Integral Hockey: Rebuilding Broken Hockey Sticks And Keeping Them Out Of Landfills

This text is written by Lew Blaustein, who writes on the intersection of inexperienced and sports for his GreenSportsBlog.

Do you know that 70% of the two million ice hockey sticks bought within the North American market break yearly? GreenSportsBlog positive didn’t. At the very least not earlier than we talked with Randy Langille, Founding father of Integral Hockey Stick Restore, and Patrick Demsey, an Integral Hockey franchisee in Los Angeles, about an revolutionary enterprise on the intersection of Inexperienced and Sports activities.

This story begins in 1988, the top of the Wayne Gretzky-Edmonton Oilers dynasty for the puck heads amongst you.

Randy Langille, Founder of Integral Hockey Stick Repair. (Photo credit: Randy Langille)
Randy Langille, Founding father of Integral Hockey Stick Restore. (Photograph credit score: Randy Langille)

Randy Langille was a fabricator of plane elements at Blackline Plastics in Sydney, British Columbia, and like most Canadians, additionally an enormous hockey fan. His brother-in-regulation had simply come again from Finland, performed junior hockey for a time, was not NHL caliber, and began enjoying in “beer leagues” in BC. He purchased a brand new hockey stick for $200–and it broke after forty five days–and the guarantee was just for 30 days.

Since his brother-in-regulation was, in Randy’s phrases, a “workin’ stiff”, $200 was (and is) some huge cash. So he introduced the persist with Langille to see if he, an professional in composites, might repair it. 2 hours of labor for an exterior restore and–it labored! Randy informed his brother-in-regulation to not inform anybody as a result of it was an excessive amount of work to repair every stick.

Quick ahead to 2010. Randy was nonetheless tooling round with a stick right here and a stick there. It might all the time take 2 hours to restore. Randy felt there needed to be a greater approach to repair the sticks quicker.

And there was.

He considered a course of used within the manufacturing of plane elements that might permit him to restore by making use of a hole carbon fiber contained in the stick shaft. Doing so minimize the restore course of down from 2 hours to 12-quarter-hour.

His pals liked the repaired sticks. Randy then carried out a check with Alberni Valley Bulldogs, a Junior A membership in BC: He fastened all of their damaged sticks after which would see in the event that they could possibly be used at that prime degree of play. 20 sticks have been fastened–10 have been good, 10 failed. Again to the drafting board Randy went–it took 60 sticks to get the method proper. The Bulldogs gave Randy all of their damaged sticks. The Oldys Grizzlies of the Alberta Junior Hockey League then despatched Randy their sticks for restore, have been proud of the outcomes and Randy began to see a enterprise alternative.

In early 2011 Langille utilized for patents on the stick restore course of and created a franchise system during which the US and Canada have been carved up geographically. Thus, Integral Hockey Stick Restore was born.

Franchises, which value as little as $15,000, are decided by the variety of leisure gamers and hockey rinks in a given area (sometimes 1,500 gamers and 5 rinks). Integral Hockey trains the franchisees on its proprietary restore course of, offers the instruments, and the restore equipment.

One such franchisee, in Los Angeles, is Patrick Demsey. He’s not solely a hockey man, he additionally starred within the film Miracle, concerning the 1980 gold medal profitable US Olympic hockey staff–Demsey performed staff captain Mike Eruzione. Patrick’s stick-breaking story was just like Randy’s–“My cousin was a critical participant–he would break a stick each 2-three weeks and that might set him again $200-$300 every time.” Demsey, who calls Integral Hockey “the most effective stored secret in hockey”, purchased the LA franchise in LA, obtained educated over three days, is popping round repaired Integral sticks for his cousin and others for between $fifty five-$sixty five every, and is “having a whole lot of enjoyable.”

There at the moment are seventy six Integral Hockey franchisees, with Randy anticipating that the enterprise will develop to 200 within the not-too-distant future. 20,000 sticks have been repaired by Integral franchisees so far.

Now, chances are you’ll ask, what’s the inexperienced facet to Integral Hockey? Good query.

There are 2 million hockey sticks manufactured for the North American market yearly, of which 70% will break annually. Most of these 1.four million damaged sticks are destined for the landfill. The enterprise and environmental profit (holding stands proud of landfill) potential are large for Integral Hockey and its franchisees.

Views of damaged hockey sticks earlier than being and after being fastened by Integral Hockey Stick Restore. (Photograph credit score: Integral Hockey Stick Restore)

Proper now, the most important barrier to scaling the enterprise and maximizing the environmental profit is, in response to Randy, low consciousness.

An apparent route to construct notoriety has been to succeed in out to the Nationwide Hockey League. A couple of Integral Hockey franchise places are working with NHL golf equipment to restore sticks which are, in flip, auctioned off to boost cash for the golf equipment’ favourite charities. However widespread acceptance from the NHL has, in Langille’s phrases, “been a troublesome nut to crack. $200-$300 for a brand new stick is a rounding error to them.” The corporate hopes that, given the NHL’s robust inexperienced pedigree, the powers that be within the league workplace will see the worth of holding damaged stands proud of the landfill and thus the worth of working with Integral Hockey.

However Langille is just not ready on the NHL to construct consciousness of Integral Hockey; he’s taking half in Canadian Broadcasting Firm’s (CBC’s) “Dragon’s Den”, a Canadian model of “Shark Tank”. Randy and different aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their enterprise ideas and merchandise to a panel of Canadian enterprise moguls to attempt to win designation as the most effective startup amongst this season’s contestants.

The outcomes might be revealed between now and April 2016 and GreenSportsBlog shall be watching and reporting on how Integral Hockey fares.