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Sticks and Skate Sponsorsss

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New The Hockey News: My thoughts on the bazillion trinkets you can buy to get better at hockey.

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There’s a lot to write about from my trip with Easton to Minnesota, the majority of which will be turned into columns, but something I have to share:

A few weeks ago I wrote about stick sponsorships with players, using the extent of my knowledge on the topic, which was simply experience.  Obviously, I have none at the NHL level.  But after hanging around a guy who is the stick rep for eight NHL teams, I learned some cool things.

Remember when I wrote that a guy like Crosby (or whoever) can use whatever skates they want despite sponsorship ties, and get them to look like RBK (or whoever’s) new product?  Then some guy left one of my all-time favourite comments about the ridiculousness of that statement?

Well, I was right about that.  I was told a few names of guys around the league using different skates than what it looks like on the outside.  So, y’know, eat that, it’s a fact.

Basically, they try to custom out the boot they want their player to wear, and if they can’t get it to where the player likes it, they prepare another company’s skates (or at least another companies specs) to look like one of their own.

Ooo, one more interesting tidbit before I get back to other work: I’m writing about this tomorrow, but the most intersting thing about stick sponsorships is how little guys accept to use a company’s stick.  Like, $10-15,000 dollars is enough to limit their choices to one brand when they make a million bucks a year.  A certain player accepted seven grand to use Trilage sticks before bailing and having to repay the money.

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Back to work here – it’s gonna be a busy week!

Comments

6 Responses to “Sticks and Skate Sponsorsss”
  1. Jeff K says:

    Working late on a Thursday night as a starving university student at a sporting goods store in Saskatoon in 1992(3?)

    In comes the guy that always comes to window shop, talk hockey but never buy anything.

    He goes over to the sticks and starts “flexing” them. Store is deserted.

    Anyway he goes on to say how he knows Yawney (Trent Yawney, from Hudson Bay, Playing for the Hawks at the time.)

    And he was so sure that this Louisville stick-Yzerman pattern- was the same that Steve Y used.

    Even as a 20 year old punk I knew from talking to the reps that Yzerman might be using an Easton aluminum painted like a Louisville- who knew for sure

    Anyway….I took the stick from the guys hand…. held it like he had it…. then turned to hold it right handed. “Yeah except Yzerman shoots right”

    He ran out of the store and we never saw him again.

  2. rich says:

    Ha I still have a Trilage.

  3. Dave K says:

    It’s random tidbits like this that I enjoy about your articles.

    Regards,

  4. MWL says:

    Very true about the “dressing up”, i once saw a pair of Joe Thornton “ccm” gloves on EBAY that were eagles that were modified. You could even see the Eagle logo on the inner cuff. Whatever it takes to keep em happy.

  5. Andrew says:

    The best part was reading that guy’s quote (Chris was his name). The funniest thing he says is calling Justin a nobody because all he did was play NCAA. A) NCAA athletics are no joke and B) It’s as if this Chris guy thinks you need to be a hall of famer to know something about equipment deals.

    Anyway, as for doctoring up gear to make it perform like another company’s stuff. I’m sure it happens all over the place. It’s interesting that these guys accept so little money to use gear though.

    Golf-related equipment tangent:
    In golf, equipment deals seem to be more lucrative. Especially at the top end. I can’t comment on hockey gear as much, but golf clubs, shoes, even clothing can be pretty important to a player. However, when a big company comes along and says, hey we’ll give you $X to play our stuff, it’s hard to turn down as a young guy. Clubs can be tweaked, re-shaped and adjusted so much, that a player can basically design and redesign his own stuff. In a lot of cases a player may ask for the company to make his irons look like those from another company (appearance of a club when over the ball can be very important). The personal preference is very high, and I’d assume higher than in hockey, but again, I can’t say for sure. Point is, this kind of stuff happens across sports with specific equipment issues. The players, especially superstars, get what they want and the company gets the advertising. Also of note, some players will use their sponsors headcovers and bags, but will have another company’s clubs under the hood.

    I hope those that also like golf found that interesting and those that don’t skipped it entirely.

  6. Dwight says:

    No surprise a player will accept $10-15K to use a stick. First, if it works they’ll use it anyway. Secondly, sponsorship dollars typically go to the chosen few because there isn’t a lot of money to spread around in the hockey business. Most companies struggle to be profitable.

    An interesting tidbit that should be included is that NHL teams pay for the sticks that a sponsored athlete uses. You’d think that if a company sponsored a player, they’d provide his sticks to the team for free. It doesn’t work that way.

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