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Chadd

Let's Play Hockey trade show 2012

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Graf will be unleashing a strong marketing campaign; we are in talks with them to include MSH in it.

Amazing, hope it works out

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The two quarters are asymmetrical - the inside ankles are shifted forward to be more anatomically correct.

Very intrigued by this. Did it seem like it would be enough to help out players who have ankle bone fit issues in other brands, like Bauer?

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Very intrigued by this. Did it seem like it would be enough to help out players who have ankle bone fit issues in other brands, like Bauer?

It was to done to ensure the ankle bones are in the pads for every skater and be more anatomically correct. Barring a significant deviation from normal anatomy, think injury/reconstruction, they should fit.

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It was to done to ensure the ankle bones are in the pads for every skater and be more anatomically correct. Barring a significant deviation from normal anatomy, think injury/reconstruction, they should fit.

That is great to hear! Can't wait to check them out!

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I like the Graf concept, but the different flexes has me a little perplexed. What I'm wondering is how is someone going to try all three flexes and determine what is best for them? Its going to be tough to make that determination simply from trying them on and walking around the store. Obviously with sticks people buy and test multiple flexes till they find the right one for them, but sticks/shafts are significantly cheaper than skates. I don't see it being practical for people to be buying multiple pairs of the same model of $700-$800 skates just to find the right flex. Is there going to be some type of demo program or some other way to test in store before making a purchase decision?

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I like the Graf concept, but the different flexes has me a little perplexed. What I'm wondering is how is someone going to try all three flexes and determine what is best for them? Its going to be tough to make that determination simply from trying them on and walking around the store. Obviously with sticks people buy and test multiple flexes till they find the right one for them, but sticks/shafts are significantly cheaper than skates. I don't see it being practical for people to be buying multiple pairs of the same model of $700-$800 skates just to find the right flex. Is there going to be some type of demo program or some other way to test in store before making a purchase decision?

Some way to test in store? You mean like trying them on, walking around and getting into a skating stride? Most people spend less time trying on skates than they do picking a stick.

I would expect most shops to have the middle flex option in stock and order the other flexes per customer request. There is no difference in fit, so sizing people wouldn't be an issue. I could also see some shops stocking the stiffer boots in larger sizes or the lighter flex in smaller sizes as well. We were told that Graf would have stock in all combinations at the factory/warehouse and would build more to refill their stock after they fill orders.

If you take some time and get fitted at your local dealer and put the skates on, you shouldn't have a problem. If you order blindly on the internet, you better hope they have a good return policy.

Probably a scale showing level of play with the weight of the player being a factor? No idea, good point.

Not really, most people just buy the stiffest option they can, even though it ends up causing lace bite or other problems with their stride. I fully expect that to be the case here as well. As soon as people can feel them flex at all, they will ask for a stiffer version.

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I would imagine Graf dealers would be educated by the manufacturer on how to recommend stiffnesses. If I were selling these skates right now (without any other info) that's what I would base my recommendation on.

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I would imagine Graf dealers would be educated by the manufacturer on how to recommend stiffnesses. If I were selling these skates right now (without any other info) that's what I would base my recommendation on.

Different people have different preferences, it should be about what the customer is looking for, not some template that you try and fit everyone into.

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Some way to test in store? You mean like trying them on, walking around and getting into a skating stride? Most people spend less time trying on skates than they do picking a stick.

I would expect most shops to have the middle flex option in stock and order the other flexes per customer request. There is no difference in fit, so sizing people wouldn't be an issue. I could also see some shops stocking the stiffer boots in larger sizes or the lighter flex in smaller sizes as well. We were told that Graf would have stock in all combinations at the factory/warehouse and would build more to refill their stock after they fill orders.

If you take some time and get fitted at your local dealer and put the skates on, you shouldn't have a problem. If you order blindly on the internet, you better hope they have a good return policy.

That's my point though, walking around and bending your knees into a skating stride isn't necessarily the same thing as skating, particularly when it comes to turning and stopping. The situation I'm envisioning is someone comes into a store, tries on one of the stiffness options, walks around a bit, gets into a skating stance and decides, "These feel ok, let's go with them." Then they get on the ice in gear and realize that either: a) when they're not focused on bending their knees into a good skating position but trying to skate naturally then the stiffness option they chose is really too stiff for them; or b) conversely when they get on the ice and try and turn/stop the stiffness option they chose is really too flexible for them. What happens then? The customer is just SOL? It's one thing for that to be the case in sticks when, even at the highest end, the investment is $250. But when you're talking about a $700-$800 skate, that's a much more expensive mistake. Certainly going to a good shop/fitter can mitigate some problems but not all.

I do agree with your point that if you order online, or if you neglect to spend the time to get fitted well, then it's your own damn problem if you get the wrong stiffness. But, just because you go to a good fitter, spend a time, walk around the store and bend your knees a lot, and do all the right things in the fitting process, it doesn't mean you're going to get the right stiffness 100% of the time. Sometimes what feels good in the store doesn't feel the same on the ice. And I'm wondering if there is some way to work with those customers to make sure they get the right flex, or if you're really SOL if you make a mistake in the purchasing decision despite taking all the necessary steps to try to make the correct purchasing decision.

