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DarkStar50

Total Hockey Files Bankruptcy

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This sucks. I live in St. Louis and Total Hockey is my local store. Are any of there stores planning on closing right away? I hope they stay open even if Pure Hockey is taking over.

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I just ordered $75 worth of stuff last night. Hope it ships. without giving too much of my background away, I can tell you that they expanded too fast, and are paying rent that's out of line with the sales expectations in most of their markets.  It's too bad, but hockey is too expensive and people are just not spending like they used to. Plus with competition from Amazon, Craigslist, the online guys, Facebook, MSH, etc... and the fact that as mentioned, there have been very few breakthroughs in technology, these guys had a tough road. 

 

Similar issues in the golf space right now...

 

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3 hours ago, DarkStar50 said:

... the consumer has now been trained to wait for that discount on older product rather than buy the latest re-skinned product at full price. This is truly a monster of their own making. 

 

Agreed. With a few exceptions, when I have to replace worn out gear that is 10 years old the new stuff I get isn't much better, mostly just a little different. And yes, I buy last years at clearance.

 

I am curious about what will happen to the (previously Player's Bench) store in Salt Lake City. Granted it is 4 hours from me, but is the closest hockey shop with any decent selection. 

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1 hour ago, Davideo said:

 

Agreed. With a few exceptions, when I have to replace worn out gear that is 10 years old the new stuff I get isn't much better, mostly just a little different. And yes, I buy last years at clearance.

 

I am curious about what will happen to the (previously Player's Bench) store in Salt Lake City. Granted it is 4 hours from me, but is the closest hockey shop with any decent selection. 

It's in my backyard & I have the same question.  It's been great to have a shop with selection and inventory, even if not what people get elsewhere, a Hell of a lot better than what we've had in the past.  Plus, the staff, for the most part, are a bunch of good cats.  Hope it is bought out and becomes even bigger.(maybe wishful thinking)

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16 hours ago, chippa13 said:

 

I disagree with you assertion on pricing. I am hopeful that the manufacturers will finally learn that gear prices have exceeded their upper limits and while they won't scale them back, they will at least keep them steady for a little while. The gear market has become a wait for closeouts and 20% offs for most of the consumers. It is only a small number of folks who buy newly launched gear and the reason is simple, it is just too expensive and the cycles are too frequent.

 

Ditto on the cycles and top-end dollars.  add in that Product Launch process is nothing like a Jordan shoe launch or video game launch.  Almost forgot..Limited Edition is the most abused word in hockey.

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14 hours ago, JunkyardAthletic said:

There's a human component to all of this, not that anyone cares, but, JR is OK...

 

the man has 2 careers, he's good.  He masquerades as a hockey playing-playoff overtime goal scorer in his off time #JOELWARD

Edited by PMurphy17
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*sigh* I know there is a bigger picture here since many more folks may be affected, but the selfish part of me really wants the Lewisville, Texas store to stay open as I just bought my skates from TH & joined the rewards club because that store has the most accessible, consistent sharpenings in the area.  Plus I haven't used one of my free sharpenings yet.

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Not surprising given what I've heard about them in the last 6 months... And I agree on all fronts, the industry is in shambles. The customer has been trained to not buy anything that just came out and look for clearance deals. The product's price keeps increasing which makes things even more of a no brainer to buy clearance. 1S skates for $950 or MX3s for $550? Pretty easy which one you'd like to buy your kid.

 

I think the biggest reason they struggled is you need amazing customer service and quality skate sharpenings to earn repeat business. While TH excelled in some stores they failed in others. It just takes 1 bad apple to turn you off of that entire chain, so if you have a metroplex that has multiple stores and 1 store is ran poorly, you are less likely to go there or any of the other stores. I know in Minnesota that there is 1 out of 4 stores I have had a positive experience at. 1 was alright and the other 2 were comical at how poorly they were being ran. I see so many sharpenings come in recently too from one of the stores in Minnesota where they went to get their skates sharpened there and they come back and are off by 20-35 degrees. This is not a representation of the whole company on how they do sharpenings, I had to get mine sharpened there a couple years ago and they guy did a good job. But if you get a poor sharpening at say Pure Hockey, you probably wouldn't go back to Pure Hockey, or at least that particular store, would you? 

 

Its going to be interesting to see what happens if they decide to liquidate their inventory rather than sell to Pure. If they have to liquidate their inventory to raise enough capital, I guarantee you that it puts a couple of small ma and pa stores out of business. If they sell to Pure though, I wouldn't expect to see anything different except a new sign, some paint in the interior and the closure of ~dozen stores. 

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13 minutes ago, raganblink said:

Not surprising given what I've heard about them in the last 6 months... And I agree on all fronts, the industry is in shambles. The customer has been trained to not buy anything that just came out and look for clearance deals. The product's price keeps increasing which makes things even more of a no brainer to buy clearance. 1S skates for $950 or MX3s for $550? Pretty easy which one you'd like to buy your kid.

