by Neal Watts – Warrior Goalie Designer
As many of you know, Pete Smith has been designing goalie gear for a long time. In fact, this year marks Pete’s 30th anniversary in the business of designing and building goalie equipment.
In 1986, the summer before his senior year of high school, Pete made his first sale. It was a blocker and trapper set that he made in his parent’s basement. He had brought a sample pair of gloves he built to a goalie camp to show his childhood idol Dan Bouchard (Quebec Nordiques) who was coaching that week. He received his first order from a fellow camper and thus he began his career in the goalie business. By 1987, Pete was designing and building pads and gloves for the retail market as a contractor for the brand Victoriaville (Vic).
From his early days in the business, Pete was an innovator. In 1990, he started building pads for Tom Barrasso. That season, Tom and the Pittsburgh Penguins got off to a shaky start. About 10 games in to the season, Barrasso switched into a new pad designed and built by Pete. With its unique hinged knee and ankle design, the pads looked like nothing else on the market at the time. The foam core design and all white shell looked boxy and, quite frankly, bizarre compared to all the soft and squishy dear hair stuffed leather pads of the era. They may have looked strange, but they worked for Barrasso. He immediately went 8 and 0, before capping off a solid season with a Stanley Cup championship, then winning the Cup again the next year. As odd as they may have looked, those pads were way ahead of their time.