Ice skate specialist in US ownership

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A US-based private investor group has acquired Sheffield’s HD Sports, the world’s leading manufacturer of figure skate blades.

The group, led by Robert Donahoe and Paul Harrity, say they plan to keep all manufacturing, research and development and sales staff in Sheffield.

HD Sports’ headquarters are in Rutland Way where it crafted blades for every single medallist at the Winter Olympics in Sochi this year.

Its history dates back to 1696, when royal toolmaker and Sheffield engineer John Wilson began making blades.

Wilson was famed throughout England for the quality of his tools, his crafting skills and his unparalleled reputation for excellence.

Renowned engineers Hattersley & Davidson (est. 1894) acquired the firm in the early twentieth century and further developed John Wilson’s reputation for innovation.

Prestigious skate company Mitchel & King then joined the stable in 1997, combining to make HD Sports, as it is now known, the leader in the global figure skating industry.

Bob Donahoe, of the investment team, said: “Having been engaged in many corporate transactions in the US, this was the first one for myself and fellow principal Paul Harrity in the UK.”

Tom Cantwell of HD Sports NA has been promoted to managing director of global operations and will be relocating to Sheffield.

“The HD Sports management team have done an excellent job managing the MK and John Wilson brands. I am excited to be working closely with such a dedicated and committed staff.

“Our goal will be to make our blades more readily available and accessible to our loyal clients.”

Legal advice for the US Investment team was provided by a team led by lawyer Philip Ashworth, a partner Swith Walkers in York.