WINNIPEG —; It’s inside a tiny Fort Garry shop that a small crew of seven supplies skates to stars of the big league.
“We’ve got Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler, Dustin Byfuglien,” said Scott Van Horne while pointing to molds of the NHL players’ feet.
Van Horne has been making skates for more than two decades. The former national speed skater began building boots in his parent’s garage when he was just 14.
“I got tired of the ill-fitting speed skates,” said Van Horne. “I have flat feet so it fits my feet worse than everyone else.”
His custom skates eventually caught the attention of NHL all-star goalie Jonas Hiller.
“He came across my website,” said Van Horne. “I told him I can try. He flew out to Winnipeg to get his feet molded. It was like I have this opportunity with a top level goalie so I took advantage of it.”
Other hockey players quickly followed. Van Horne’s company, VH Footwear Inc., now produces skates for 41 pros including seven members of the Winnipeg Jets.
WATCH: Scott Van Horne gives Mitch Rosset a tour through VH Footwear Inc.
“If you get one guy on them that does really well, it’s not hard to sell them after that point,” said Van Horne.
Each VH skate is handmade and takes a total of ten days from start to shipping.
“Certain stages we’ll do with different coatings with different materials you have to have right down to the minute,” said Van Horne. “If you miss it, the skates are no good and you’re starting from scratch.”
A complex, time consuming system but one Van Horne would never change.
“Every week, if we get feedback, we can tweak the design and go,” said Van Horne.
Because he likes being the little guy.