Edited by shooter27

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Most shops that want to keep business will let folks return after skate 1 in the new pair and exchange if it turns out they won't work. I don't really see that being as much of an issue as these skates will be on the higher priced side and folks looking to shell that cash tend to know how stiff they want their skates, regardless of whether that stiffness actually works for them.

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Different people have different preferences, it should be about what the customer is looking for, not some template that you try and fit everyone into.

You misunderstand my point, it would be generally advisable for a heavier player to need a stiffer boot for example, that's what I would explain. I'm not going to automatically give a larger player the stiffest boot and say he's good to go obviously...

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That's my point though, walking around and bending your knees into a skating stride isn't necessarily the same thing as skating, particularly when it comes to turning and stopping. The situation I'm envisioning is someone comes into a store, tries on one of the stiffness options, walks around a bit, gets into a skating stance and decides, "These feel ok, let's go with them." Then they get on the ice in gear and realize that either: a) when they're not focused on bending their knees into a good skating position but trying to skate naturally then the stiffness option they chose is really too stiff for them; or b) conversely when they get on the ice and try and turn/stop the stiffness option they chose is really too flexible for them. What happens then? The customer is just SOL? It's one thing for that to be the case in sticks when, even at the highest end, the investment is $250. But when you're talking about a $700-$800 skate, that's a much more expensive mistake. Certainly going to a good shop/fitter can mitigate some problems but not all.

I do agree with your point that if you order online, or if you neglect to spend the time to get fitted well, then it's your own damn problem if you get the wrong stiffness. But, just because you go to a good fitter, spend a time, walk around the store and bend your knees a lot, and do all the right things in the fitting process, it doesn't mean you're going to get the right stiffness 100% of the time. Sometimes what feels good in the store doesn't feel the same on the ice. And I'm wondering if there is some way to work with those customers to make sure they get the right flex, or if you're really SOL if you make a mistake in the purchasing decision despite taking all the necessary steps to try to make the correct purchasing decision.

There are always going to be some people that have second thoughts, those people could cost a shop a lot of money.

Most shops that want to keep business will let folks return after skate 1 in the new pair and exchange if it turns out they won't work. I don't really see that being as much of an issue as these skates will be on the higher priced side and folks looking to shell that cash tend to know how stiff they want their skates, regardless of whether that stiffness actually works for them.

A lot of those shops then put the used skates back on the shelf and sell them as new. I know a couple places that seem to do that regularly.

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There are always going to be some people that have second thoughts, those people could cost a shop a lot of money.

Again, I agree with you. Which is why I'm trying to figure out if there is some way to ensure that the customer gets the right flex while not costing the shop or the customer an extreme amount of money. The investment that would be required for trial and error by the consumer (like many do with sticks) is a lot more than many people are going to be willing to spend. I could definitely see a scenario where the customer thinks to himself, "well, I like these, but I like Brand X too, let me go with Brand X, because I'm not sure which flex I should get in the Graf." In which case an innovative idea by Graf actually ends up costing it a sale because the customer has no way to truly test out the flexes without buying the skates. I don't really consider walking around and bending your knees in the store a true test of on-ice performance. I've bought a couple of pairs of skates that I thought felt great int he store, but when I got on the ice simply didn't perform the way I expected.

Maybe I'm over-estimating the difference between the flexes. With sticks the difference between flexes can be so great that if a person gets a flex is way too stiff or too soft it will cause legitimate performance problems. Perhaps this is more an issue of fine-tuning, where a customer could use any of the flexes in the skates, but getting the correct one just provides small, incremental benefits and getting the wrong one doesn't detract from performance in the same manner as sticks.

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Rounding out the show -

Not many changes at Sher-Wood, however, they have a new T100 stick; Nexon line stays unchanged. Their biggest advance is on the goal stick line; gone are the 5030 and 9950 sticks; their SL (SuperLight) series sticks feature an ultra-thin foam core blade/paddle merged with either a carbon fiber, 9950-style graphite or 5030-style shaft.

Combat has tweaked the 52 Cal Reloaded, also, eliminated the 52 Cal R, and have an updated stick in the Pure2; which is a reworked version of the Pure.

All in all, it was a good show for us; we were busy both days, the entire day. We were expecting the second day to be a ghost town but I didn't see anyone breaking down booths until the afternoon.

Of course, the question every year is; will there be a show next year? I think so. Having Mission/Bauer there in the AAU booth was a plus; that booth was always busy. Quite a few vendors said they had successful shows. I think LPH can justify doing another one, but they do need major manufacturer support.

Edited by JR Boucicaut

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surprised no one has commented on the latest m5 being the same weight as the current mako. seems awesome for a stick that should be very durable to be that light

There are a lot of little details that we haven't covered, this is just about hitting the high points. The catalog reviews will have far more detail when they are released.

Awesome to hear JR, glad to hear the show was a success. Always great reading up on the newest equipment and getting some pre-released info and pictures.

I have a few more on my phone that I need to upload. I just got home a few minutes ago, so it will probably be some time Monday.

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There are a lot of little details that we haven't covered, this is just about hitting the high points. The catalog reviews will have far more detail when they are released.

I have a few more on my phone that I need to upload. I just got home a few minutes ago, so it will probably be some time Monday.

Sounds great Chadd, look forward to see what you have in store.

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