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Everything posted by DarkStar50

  1. Travel hockey feeds the bear. USAH makes more $$ off travel organizations with district and national fees they charge. Yes, all house league players must be registered to USAH but there is no upcharge a rink has to pay USAH to run a house league, I believe. In my rink, the house leagues have lost a lot of players because of the cache of little Johnny Hockey convincing his parents he wants to play travel hockey with his friends. Little Johnny Hockey would be better served playing house league with his friends and then possibly, thinking outside the box, have other area close by rinks run crossover schedules with these various house league teams to support more competition without the 2 hour one way ride for Squirt B games. I know in the end, this is all a business, travel hockey, masquerading as youth sports.
  2. Isn't Bauer already selling apparel direct on Amazon?
  3. The 800 lb gorilla in the room is USA Hockey. It is not in their business interests to have/support house league hockey. So many kids and parents would benefit from centralized rink house league hockey instead of driving 2 hours one way on Sunday morning for a Squirt B game. USA Hockey thrives and survives on the money maker that is travel hockey across Tier 1 and Tier 2 in USA. I can't speak for Hockey Canada.
  4. I just wonder how much of an effect this might all go back to Bauer corporate making the decision to go public. The IPO and how it effected their business model, which in turn effected the business model of the big box stores that ultimately led or not, perhaps other causes, to the bankruptcy of TH and the effects we see daily. I don't know if the first action is completely related to this. I'm just curious on anyone's opinion that is willing to share.
  5. TH sale goes down, multiple store locations close, employees lose jobs, Bauer Hockey dumps $6mil in salary with many long time employees, lets go some reps................tell me again why anyone would want to get into this business now.......very rough week behind the scenes on the business end of hockey...... it really is completely different from what this industry appears to be to the average player/parent.
  6. All the money spent on travel hockey is absurd given the odds of any scholarship down the road. The one positive takeaway from playing hockey as a kid though is that hockey is a sport for life. I have watched fathers that watched their sons play hockey turn into grandfathers watching their grandchildren play hockey as their sons continue to play mens league hockey. It's not about the destination, it's about the journey.
  7. This has been a industry problem forever that those working in the industry know. The consumer has no idea about what is really happening in the management offices of retail buyers when it comes to making your shop survive. The retailer(all sizes, too) chases those discounts until it is the end of the selling season and he has a stockroom full of inventory that is soon to be outdated and offered by the big box at deeper discounts at retail. Now adding to the toxic mix, as Zac mentioned, is when the vendors just keep shipping product to a dealer like TH which is drowning in debt. Promises were made and promises were not kept by both parties. My question for anyone who understands bankruptcy purchasing is will Pure Hockey be on the hook to Bauer for the $8.5mil in product to accounts payable ?? I understand Bauer is seeking their money before the sale to PH is completed. PH wants the purchase quickly to set up for fall 2016 in these new for them TH locations. How this plays out is another problem for PH and Bauer. "Show me the money Jerry !! Show me the money !!!! "
  8. http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/sale-nears-for-bankrupt-total-hockey-chain/article_1679fe88-4e36-5245-9fb5-b12e31d403f2.html Latest status on sale to Pure Hockey...
  9. Just another opinion from someone on the other side of the sales register. It is difficult to maintain a high level of service, as many here have mentioned and received from TH, across 32 retail locations. The loss of TH to many regular shoppers here is hitting home hard for them. It is hard on many levels what happened and how many people up and down the hockey pipeline it will effect. Fiorenzo Arcadi CEO at Toronto Hockey Store & Goalie Heaven Ltd. Toronto Hockey Repair Ltd. First it was Sports Authority that went under, then Graf Canada, and now Total Hockey has fallen victim to their own growth and expansion. Total Hockey may have achieved about 30% of sales from e-commerce alone, but really in the context of how e-commerce operates it wasn’t enough to sustain their 32 brick-and-mortar stores. Even though they had some ideal hockey locations, the US market softened to the point where they couldn’t compete. Total Hockey blames the bankruptcy on one of the warmest winters on record, the collapse of key vendors, and a failed integration of the recently acquired Players Bench Corp. Another key factor was the adverse Canadian exchange rate which kept Canadian hockey teams from coming to the US to play in tournaments. The real reason may have to do with terrible customer service reviews, lack