 

I think the biggest reason they struggled is you need amazing customer service and quality skate sharpenings to earn repeat business. While TH excelled in some stores they failed in others. It just takes 1 bad apple to turn you off of that entire chain, so if you have a metroplex that has multiple stores and 1 store is ran poorly, you are less likely to go there or any of the other stores. I know in Minnesota that there is 1 out of 4 stores I have had a positive experience at. 1 was alright and the other 2 were comical at how poorly they were being ran. I see so many sharpenings come in recently too from one of the stores in Minnesota where they went to get their skates sharpened there and they come back and are off by 20-35 degrees. This is not a representation of the whole company on how they do sharpenings, I had to get mine sharpened there a couple years ago and they guy did a good job. But if you get a poor sharpening at say Pure Hockey, you probably wouldn't go back to Pure Hockey, or at least that particular store, would you? 

 

Its going to be interesting to see what happens if they decide to liquidate their inventory rather than sell to Pure. If they have to liquidate their inventory to raise enough capital, I guarantee you that it puts a couple of small ma and pa stores out of business. If they sell to Pure though, I wouldn't expect to see anything different except a new sign, some paint in the interior and the closure of ~dozen stores. 


You would think manufacturers would space their product releases out more. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Total Hockey pay Bauer/CCM/Warrior to stock their products?  Bauer/CCM/Warrior has to make their money somehow and if they aren't getting stocking fees,  they're going to have to raise prices.  That, or online retailers will raise prices simply because they can.


The constant churning out of sticks/skates/etc. is bad for the consumer. No one in their right mind is going to pay an extra for a 1X 2016 when they can have a very similar one (1X 2015) for $150 less. The manufacturers will say that the "changes are significant" but it's all marketing BS. It doesn't warrant that price when there is plenty of options available on clearance or the secondary market.
 

Edited by Bbd94

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2 hours ago, PMurphy17 said:

 

the man has 2 careers, he's good.  He masquerades as a hockey playing-playoff overtime goal scorer in his off time #JOELWARD

 

I figured there was a bunch of us who were like, "Nice, JR scored again." Has Ward ever scored a playoff goal that wasn't important to the game?

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Boo. I really liked the TH near me (formerly Players Bench), but its also pretty much the only place to buy hockey gear besides little pro shops that have a small selection.

 

I don't think I ever had to pay for a sharpening there. Maybe that's part of their problem but every time I took my wallet out and they said "Don't worry about it" I left feeling good about the store.

Also, while their website alone is not great, the combo of it and the local store is great. I love being able to just return online orders to the store and being able to see what's in stock locally online.

 

I agree with others about the equipment cycle and pricing getting ridiculous though. Even as a total gear whore who likes new and shiny things, it's getting to be a bit much for me.

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35 minutes ago, sectachrome said:

I agree with others about the equipment cycle and pricing getting ridiculous though. Even as a total gear whore who likes new and shiny things, it's getting to be a bit much for me.

 

I think this is what bothers me... There is no responsibility on some of these manufacturers part.  They set the table with unsustainable growth incentives for dealers and launch all these new products in very short periods of time marketed towards kids.  They want all the benefits and none of the responsibility.  There is a price to pay for all of this and it has come due.  The worst part is that nobody will learn from this and the cycle just keeps repeating itself.  All of this with little to no regard for the human toll it all has.  This garbage affects people... It affects their families.  All this has a real Phuck You Pay Me attitude.

Edited by Zac911
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23 minutes ago, Zac911 said:

 

I think this is what bothers me... There is no responsibility on some of these manufacturers part.  They set the table with unsustainable growth incentives for dealers and launch all these new products in very short periods of time marketed towards kids.  They want all the benefits and none of the responsibility.  There is a price to pay for all of this and it has come due.  The worst part is that nobody will learn from this and the cycle just keeps repeating itself.  All of this with little to no regard for the human toll it all has.  This garbage affects people... It affects their families.  All this has a real Phuck You Pay Me attitude.

 

Wasn't True the first stick company to break the $300 barrier for sticks?

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25 minutes ago, Zac911 said:

 

I think this is what bothers me... There is no responsibility on some of these manufacturers part.  They set the table with unsustainable growth incentives for dealers and launch all these new products in very short periods of time marketed towards kids.  They want all the benefits and none of the responsibility.  There is a price to pay for all of this and it has come due.  The worst part is that nobody will learn from this and the cycle just keeps repeating itself.  All of this with little to no regard for the human toll it all has.  This garbage affects people... It affects their families.  All this has a real Phuck You Pay Me attitude.

