Is there anything better than classic outdoor hockey? There is a sense of tradition that comes with playing outside on frozen ponds or the neighborhood outdoor rink. Hockey is a timeless game and hockey players love the traditions of the game. There is a company that is helping hockey players carry out the tradition of the sport with their products and that’s Third Assist Hockey. Third Assist Hockey creates products for hockey players that remind them of the roots of hockey!
Third Assist Hockey was created about 5 years ago by a fellow hockey player named Chris DeVore. He started the Third Assist sort of out of an accident. He was involved with an outdoor and camping project in college. While working on his project, he kept getting emails from unrelated sports equipment manufacturers. After getting several emails and samples of materials for his camping project, Chris had the idea of an outdoor hockey glove that could be lined and insulated for pond hockey. Chris grew up in Anchorage, Alaska and could remember the evenings in his childhood playing hockey with his friends outside, but waiting the next few hours for his hands and feet to thaw out.
He decided to respond to a few of those manufacturers that said they could make custom sports equipment and he asked about lining a hockey glove. He didn’t want to re-invent the glove…just improve it for outdoor play. Chris found a manufacturer from overseas who agreed to do a traditional leather 4-roll style glove but make the inside with a wool / fur lining that would be great for pond hockey!
With terms agreed upon, the manufacturer started working on creating Chris’s vision. However, the first run was not as expected. Instead of the traditional colors, Chris was hoping for, the manufacturer had some slight color issues. What Chris got back was a metallic gold-colored glove that looked very shiny and not at all like a classic glove. Although not as expected, he decided to still try and sell some of those as they still performed and looked good.
Chris contacted the manufacturer to have a “traditional” color glove made. The company made adjustments but the second batch wasn’t much better…it was a metallic bronze. At this point, he decided to keep searching and found a different manufacturer to get the exact model he wanted.
After getting his glove made exactly how he wanted, he bought a small number of gloves to test the market. He found that his product was very niche, but the people who bought the gloves loved them! Each year since, he has doubled sales, and has created a product for a specialized market that is doing very well! However, he soon noticed that his product was extremely seasonal as one may expect. His next challenge was to find a way to make Third Assist more of a year-round company instead of just winter. This is where the classic wooden sticks come in!
About two years ago, Chris found a guy in Canada that still makes traditional wood sticks. He got the idea of finishing the sticks himself and making them more of a show-piece. His idea was to import the sticks halfway done, and then be able to finish them as desired by the customer. This would allow his business to be more year-round!
The traditional wood sticks have been a hit! Folks are buying them for office gifts, tournament prizes, groomsman gifts, and all other types of gifts! Since they can be customized, they are very unique for the customer! Chris is hoping to grow the stick side of the business in the near future by allowing custom laser engravings into the stick. This feature would allow for even further customization, and another way to expand his offerings.
Third Assist is growing! In addition to the glove’s popularity growing more each year, and the sticks being a hit, they aren’t slowing them down. The next outdoor product they are looking into is outdoor hoodies for pond hockey. The hoodies would have a retro theme tied into a region or a state (a State Wars-Esque feel). This is another product that would tie in nicely to their whole retro theme. The final ideas are being worked on and designed, but hopefully, these will be released this season or next!
There is nothing better than taking it back to the good ole days of hockey and keeping it simple. Third Assist Hockey is making hockey equipment that does just that!
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