Source: Easton-Bell SportsNovember 9, 2011; (Van Nuys, CA) - - Easton-Bell Sports, Inc. - a leading designer, developer and marketer of branded sports equipment and accessories under the Easton, Bell, Giro, Riddell and Blackburn brands - today announced its largest and most aggressive commitment in skate innovation through its recent purchase of MLX Skate's technology. The newly created Easton Speed Institute will combine MLX's innovative skate insights with Easton's design and engineering prowess, leading to a new skate concept expected to be in market for the 2013 hockey season. "As a brand, Easton is at its best when it reinvents categories with game-changing innovation," said Chris Zimmerman, president of Easton brands. "We believe there is a unique opportunity to provide a new approach to the art and speed of skating. I am excited that Easton is committing to the skate category in a way that parallels our leadership in hockey and lacrosse sticks, baseball and softball bats, and helmets." Dave Cruikshank, four-time Olympian speed skater and founder of MLX, has joined the Easton Speed Institute as Chief of Speed, bringing with him a lifetime of work, skate research and development, and a new approach to making hockey players faster. As an international skater for 16 years, Cruikshank has achieved numerous skating accomplishments including: Junior World Champion 500m; Olympic Trials Gold Medalist; World Cup Medalist; and four-time USA Olympic Team Member. "The Easton Speed Institute is about innovating a fresh approach to hockey skate designs that speaks to optimizing speed and creating the ultimate skater's skate. The Easton Speed Institute will reinvent how a hockey skate performs, and I am thrilled to be a part of this new team that will create game-changing products," said Cruikshank. "Bringing Dave and MLX's technology into the Easton family gives us the ability to reinvent skates in a way no one has before. Dave's remarkable insights into the world of power skating are an exceptional compliment to Easton's expertise in performance engineering and design," said Zimmerman. Cruikshank founded MLX to optimize the potential of both National Hockey League players and grassroots athletes by designing superior equipment with the key elements of comfort, protection and performance. The company's roots are based in using a powerful new approach to skate performance that has been known to speed skaters for the past two decades. With the development of Easton's new skate, the MLX skate brand will no longer be marketed. Cruikshank will be joined by Easton veteran Dmitry Rusakov, who will lead a team of designers, engineers, developers and biomechanical experts to drive innovation. The Easton Speed Institute will be located at Easton's headquarters in Van Nuys, California and in West Allis, Wisconsin. About Easton SportsEaston Sports is a developer, manufacturer, marketer and distributor of baseball, softball, hockey, and lacrosse equipment for both sports professionals and enthusiasts. Easton Sports focuses on its ability to innovate and create products of unmatched quality and performance including the #1 bat in the College World Series®, Women's College World Series®, Little League World Series®, and Slow-Pitch Softball, as well as the #1 stick and #1 glove in the National Hockey League. Headquartered in Van Nuys, Calif., Easton Sports employs over 1,200 people worldwide and maintains facilities in Utah, California, Mexico, Canada and Sweden. For further information, please visit the company online at www.eastonsports.com. About Easton-Bell Sports, Inc.Easton-Bell Sports, Inc. is a leading designer, developer and marketer of branded sports equipment, protective products and related accessories. The company markets and licenses products under such well-known brands as Easton, Bell, Giro, Riddell and Blackburn. Its products incorporate leading technology and designs and are used by professional athletes and enthusiasts alike. Headquartered in Van Nuys, California, the company has 31 facilities worldwide. More information is available at www.eastonbellsports.com.

Emily Attwood is Managing Editor of Athletic Business.