 

But Zack, doesn't True do exactly the same thing? High prices and rapid product cylces.  Its the manufacturers that are killing their own industry.  Some people on this thread wanna knock TH for expanding but that's idiocy!  It was one man.. ONE MAN with a vision who built a great chain.  Yeah, things got screwed up... it happens but this guy took risks and built something great.  Its the American dream for crying out loud.  The manufacturers though are the ones forcing product down the retailers throats with BS "incentives" and driving inventories through the rough.

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30 minutes ago, dkmiller3356 said:

 

But Zack, doesn't True do exactly the same thing? High prices and rapid product cylces.  

 

No affiliation to TRUE, but as a retailer IMO they do it well. Two lines of sticks on alternating cycles. True, they do push the upper pricing limits but don't force retailers to buy them. Their second asd third tier sticks provide some of the best value and performance on the market for the average consumer. 

 

Where shops get into trouble is having to stock three lines of sticks, replaced within two years, and asinine "LE" models sprinkled in. 

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Not to mention msrp's enforced by these manufacturers. From what I've seen working at the retail level, some of the mark ups on products are absolutely mind boggling. Especially in the stick category where I could get last years stick or a pro stock current model for a fraction of the cost.

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Manufacturers are not enforcing MSRPs, they are enforcing MAPs (minimum advertised price). It was to protect the little guy who couldn't achieve the big discounts of some of the big boys who could have really decimated the market if they were allowed to advertise passing on those discounts to customers while the little guys would not be able to compete without losing their shirts.

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The Hockey industry is being killed be the same thing that eventually kills every industry, the unrelenting drive to increase share price.  Continued growth with no ceiling is a unicorn that every CEO chases to the eventual death of the business.  Of course they walk away rich men, leaving devastation in their wake.

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Let's not get too far off the issue here - if TH was in money issues it was something that they were doing, because the model of a lot of brick and mortar stores supplemented with online sales is working pretty well for Peranis & Pure Hockey. I think a combination of expanding too quickly & poor store managers (not saying all were bad, but, given their rating history on the internet and with personal experience, I'd say its an issue to look at) is what caused this situation, not entirely the market, although I would say that the market doesn't help anything. 


Another thing to consider I think could be poor space control - all but 1 Minnesota store and 2 of the 3 STL stores I have been in looked like they had appropriate stock and aisle spacing for the square foot that they were in. The worst for me is their Edina, MN store, it could have easily been 2000 sq feet smaller and fit the same amount of gear in it. Probably 3000 sq feet smaller if that used the walls for anything but big banners of NHL players in Bauer gear. The aisles were huge & everything was incredibly spaced out - total excess. If we go by the average 1 square foot = $1/month in lease space, that store alone could have saved at least $100K in the last 4 years if it was simply a little smaller. I realize that comes no where close to their 25M outstanding, but it would have helped, that's for sure. Energy savings, better stock management, etc all would have helped if they had more appropriately sized stores. 

 

Or maybe their corporate parties involved a lot of coke, who knows, I don't have the expenses to analyze. Just saying I don't think the market is entirely to blame for this, because if it was Pure & Peranis would be on there way out as well. 

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3 hours ago, boo10 said:

The Hockey industry is being killed be the same thing that eventually kills every industry, the unrelenting drive to increase share price.  Continued growth with no ceiling is a unicorn that every CEO chases to the eventual death of the business.  Of course they walk away rich men, leaving devastation in their wake.

That is my feeling as well

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34 minutes ago, dkmiller3356 said:

 

 

Really???  Thats an awful thing to say....

Clearly a joke. 

 

Was just trying to (poorly, apparently) emphasize that we don't know the true reason why they were struggling financially. Could be a couple of reasons, could be a combination of several reasons, the point is we don't know exactly why they struggled when other businesses with similar scales and footprints apparently succeed. 

Edited by raganblink
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8 hours ago, JunkyardAthletic said:

QFT, and add Chris Malki (HockeyGiant & HockeyTron) and John Naaman (HockeyMonkey) to that as well.

 

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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13 hours ago, LoneStar77 said:

*sigh* I know there is a bigger picture here since many more folks may be affected, but the selfish part of me really wants the Lewisville, Texas store to stay open... 

THIS. Even when it was Players Bench it was good... I'll be goddamned if I'm driving to Frisco to give my money to HG. 

 

Questionable practices and motives of retailers notwithstanding, I feel that the blame falls at the feet of the manufacturers. As has been stated,  three lines of "new" products that vary only slightly from what was released 2 years ago with a $$ increase is just dumb. As a recreational player(and a single father supporting his squirt's hockey habit) I'll never pay full price for the latest and greatest when last year's latest and greatest is available at half the price. 

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10 hours ago, Hills said:

 

Wasn't True the first stick company to break the $300 barrier for sticks?

 

Actually no TRUE was not.  What does the price of a stick have to do with this?  Curious what your thoughts are.

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