The Origins of the Roosevelt Hockey Glove

The Origins of the Roosevelt Hockey Glove

The Origins of the Roosevelt Hockey Glove 

A Behind the Scenes Long Read

We're going to dig into the origins of each piece of Third Assist equipment in order to give some backstory on this small business and how it has evolved over the years. We're starting with our Roosevelt gloves which is actually a ways down the Third Assist timeline (2022), but the development of the Roosevelt gloves exhibits a theme I thought would be worth sharing first.

The takeaway from our Roosevelt gloves is encouraging: just dream it up, and it can be done. It's not really not as complicated as it may seem from the outside.

Plus the concept of the Roosevelt gloves has some surprising roots too- a local postman. 

Jumping back to 2018, I was living in midcoast Maine in a small town of a just couple thousand residents known as Blue Hill. Blue Hill is located about 45 minutes from Acadia National Park. While mail service does exist for the outskirts of this small town, if you live in town proper you are expected to make the trek every day to the local Post Office to send and receive your mail. 

Blue Hill Maine Feb 2023

That put me on a first name basis with the three employees at the local post office. If you frequently ship out odd shaped boxes (hockey sticks) and receive in packages just a few ounces under 70lbs (the PO limit) they get to know you. 

One winter day I walked into the small lobby of the Blue Hill PO and the postman tending the counter named Gary mentioned "We got something you're going to like". At the time I was thinking of a cool hockey related package, but when he reached behind the counter he pulled out stamps. Like most millennials, stamps aren't a regular purchase for me beyond their need for sending birthday cards and holiday thank you notes. But these were different- Gary was right, these fit me and Third Assist perfectly. 

In late 2017 USPS teamed up with Canada Post to release "The History of Hockey" stamp collection. You can see the picture above for yourself. As a hockey fan these have to be some of the coolest stamps of the last couple decades. I only say they have competition because 1980s Miracle on Ice stamps are tough to beat. You can read about the history of the stamps in the link above, but suffice to say the stamps showcase two different eras of the game, but both are notably are still outdoors. 

One of the players in particular caught my eye, and you won’t be surprised to learn it was because of his gloves. Those gloves represented an era of hockey we had yet to capture as a business. Plus I had spent the previous two winters playing hockey locally with guys who had chosen to forgo traditional hockey gloves for the rawhide work gloves/mittens they used on their farms. They had hockey gloves, but they found their work gloves warmer and more comfortable for pond hockey. Naturally my mind went to the idea: Was it possible to develop a concept that combined the best of both?

This is where product development comes in. Sometimes product development can be much easier than you think, especially with soft goods. Luckily, Third Assist already had solid supplier connections so it came down to putting the puzzle pieces together. Here's how to do it:

  1. Simply sketch up the idea - you can see below how simple this can begin..
  2. Determine the materials
  3. Create more sophisticated graphic renderings, if needed
  4. Work with various suppliers to make prototypes until you find the product you dreamed up
  5. Figure out quantities, sizing, prices and share the project with your community

First Roosevelt Sketch

You may notice there was a lag from the 2018 origins until the 2022 release of the Roosevelt gloves and that was strictly due to seasonal growth. Third Assist continues to grow, but each year we have to pick just a handful of new creative projects to pursue. This idea had been on the radar for two years before the first prototypes arrived. 

We tried probably six different prototypes until we stuck with our current model. We knew we wanted genuine leather like the older gloves, but we also wanted the stitching just right to represent the correct era and that’s what led to multiple iterations. We didn't have a name picked out until we looked back at those gloves from the 1940s and 1950s and tried to think of a figure who personified that time in history. Roosevelt seemed like the right fit.

The final Roosevelt Gloves

We released them in late 2022 and tried to keep the price tag under $100. There are leather snowboarding and skiing gloves out there for $150-200, but these are uniquely built for outdoor hockey so we wanted to keep them affordable. Plus the more we can get in (or on) the hands of our community the better, especially if people dig them and are willing to spread the word. Fortunately they received positive feedback in 2022, so they'll be returning for 2023. 

In a documentary called "Dear Rider" on Burton Snowboards, their late founder Jake Burton said he envisioned his business "at the confluence of art and sport". This has been my mantra for Third Assist over the last two years. With the Roosevelt gloves we're proud to add one more product to the storefront that is half art project, half hockey gear.

What do you want to see next from hockey history? We're always game to dream it up.

Chris - Founder of Third Assist

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1 comment

  • I really love the design and historical influence of these and can’t wait to get my own whenever my post carrier delivers them but I have added appreciation for them hearing their backstory and inspiration!

    Garrett on

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