon every day. The RBK hockey logo is a constant presence everywhere both on and off the ice.
RBK Hockey has quickly dominated the goalie world as well, by becoming the overall number 1 goalie brand in the NHL, the AHL and the CHL. This is a staggering statistic in only its first year of existence. 48% of all NHL goalies have switched to RBK equipment. The brand boasts a strong stable of endorsees in front of the net with the likes of goalies that include: Roberto Luongo (Florida Panthers), Curtis Joseph (Phoenix Coyotes), Jean-Sébastien Giguère (Anaheim Mighty Ducks), Mathieu Garon (Los Angeles Kings), Marc-André Fleury (Pittsburgh Penguins), Andrew Raycroft (Boston Bruins) and David Aebischer (Montreal Canadiens).
Marketing Communications RBK Innovation is not limited to its high performance products. RBK Hockey is also under the spotlight as the exclusive sponsor of the red and blue lines on the boards of every NHL rink, a strategic area of camera-visible exposure that was never accorded to any other brand in the past. The RBK launch campaign was executed in two stages. The first phase of the global campaign was under the signature statement "The Switch is on". "The Switch is on" banked on innovation with an objective to "Rethink, Redefine and Recreate" the performance in the world of hockey. The campaign was carried on several fronts such as television, print media, website and in-arena. A major targeted RBK Hockey direct mail campaign generated quick awareness with more than 500,000 registered hockey players receiving a personalized RBK launch package in their home, showcasing the new innovative product. It's no wonder players everywhere started switching to RBK Hockey.
"The Next One" RBK Hockey reached new heights of glory thanks to a rookie named Sidney Crosby. The first overall pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2005 NHL draft, this incredible rising star has proudly adopted RBK equipment and apparel. At the young age of 18, Crosby has immediately captured everybody's attention as the potential successor to the "The Great One", Wayne Gretzky. As the regular NHL season has come to a close, Crosby has become the youngest rookie to score 100 or more points in the NHL.
Sidney Crosby has been at the forefront of the second phase of the RBK Hockey launch and is the most popular face behind the RBK Hockey product line. The now very popular RBK mesh back cap he was wearing at the launch press conference became the number one selling cap in Canada! Crosby was the first NHL player ever featured in RBK's global "I am what I am" marketing campaign including a 30 second television ad, print ads, in-store point of purchase displays, and on the web site (http://www.rbkhockey.com/). The RBK "I am what I am" Crosby television spot was launched on NBC National television across North America during game broadcasts.
Following Crosby's lead, other talented NHL stars signed on with RBK Hockey allowing the brand to announce endorsement partnerships with top players such as Chris Pronger, Pavel Datsyuk, Tony Amonte, Patrice Bergeron, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Dion Phaneuf, Alex Tanguay and Nik Antropov.
Sidney Crosby also has his own RBK Signature line of apparel, capitalizing on his popularity, both on and off the ice.
The success of RBK Hockey represents a tremendous opportunity for the brand to further strengthen its global sporting goods position as a true performance leader.
In the coming years, RBK Hockey will continue to bring cutting edge technology and style to the game. We will re-write the book again and again and again. Helping the next generation of superstars achieve greatness.
Happy Birthday...RBK Hockey!