of overall online e-commerce market share, and too many brick-and-mortar stores. Total Hockey received a plethora of bad reviews from both Canadian and US customers. It seems like they lacked trained employees in achieving interconnectivity with the consumer which failed to generate repeat traffic in their stores. In terms of market share dealing with e-commerce, both employees serving the sporting goods industry and hockey customers are well aware that Hockey Monkey is the industry leader. As an industry leader Hockey Monkey is able to exploit economies of scale to a greater extent than its competitors. Their website also offers promotions such as free shipping over $50 USD, 20% summer discount, and more. Due to the volume of sporting goods Hockey Monkey can order due to economies of scale, they can offer prices that are hard to match for most other retailers. Additionally, because Hockey Monkey deals with hockey, goalie equipment, lacrosse, and baseball, they can strike deals with companies such as Warrior Sports which deal with lacrosse and hockey to obtain larger discounts that they can offer to the end consumer while generating more revenue. Total Hockey had to match these prices even though their sales volumes weren’t as large to prevent customers from taking advantage of arbitrage by shopping online through Hockey Monkey, which eventually ate away at Total Hockey’s profit. In the digital world, Hockey Monkey quickly established its online dominance with technology such as its strong and professional YouTube presence. Hockey Monkey’s YouTube videos compared to Total Hockey’s videos are sharply different. Hockey Monkey was able to convey the technology of its products using professional and endearing individuals to sell the product. Total Hockey’s lack of expertise was evident through its archaic environment that did not transpire in generating sales on a large scale. When you have too many brick-and-mortar stores it’s hard to recognize whether you specialize in online sales or foot-traffic sales to generate revenue. Total Hockey has about 32 of these locations. The problem is that foot-traffic relies on the special connection with customers that feel important and comfortable when entering a store. The overall experience has to translate from the employees and managers that must execute the sales. The senior management of Total Hockey may have felt they had the right personnel and managers to establish lasting relationships, unfortunately their reviews told a whole different story. Hockey Monkey is a different animal. They take an enormous amount of pride in their online e-commerce, but are also able to successfully connect with customers at their 6 US brick-and-mortar stores. One of my employees Mike travelled to California a few months ago. His experience was enlightening: the sales representative did not have the product on the shelf but happily crossed the street to retrieve the product he wanted from the warehouse. The employee professionally represented himself and the product and made sure Mike was informed and happy with what he was purchasing. The lesson here is that because of Hockey Monkey’s few locations, they are confident in having efficient personnel on hand to create lasting and repeat relationships with customers. TSG Enterprises LLC is the parent company of Pure Hockey and Pure Goalie. They are in the process of acquiring Total Hockey’s assets and technology for some odd reason. The major problem here is that they already own over 40 brick-and-mortar stores. They appear to establish the same model of Total Hockey and are already in hot water with similar negative customer service reviews. Hockey Monkey have a built-in animal instinct that will tear their competitors apart and make it extremely hard for TSG Enterprises to remotely compete and generate revenue for that matter. All TSG Enterprises’ brick-and-mortar stores would be fighting for a piece of the total market share. In the process they will cannibalize themselves and run into the same problems Total Hockey encountered. Remember one thing: the monkey believes in the survival of the fittest.
  10. Just think about 10-15 years from now when another generation of hockey players says "oh my earliest memories of hockey gear were when the UPS truck showed up with that first set of Learn to Play gear from Total Hockey !! I was so pumped to open the box I almost cut my thumb off with off a utility knife."
  11. "Mickey Mantle? Is that what you're upset about? Mickey Mantle makes $100,000 a year. How much does your father make? You don't know? Well, see if your father can't pay the rent go ask Mickey Mantle and see what he tells you. Mickey Mantle don't care about you, so why should you care about him? Nobody cares." kgbeast ; switch Bauer for Mickey Mantle.
  12. The consumer aka Ouroboros.
  13. Which brings us back to the question : $300 ??????? "Hey Ma, I just broke my $300 stick."
  14. The smart LHS knows he can only sell you one pair of shoulder pads or shin pads every year or so. The smart LHS also knows that the Hockey Mom is the one that will buy a few Bauer or CCM t-shirts or a hoody for Christmas for gifts. The smart LHS has just made full markup on apparel which is a lot better than that one pair of shoulder pads.
