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I had the opportunity to visit the Hockey Monkey in Irvine, CA today to see how they are marketing the TRUE TF7/TF9 and was not very impressed. 

The sales rep, a young kid with a nice flow of hair, approached me in front of the skate wall and asked me if I was looking for some new skates so I asked him what's new and hot right now and he immediately dragged me over to Bauer to show me the Ultrasonic skates. I asked him what else is new and he took me to CCM to talk about the new AS3 Pro skates. 

Never once did he ask me my playing level or even the price point I was targeting. 

I then noticed the TRUE TF7/TF9 off in the corner, lonely by the closeout skates from previous years. I asked him to tell me a bit about TRUE as if I had never really heard of the brand. His exact words "Yeah, they seem pretty dope, but many people don't like that brand and since they are brand new. I don't really know too much about TRUE." I asked him if anyone working knew about TRUE and after asking around another guy walked over and said he tried TRUE skates 2-3 years ago and they seemed ok but he prefers Bauer because they are made better and all of the pros use Bauer. 

After pestering the staff a little bit they finally went in the back and grabbed me the TF7 and TF9 so I could try them on. I think it was the first time they had brought them to the floor because they seemed very interested in checking out the skates themselves. I talked with them a little bit about the TF7 and TF9, how they are different from one another, and how they compare against a Bauer or CCM. I can tell you Hockey Monkey really needs to spend more time educating their sales staff if the TF7 or TF9 is going to do well for sales at their stores.

Staff also had no clue about and of the current TRUE rebates and when I showed them such they didn't seem to care. This specific location had very little TRUE product in stock, no protective, and a limited selection of AX series sticks. 

Tomorrow I am going to visit PURE to see if the experience there is different. I have already visited another PURE store in WA but they didn't even have any of the TRUE skates in stock. 

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2 hours ago, Vet88 said:

I agree with @flip12, by going custom and targeting top end players, their exposure is becoming significant thru NHL games. In these playoffs, it seems every play I see has someone in True skates. And whilst it may not be your favorite NHL player in them, there are enough now that it generates exposure and brand awareness. Now it comes down to the LHS experience and this may be where they fail, the customer facing side still only wears Bauer or CCM and even though True is in store, they don't really get pushed. Now if every shop employee wore True skates then I suspect the in store experience would be very different.

There’s progress.  Last week I can’t remember which game but a player was down and play was stopped.  You could see two of his teammates’ feet as they stood around him and both were in Trues.  Used to see them here or there but that image jumped out at me.

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2 minutes ago, BenBreeg said:

There’s progress.  Last week I can’t remember which game but a player was down and play was stopped.  You could see two of his teammates’ feet as they stood around him and both were in Trues.  Used to see them here or there but that image jumped out at me.

Not looking to fan the True debate, but I see guys jump into them and then at some point jump out.  There were 3 Bruins players (Carlo, Chara, and Coyle) in them and they all switched out.  

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37 minutes ago, mojo122 said:

Not looking to fan the True debate, but I see guys jump into them and then at some point jump out.  There were 3 Bruins players (Carlo, Chara, and Coyle) in them and they all switched out.  

May have something to do with the rep not being able to get into see them and make adjustments? 

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2 hours ago, mojo122 said:

Not looking to fan the True debate, but I see guys jump into them and then at some point jump out.  There were 3 Bruins players (Carlo, Chara, and Coyle) in them and they all switched out.  

That's with any skate and brand. Players jump in and out of brands all the time.

Most of the time it's because they want money and if they aren't going to be paid they will switch. TRUE never even gives their players free skates. Crazy. Right!? 

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Does anyone but us care what skates a player uses? I assume names matter for advertising spots and curve names on sticks, but does anyone have any info on if the general hockey buying public follows player skate choices, and does that in turn drive sales?

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4 hours ago, SkateWorksPNW said:

I had the opportunity to visit the Hockey Monkey in Irvine, CA today to see how they are marketing the TRUE TF7/TF9 and was not very impressed. 

The sales rep, a young kid with a nice flow of hair, approached me in front of the skate wall and asked me if I was looking for some new skates so I asked him what's new and hot right now and he immediately dragged me over to Bauer to show me the Ultrasonic skates. I asked him what else is new and he took me to CCM to talk about the new AS3 Pro skates. 

Never once did he ask me my playing level or even the price point I was targeting. 

