Total Hockey, Inc., a specialty retailer focused on the high-growth hockey and lacrosse sports markets, today announced plans to acquire Denver-based hockey and lacrosse retailer, Players Bench Corporation.
“This is a tremendous strategic acquisition for Total Hockey, allowing the company to expand into several key markets including Colorado, Ohio and Texas,” said Michael A. Benoit, founder, president and chief executive officer of Total Hockey. “Both companies have outstanding reputations for customer service and an unsurpassed commitment to growing the games of both hockey and lacrosse.”
Rick Boh, a former NHL player and the founder and owner of Players Bench Corporation agreed. “Michael and I share a business philosophy, customer focus and commitment to the game that are synonymous with our brands,” Boh said. “This is a perfect fit.”
Founded in 1999, Total Hockey, Inc. has expanded dramatically into key markets since 2006. Today, Total Hockey is the fastest growing specialty hockey retailer in the U.S., operating stores in seven of the top fifteen hockey markets. Total Hockey has been named to Inc. Magazine’s list of “Fastest Growing Companies” for seven straight years. The company has a compound annual sales growth rate of 25 percent over the last ten years and revenues of nearly $60 million in 2014. Since 2012, the company’s retail locations have doubled.
Total Hockey currently operates 24 stores in seven markets including Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Washington D.C. On-line sales constitute approximately 30 percent of Total Hockey’s revenues and the company employs over 600 associates, 200 of whom are full-time. “We are excited to welcome the talented employees of Players Bench, as well as their loyal customers, to our team,” Benoit said.
Total Hockey entered the lacrosse market in 2012 and operates under the sub-brands of Total Hockey, Total Goalie and Total Lacrosse, covering all the needs of skaters, goalies and lacrosse players. A key element of the company’s marketing strategy is its wide merchandise assortment including skates, sticks, helmets, heads and shafts, protective gear, apparel and accessories. The company’s fully functioning omni-channel retailing capabilities allow customers to seamlessly shift among its brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce platforms and mobile devices. Other key elements include a multi-tiered loyalty program and a highly trained, service-oriented staff.
Players Bench has eight stores located in Colorado Springs, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Madison and Salt Lake City. Founded in 1996 by Boh, the company also retails hockey and lacrosse equipment. In 2014, Players Bench generated nearly $12 million in revenue. The success of the Players Bench chain is a remarkable testimony to the virtues of a retailer focused on customer service and community connections.
Nancy M. Hawes, a shareholder in the St. Louis office of national law firm Polsinelli, provided legal counsel for Total Hockey throughout the deal. Hawes, who focuses her practice on transactions, believes the complementary nature of the Players Bench and Total Hockey businesses will strategically position the retail chain for significant future success. “This acquisition will combine two great retailers within the industry,” Hawes said. “It will help to put Total Hockey in a position to achieve its goal of being the number one hockey retailer in the U.S.”
Both companies are committed to growing the game of hockey and involving youth in the game. Total Hockey is the exclusive hockey equipment retailer of USA Hockey, an organization with more than 600,000 members and the governing body for amateur hockey in the U.S. In addition, Total Hockey launched and funds First Stride, a program that allows children to try hockey at no cost. Total Hockey is also an integral partner with CCM, the St. Louis Blues, the Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Hockey in Little Wild and Little Blues starter programs. A beginner lacrosse program will be introduced in the fall of 2015.