  15. Interesting ideas and some random thoughts from the old guy that has done this forever: I feel and it's obvious that the traditional brick and mortar mom and pop LHS model is broken. I worked 23 years in that setting for a family that has a sporting goods pedigree going back to the 1940s in NYC at MSG. The catalog business in the 80s had an impact on the LHS in certain ways but the catalogs were not what the internet is today. Two different animals altogether in terms of their effect on the LHS. I do feel that the wheels were set in motion in the 90s when the big box Sports Authority formula was brought to the sporting goods market. Service was sacrificed for price and consumers were only too happy to make that trade. It effected all types of sporting goods retailers, including specialty sport shops like a LHS. Often times that first Learn to Play hockey equipment or skate purchase was then made at SA. Parents had no idea how to buy gear and the SA staff had no clue in fitting skates. The cycle was started. Over the next 10-15 years the online shopping experience developed. No need to rehash that history, everyone here knows it. Again, price was the driver for the consumer. At the same time two important categories were having their price ceilings smashed and now looking back, maybe this has played a bigger factor in the demise of the LHS than I ever thought about before: skates and sticks. As the Vapor skates went north of $400, $500, and then $600 with Supreme too, skates just got seriously expensive. As consumers that is a lot of cash to drop on skates. Well for the LHS stocking a size run, that is a lot of cash tied up in inventory. As well, for example stocking 10 pair in a size run, you don't start turning a profit on a $600 skate until you have sold 7 pair. And add in the new $300 skate, $450 skate you have in inventory too. Uh-oh, what happened to inventory turns and return on investment? The other category of sticks is also an issue after further study. The good old $20-$25 wood Sher-Wood 5030 or 7030 has now been run out of your shop by the first $150 Easton Synergy in the late 90s/early 2000. We used to sell north of 3000 wood sticks in the pro shop in the early 2000. For northern shops, double or triple that number. And one thing about buying a wood stick that is completely different than buying a OPS is that each wood stick in a dozen of the same model feels different. No two weights or balance in that dozen is exactly alike. You do have to feel the wood stick for balance and weight before choosing one to buy. On the other hand, generally most OPS in the model, say top end, feel the same! Most 1X Sr 87 flex P88 will feel alike. It's a safe purchase to make online. And one other thing about that wood vs OPS stick purchase at the LHS : a wood stick was often bought once a month, more or less. That necessary purchase brought you back to the LHS. Now buy some tape for your stick, get your skates sharpened, look at the gloves on the wall......$$$$ for the LHS. The OPS purchase can last for as long as you baby your stick and take care of it. Plus on the Jr OPS side, those peewees don't break sticks that often because they don't hack and slash the way their beer league dad does. More lost sales for the LHS in replacing Jr sticks during the season. This I have seen over the course of the seasons. Finally, like skates, stocking the OPS across Sr/ Int/ Jr, Flex #, blade patterns, left/ right, various price points and there goes some serious inventory $$ for the LHS. Now competing against online and the secondary Pro Stock market online, the deal just got tougher for the LHS. These two product categories have played a role in the LHS surviving or not. As for the vendor side, the glut of inventory product(new or on closeout lists) is overwhelming. The marketplace is stuffed with product and in a sport that honestly is not growing, this is a disaster. The pie never got bigger. The size of the slices of who got what is the only thing that changed in the last decade. As said before, these high end retail price points are just off the charts. When sharpening skates, I see more elite travel players in that second in line skate rather than the top. The parents are holding off on going all the way to put the $$ towards other necessary travel hockey expenses: food, hotels, and tournament fees. I also see players wearing skates deep into the second season as long as they fit. Skates are not bought new because they broke down anymore. Skates are too well made now. There is value in that. However, skates are now bought simply because they no longer fit. So with PSG now beholden to shareowners, TH in Chapter 11, qualified guys on both sides of the aisle(reps and former shop employees) trying to find a way to earn a living in this business, the industry has some serious battles going forward. Buckle up your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride.
  16. True XCore 9. The urethane insert in the core of the blade is visible on the bottom. I felt that receiving passes was just like the feel of a wood blade 5030 PMP from back in the 80s. The puck would not jump off the blade of the XCore. To feel a puck just stick to the blade on a sharp pass was a pleasant surprise. I am that old that I have used wood sticks for 80% + of my "career". I could feel a difference with that blade over any other OPS blade I have used. Just my opinion. As for Warrior, I haven't used their sticks in a long time so I cannot reference them in this conversation. Sorry I wasn't brand specific in the first post. Thanks for asking.
  17. That other brand has a technology you can feel and actually see for the price point. Just my 30,000 cents.
  18. Bottom line: getting old sucks. A lot of my Friday Night Hockey guys are going to Santa Rosa, Ca for the Snoopy Tournament this week. They are in the 50 + division, with a lot of the guys closer to or older than 60.
  19. Bonino, Fehr, and Malkin on 296. Those are some big dogs.
  20. I'd rather build and work at a million $ business year after year after 30 + years, then build a multi million dollar business that goes bankrupt in less than 10 years and leaves a lot of my employee staff without a job after that short a time. But that's just me.......
  21. QFB - Quoted for Bullshit. I would say sorry but I won't. Dig deep into the archives here on MSH and after my first Bauerworld experience in 2006 on Marco Island where I saw firsthand the attitude and business statement of HG, HM, TH, and PH in full force, I posted my thoughts on their ultimate business objectives. They didn't give a rat's ass about the hockey industry. They had no skin in the game and were just chasing $$. Bauer corporate was only too happy to get in bed with these players and feed their jones for big booking orders at deep discounts. As been stated before, the little guys didn't matter. They could never produce the $$ that these players could so why care about them. Year 4 at Bauerworld in an opening 7 AM statement to a room full of smaller but still big enough dealers, the following statement was made by the US Sales Manager: "The big are getting bigger and will stay that way." Well, thanks a lot and see you later, smaller guys. we don't need your $$ ## because they just don't add up to what HG, HM, TH, and PH are giving us. Slap in the face? Never felt harder. So now to see this industry as the big boys have eaten each other up is just what so many smaller guys that managed to hang on, see happen is known as karma. That one man, with a vision? He didn't give a shit about the hockey industry. His vision wasn't to make the game better for you or me. His goal was to make $$. Along the way, he lost his focus and chased dreams that turned into nightmares. After almost 40 years in this industry, I have seen a lot but sympathy for this player is not part of the experience.
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