I then noticed the TRUE TF7/TF9 off in the corner, lonely by the closeout skates from previous years. I asked him to tell me a bit about TRUE as if I had never really heard of the brand. His exact words "Yeah, they seem pretty dope, but many people don't like that brand and since they are brand new. I don't really know too much about TRUE." I asked him if anyone working knew about TRUE and after asking around another guy walked over and said he tried TRUE skates 2-3 years ago and they seemed ok but he prefers Bauer because they are made better and all of the pros use Bauer. 

After pestering the staff a little bit they finally went in the back and grabbed me the TF7 and TF9 so I could try them on. I think it was the first time they had brought them to the floor because they seemed very interested in checking out the skates themselves. I talked with them a little bit about the TF7 and TF9, how they are different from one another, and how they compare against a Bauer or CCM. I can tell you Hockey Monkey really needs to spend more time educating their sales staff if the TF7 or TF9 is going to do well for sales at their stores.

Staff also had no clue about and of the current TRUE rebates and when I showed them such they didn't seem to care. This specific location had very little TRUE product in stock, no protective, and a limited selection of AX series sticks. 

Tomorrow I am going to visit PURE to see if the experience there is different. I have already visited another PURE store in WA but they didn't even have any of the TRUE skates in stock. 

Does this really surprise you? Bauer and ccm dominate the hockey business. They offer those online educational programs etc as incentives for employee discounts etc. For a relatively new to hockey company, true has done a pretty decent job in the past five years imo. Better than any other brand such as verbero, trying to make a dent. Sure as hell doing better than Sher wood. 

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2 hours ago, SkateWorksPNW said:

That's with any skate and brand. Players jump in and out of brands all the time.

Most of the time it's because they want money and if they aren't going to be paid they will switch. TRUE never even gives their players free skates. Crazy. Right!? 

So if Bauer gives out free skates, and pays players to wear them, this must incur a big cost which is paid for by you know who ie us. It’d be interesting to know how much this ‘tax’ adds to each skate. Personally I don’t give a fig who wears which skate, but I’m sure the youngsters do care. 

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Yeah, maybe it’s a hockey monkey thing. I went to one last week to check them out. Asked the guy about them and he said something like “oh, I don’t really like them but I can get them for you.” I asked to try on the tf7s in an 8w, and he brought out tf9s in a 7.5w. Said he could call back to the warehouse for the 8s if I wanted them. Um, that is what I asked for... since I had also been considering ribcores, I asked if I could see a pair of 80ks since they seemed like a good comp if I was already trying on tf9s. He brought me 78ks in an 8ee. Kind of tricky to compare two skates that are already pretty different, in different sizes.
 

on another note, the stores (both the local HM and Pure) here both have true custom skates on display that show the qc issues people complain about(excess glue, carbon on the heel that has a dull finish,etc)while the retail options look pretty flawless. Heck, the holder on the one at pure on the custom was even kind of mangled like it had several gashes on it from being carried around by the blades with other skates.

i really would like these to succeed(hopefully with less extra blue all over the place), but if the big stores don’t care about the product or how they look in the stores, it seems like it’ll be a tough task to stick around at the retail level. 

Edited by gsr027

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9 hours ago, Sniper9 said:

Does this really surprise you? Bauer and ccm dominate the hockey business. They offer those online educational programs etc as incentives for employee discounts etc. For a relatively new to hockey company, true has done a pretty decent job in the past five years imo. Better than any other brand such as verbero, trying to make a dent. Sure as hell doing better than Sher wood. 

Umm FYI True has a similar deal doing the training for the skates. It's on the management and the company. 

I used to head the training dept at a chain and our brand was the leader in Pro shop across 4 families of stores. 

And it was the least funded etc. I cared and our employees cared. I have 7 than are now Pro Equipment managers. One is a buyer for hockey in the main office. And bunch more dept and store managers. It's all about the culture and how much you care about teaching. 

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19 hours ago, mojo122 said:

Not looking to fan the True debate, but I see guys jump into them and then at some point jump out.  There were 3 Bruins players (Carlo, Chara, and Coyle) in them and they all switched out.  

