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Equipment makers score with hockey tariff cut, companies say

Bauer hockey gloves are seen in this file photo. Canadian companies say they’ll benefit from an cut to import tariffs on hockey equipment.


The makers of equipment for Canada's favourite game say the Conservative government's decision to cut tariffs on imported hockey gear should be a big plus for both themselves and for consumers.

"On its face, this seems to be a net positive thing for consumers," said Kevin Davis, chief executive of Bauer Performance Sports Ltd.

"The devil is in the details, but we would expect to be able to provide products to retailers at a lower cost," he said.

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The major hockey-equipment manufacturers in Canada now make most of their equipment offshore, which means they can take advantage of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's move to reduce tariffs – expected to be unveiled in today's budget.

Bauer still makes some products in Canada, but the majority are now made in Asia, said Mr. Davis.

The company is the dominant player in both the National Hockey League and at the retail level. It makes sticks and skates as well as every piece of equipment, from protective pads to pants and helmets.

Richard Desjardins, product manager at Sher-Wood Hockey Inc., echoed Mr. Davis' comments.

"This is going to be good news for consumers," he said.

"We're already paying too much in tariffs."

Sher-Wood pays between 13 and 16 per cent in tariffs on its products, which are all made in Asia, said Mr. Desjardins.

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"It's been years since most hockey equipment stopped being made in Canada. So it makes sense to revise the tariffs," he said.

The federal government's decision on hockey-gear tariffs is part of a pilot project to determine whether the loss in customs revenue is compensated for in sales tax.

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