Staying TRUE to Hockey

 

Dave McNally grew up in a family of three boys— all competitive hockey players. 

They spent many long hours on the ice perfecting their slap shots and skating on outdoor rinks. It was a huge part of McNally’s life, and it still is. 

He’s not playing as much as he used to, but when it came time to put his skates away, finding a career in the hockey world only seemed fitting.

Now the Senior Marketing and Business Development Manager for TRUE Hockey, McNally helps to manage the TRUE brand and is heavily involved in strategic planning for a company that dove into the hockey division in 2000 and launched the TRUE brand in 2014. 

“We had a lot of experience building high-end hockey sticks,” McNally said. “Both at the professional level and also for retail operations. True Temper Sports as a company is a little over 100 years old. Our golf division has been a market leader for 88 consecutive years. Obviously along the way, hockey transformed.” 

McNally can’t help but think back to how different his playing days were, compared to the equipment currently available to hockey players. 

“Maybe I’d still be playing if I had access to all of the TRUE products,” McNally said with a laugh.

Building a brand

Because of its expertise in the sporting goods market, jumping into the hockey market seemed a natural fit for TRUE. It had the infrastructure, and it had the engineering capabilities. 

Though it certainly meant a large shift in the business model for the company as a whole, TRUE Hockey knew what it wanted its core identity to be. 

In order to be meaningful to customers, the company knew it wanted to have product life cycles that made sense. That meant only launching new product lines every two years. But since TRUE Hockey has two product families, every year it’s launching a new product line. 

“TRUE is really a consumer performance based product line,” McNally said. “It’s premium and that’s the way we want to be positioned. We really do see value in longer product life cycles and meaningful technology when we launch.”

When those products do roll out, TRUE is confident in their quality. 

“A big part of our identity as a company is that we own all of our own factories,” McNally said. “And it’s our firm belief that if you can control everything from the time it’s an idea from the time it goes to market, you just have much better control over the entire process.”

Moving forward

True Temper Sports acquired VH Footwear in late 2016, which allowed it to offer a line of skates to consumers.

“It was a such a great fit,” McNally said. “Premium technology, very unique … They own their own factory as well, so it fit well into our core philosophy there. It was a tremendous fit and it allowed us to get into the skate category quickly. I think it’s going to have a great impact on our business from a credibility standpoint, adding that other category.”

As for what might be in the works for the future, McNally is confident in TRUE’s ability to transform and help athletes perform their best.

“Absolutely—we’re going to continue to progress,” McNally said. “Not only expand the categories, but look at new categories. I firmly believe we’ll be a full-scale hockey company within three to five years.”

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