It can be hard to see past one's favorite team, but it's more of a big picture phenomenon. There are other guys like Mark Stuart or Ryan Murray who were in SVH's skates long before True and then went back to Bauer. That makes sense to me because both Bauer and CCM have been playing against SVH since his boots first hit the NHL, and that war is only on more than ever right now. I think tradition says a lot about why players gravitate back towards something more familiar to what they grew up with. What's more interesting for the discussion isn't who's been in True skates, for how long, and what they're on now, but rather what the population statistics are. Is True's market share growing, regardless of who's in the skates? I'd wager that it is. Eventually, there's likely to be an outlier on the good side of the distribution wearing their skates that will have greater pull in kids' brand estimation, which should lead to more sales at retail. If they can get in where Graf was before the one90, it could tilt the entire board. Before 2006, Graf had a lot of the biggest names in their boots. Then Bauer officially killed them, even stole Fedorov back to Nike! If a handful of the game's greatest players are in True boots, and they cost what Grafs did 20 years ago, you could see significant sales to say the least. Perhaps not majority market share, but potentially good enough to make a solid business case. I don't think this stops at skates either, by the way, but that's just me.

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17 hours ago, Leif said:

So if Bauer gives out free skates, and pays players to wear them, this must incur a big cost which is paid for by you know who ie us. It’d be interesting to know how much this ‘tax’ adds to each skate. 

Doesn't work this way for either Bauer or CCM.  

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17 hours ago, gsr027 said:

Yeah, maybe it’s a hockey monkey thing. I went to one last week to check them out. Asked the guy about them and he said something like “oh, I don’t really like them but I can get them for you.” I asked to try on the tf7s in an 8w, and he brought out tf9s in a 7.5w. Said he could call back to the warehouse for the 8s if I wanted them. Um, that is what I asked for... since I had also been considering ribcores, I asked if I could see a pair of 80ks since they seemed like a good comp if I was already trying on tf9s. He brought me 78ks in an 8ee. Kind of tricky to compare two skates that are already pretty different, in different sizes.
 

on another note, the stores (both the local HM and Pure) here both have true custom skates on display that show the qc issues people complain about(excess glue, carbon on the heel that has a dull finish,etc)while the retail options look pretty flawless. Heck, the holder on the one at pure on the custom was even kind of mangled like it had several gashes on it from being carried around by the blades with other skates.

i really would like these to succeed(hopefully with less extra blue all over the place), but if the big stores don’t care about the product or how they look in the stores, it seems like it’ll be a tough task to stick around at the retail level. 

To be fair, this type of "ignorance" isn't exclusive to hockey skates. I've come across inexperienced and unknowledgeable salespeople when buying tvs, computers, tires, cars, etc. Once I went to a car dealership to buy a brand new car and they sent out a salesman who couldn't answer a single question about the car and admitted during the test drive that he had just come to America. It's even happened when I've asked about CCM and Bauer skates. It seems to be more prevalent with younger ones as they just don't care. It's always best to do your own research. But yeah, that doesn't help True much. You can't really blame the kids at the hockey stores though for not being able to speak to skates that they have no experience with. They most likely aren't gear geeks like us on message boards. 

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10 minutes ago, calixguy18 said:

To be fair, this type of "ignorance" isn't exclusive to hockey skates. I've come across inexperienced and unknowledgeable salespeople when buying tvs, computers, tires, cars, etc. Once I went to a car dealership to buy a brand new car and they sent out a salesman who couldn't answer a single question about the car and admitted during the test drive that he had just come to America. It's even happened when I've asked about CCM and Bauer skates. It seems to be more prevalent with younger ones as they just don't care. It's always best to do your own research. But yeah, that doesn't help True much. You can't really blame the kids at the hockey stores though for not being able to speak to skates that they have no experience with. They most likely aren't gear geeks like us on message boards. 

Especially from bigger chain stores. Teens getting paid min wage and work once a week dgaf. And if they knew stuff about products it's bc they did their own research. But most teens only care about top too model from top manufacturer being the best bc of ads.

On this note can we please start talking about the tf9 and tf7 skates themselves and not Trues business model?

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Agree, let’s get this back on the rails. I get why it’s relevant to discuss the likelihood to have success at retail, but at this point we’re really just going in circles and not really getting anywhere.

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As it goes I’m in the market for new skates. These sounded like they would be a good thing to try so I ordered the TF9.  

some background I’m currently skating in a Nexus EE.   I tried the skates TF9 on without baking and I could barely squeeze my feet in them.   After reading how moldable they are I did end up baking them and unfortunately they will not work for me.   There was not enough room in the forefoot and mid foot.   The heel was great.   The other problem was there was nowhere near enough volume. 
 

back to the drawing board. I really hope I don’t need to go full custom but damn my feet are funky. 

