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Cooper: One of the Great Hockey Equipment Brands



blog-0144425001381237956.jpgAs many of you know the company, Cooper Canada Ltd. use to be a very popular and common name associated with hockey equipment. I'm sure almost all of you who ever played hockey in 70's or later owned or used at least one piece of Cooper hockey equipment. The name was everywhere! This is a brief history of one of the greatest hockey equipment manufacturers ever.

Cooper was started in 1949 when Jack Charles Cooper bought a company by the name of General Leather Goods which prior to the purchase had made ski and snowshoe harnesses. Due to the Great Depression they started to venture into the manufacture of hockey equipment such as shin guards and gloves. As the years went by they also ventured into other sports such as Lacrosse and Baseball. Cooper was responsible for many innovations that you see today such as pioneering the usage of team-colored hockey equipment such as goalie leg pads as well as the use of nylon, high density foam, and modern plastics into their equipment. During it's hay-day in the 1970's and 1980's Cooper virtually dominated the hockey equipment market, especially in the goaltending equipment area with Cooper leather leg pads and popular goalie catchers such as the Cooper GM6. However, Cooper was also criticized for some of it's products such as the XL7 helmet which was deemed unsafe by the NHL. Regardless, Cooper remained popular through the 1980's.

The hockey division of Cooper was eventually acquired by Canster Sports Inc., the parent company of Bauer Hockey in 1990. Bauer was eventually bought out by Nike a mere 5 years later. Within a few years the Cooper name was phased out from usage on Bauer Hockey's equipment.

Today, you can still find Cooper hockey equipment on sites like eBay as well as hockey auction sites. Sometimes you can even find unused Cooper equipment. I personally found a pair of unopened Cooper SA95 goalie arm guards on eBay and bought them. They were quite stiff of course but now they are broken in pretty well. Cooper equipment continues to be highly sought after by collectors and hockey folk alike especially goaltender leg pads and helmets. Most of the equipment I currently own is of Cooper origin.


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