If you’ve never been to a Pro Hockey Life store?
It’s worth the ride.
I wandered into one in Calgary with our contributing editor John Kendle during the Grey Cup two years hence and it blew my mind.
Kendle has twin sons who both play in the Winnipeg Minor Hockey system.
He dragged me in on the pretext that we might peruse a deal or two.
He was looking for new gloves and there was a sale on.
Oakville opened the newest Pro Hockey Life store recently and they asked Haliburton’s Matt Duchene – number 9 on your Colorado Avs program and number one in your hearts – and what follows is a wee blurb from the Halton Beaver
Whether you play on the ice or the road, the newlyopened Pro Hockey Life Sporting Goods Inc. promises to have all your hockey needs.
The new Oakville megastore opened this past weekend at Dorval Drive, just north of the QEW, with a grand opening ceremony that featured star NHL forward Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche.
One of the store’s sales directors, Jonathan Hill, called Saturday’s event a success.
“It was a busy day and a lot of people were blown away just as I was the first time I came into one of these stores,” he said.
Aside from Duchene signing autographs, the grand opening also featured a live broadcast of TSN Radio with host James Cybulski and an on-site exhibit by The Hockey Hall Of Fame, which included 2010 Olympic jerseys of Sidney Crosby and Roberto Luongo; the Canada Cup Trophy; Marc- André Fleury’s goalie pads from the 2011 Winter Classic; and Alex Ovechkin’s stick used at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game.
The store has a staff of about 50 part-time employees. Hill said the large staff is essential because employees are stationed in areas of their expertise, including about 12 people selling only skates.
“All of our staff have a passion for hockey and a passion for people,” Hill said. “That’s mandatory for all of our staff. We give them extensive training, solely on hockey. When you come into the store, you will have one-on-one help in anything you need hockey related.”
The store features a pro shop to provide equipment repair and skate sharpening, a skate wall, areas selling apparel, memorabilia, equipment and more.
“This is the only store you can come in and try the stick before you buy it,” Hill said.
“We have a shooting area. NHL players use this system to train. It’s a rapid-shot shooting area where pucks shoot out to you and you fire at a target. It will tell you how fast you shot and how accurate you are. Customers can use it, free of charge, to try out any stick.”
There are large-screen televisions in the store that play hockey games, if available, or the NHL channel to help create the hockey atmosphere. Hill said staff is available at the store to spend time with customers to help them make the right buying choices.
“If you’re in here buying skates, you could possibly be seated at the skate bench for over an hour,” Hill said. “By the time you pick up your skates, they get heated up in an oven, they mold to your feet and we sharpen them, you could be there possibly for an hour. So why not watch a hockey game?”
And yes, it’s hot hot hot.
But take heart.
Only 6 or 7 weeks to training camp.
Merde! Summer too short in these parts?