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49 minutes ago, jlt73 said:

As it goes I’m in the market for new skates. These sounded like they would be a good thing to try so I ordered the TF9.  

some background I’m currently skating in a Nexus EE.   I tried the skates TF9 on without baking and I could barely squeeze my feet in them.   After reading how moldable they are I did end up baking them and unfortunately they will not work for me.   There was not enough room in the forefoot and mid foot.   The heel was great.   The other problem was there was nowhere near enough volume. 
 

back to the drawing board. I really hope I don’t need to go full custom but damn my feet are funky. 

Hmm.

I watched one of their videos on the skates and they say they should be pretty comfy without a bake. But for you, they weren't comfy at all. 

Does True do foot scans? I was tinkering with Bauer's where they upload it and you can play around with sizing and models. Pretty cool stuff.

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On 9/4/2020 at 9:07 PM, start_today said:

Does anyone but us care what skates a player uses? I assume names matter for advertising spots and curve names on sticks, but does anyone have any info on if the general hockey buying public follows player skate choices, and does that in turn drive sales?

Is it us that cares? I would have thought the opposite, that most kids care who wears what and most of us wear what fits us best. I also don't remember branding on the show being anything like it is today. It seems like brands are plastered everywhere now. Maybe it's just cuz TV screens are bigger now

 

Edited by Miller55

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2 hours ago, pgeorgan said:

Hmm.

I watched one of their videos on the skates and they say they should be pretty comfy without a bake. But for you, they weren't comfy at all. 

Does True do foot scans? I was tinkering with Bauer's where they upload it and you can play around with sizing and models. Pretty cool stuff.

I can’t even get true skates on my feet without a bake!

True did foot scans before anyone else did (for custom)

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2 hours ago, jlt73 said:

As it goes I’m in the market for new skates. These sounded like they would be a good thing to try so I ordered the TF9.  

some background I’m currently skating in a Nexus EE.   I tried the skates TF9 on without baking and I could barely squeeze my feet in them.   After reading how moldable they are I did end up baking them and unfortunately they will not work for me.   There was not enough room in the forefoot and mid foot.   The heel was great.   The other problem was there was nowhere near enough volume. 
 

back to the drawing board. I really hope I don’t need to go full custom but damn my feet are funky. 

Full custom should almost always be a last resort but you just get to a point sometimes where you’ve wasted so much money trying things that didn’t work out that you should have just invested in the first place.

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2 hours ago, flip12 said:

According to IW a size 9 TF7 and Ultrasonic weighs 949g, TF9 945g and AS3 Pro 921g. Interesting.

And likely imperceptible at this point.  Weight has probably reached the steep part of the curve for benefit. 

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Regarding the baking process: Does the saran wrap thing have to be done w/ the tf 9 and tf7? i ordered a pair of the tf7 but yet to have them baked.  I ordered an 8 based on information and some advice from members here (thanks again). Normally I wear 8.5.  The fit is tight in the toebox, not unbearable but I can imagine after the bake it will be fine.  I'm just interested in now if the wrap has to be done or is that more for the custom skates.

Edited by OldCY

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10 hours ago, jlt73 said:

As it goes I’m in the market for new skates. These sounded like they would be a good thing to try so I ordered the TF9.  

some background I’m currently skating in a Nexus EE.   I tried the skates TF9 on without baking and I could barely squeeze my feet in them.   After reading how moldable they are I did end up baking them and unfortunately they will not work for me.   There was not enough room in the forefoot and mid foot.   The heel was great.   The other problem was there was nowhere near enough volume. 
 

back to the drawing board. I really hope I don’t need to go full custom but damn my feet are funky. 

I'm also currently in Nexus EEs, now the Nexus line is being axed, I don't like the sound of the 3 fit thing from Bauer, I might start buying up pairs of skates. It is a shame you said this as I was tempted to try these Trues.

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14 hours ago, mojo122 said:

Doesn't work this way for either Bauer or CCM.  

So where does the money spent on team gear come from?

On topic, my (UK) LHS recently had a facebook image of True skates post bake with plastic film wrapped round, nice to see them done properly. 

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