Competition Bureau completes investigation into performance claims related to TRUE hockey helmets
This concludes the Bureau’s third investigation into claims made by manufacturers of ice hockey helmets that their products reduce the risk of concussions.
November 17, 2020 - GATINEAU, QC - Competition Bureau
Today, the Competition Bureau reached a consent agreement with TRUE Sports Inc. to resolve its concerns about certain performance claims made by the hockey equipment manufacturer about its TRUE Dynamic 9 Pro hockey helmet. As part of this settlement, TRUE Sports agreed to cease all claims and donate $100,000 in equipment to support youth sports.
The Bureau’s investigation concluded that some claims made on the company’s website, in-store displays and product packaging gave the impression that their helmet could reduce the risk of concussions. Although TRUE submitted the helmet to laboratory testing prior to making the claims, the Bureau concluded that the testing was not adequate and proper to support them. The Bureau determined that TRUE Sports marketing claims relied in part on brain injury studies that mostly focused on sports with fundamentally different patterns of injuries than those suffered while playing ice hockey.
The Bureau acknowledges TRUE Sports’ voluntary cooperation in resolving this matter.
As part of this settlement, TRUE Sports agreed to:
- Donate $100,000 worth of sports equipment to a charity that supports youth in sports or teams, associations or leagues for underprivileged children or youth hockey players;
- Cease making all claims at issue, and remove the remaining claims from all marketing material, including on packaging and online advertising;
- Implement an enhanced Corporate Compliance Program, and take steps to ensure that retailers do not make the unsupported claims; and
- Pay $20,000 to cover the cost of the Bureau’s investigation.
This is the Bureau’s third investigation into manufacturers of ice hockey helmets over claims that their products can reduce the risk of concussions. Bauer and Reebok‑CCM reached similar agreements with the Bureau in 2014 and 2015. The Bureau’s actions have led to over a million dollars worth in donation of sports equipment to charity.
“While the Bureau encourages innovation in the marketplace when it comes to new and improved technology, businesses must support their performance claims with adequate and proper testing so that consumers can make purchasing choices with confidence."
Commissioner of Competition
To determine if a performance claim is supported by adequate and proper testing, the Bureau looks at various factors related to the general impression an advertisement makes on consumers.
Current hockey helmet testing standards aim to protect players from catastrophic brain injuries, such as skull fractures, not concussions.
The science behind concussions in sports is still in its infancy, and the role that any hockey helmet can play in protecting players from concussions remains unclear.
There are a multitude of factors such as age, weight, strength of the player, location of impact, and whether the hit was or was not anticipated when assessing concussion injury risk related to sports.
We strongly encourage anyone who suspects that a company or individual is making unsupported performance claims to report it by using our online complaint form.
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The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.
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