Athletica expands to Western Canada, Asia
Local hockey board maker has acquired competitor Cascadia Sport Systems
WATERLOO — A local manufacturer of hockey boards has purchased one of its competitors, allowing it to expand into Western Canada and China ahead of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.
In a deal that closed Wednesday, Waterloo-based Athletica Sport Systems purchased Cascadia Sport Systems, a manufacturer of outdoor seating, hockey equipment such as boards and nets, athletic flooring, and racquetball courts with offices in British Columbia and Beijing.
“We needed a presence in Western Canada and Cascadia was a competitor we’ve admired for years,” Athletica chief executive officer Andrew McRae said Friday. “We were in the right place at the right time and put a deal together.”
McRae said the company was at a “competitive disadvantage” out west with its headquarters in Waterloo.
The timing for the expansion was key, he added. China is preparing for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, and the National Hockey League will hold its firstever exhibition games in Shenzhen on Saturday afternoon and in Beijing on Wednesday in a bid to grow the game overseas.
“Athletica felt that having a footprint in Beijing was an important step for us,” McRae said.
Cascadia’s Port Moody, B.C., office has about 30 employees, while its Beijing location has about 10 employees. Athletica, which also has a sales and distribution office in Minneapolis, employs about 75 people during peak construction season from April to September, and about 35 to 40 the rest of the year.
Athletica is a preferred equipment supplier to the NHL and the American Hockey League; 29 of 31 NHL rinks feature Athletica boards, known as dashers.
The company also completed the recent upgrades to the Lucan arena for Kraft Hockeyville.
Cascadia and Athletica will remain separate companies and Athletica will become a reseller of Cascadia products.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
Athletica was founded in 1996 as Sport Systems Unlimited, and in 2009 merged with Minneapolis-based Athletica. The company name was changed in 2016 to Athletica Sport Systems.
In April of this year, the company was acquired by private equity firm Fulcrum Capital Partners.
Athletica Sport Systems recently upgraded the Lucan Arena for Kraft Hockeyville.