It isn’t every day that something comes along that makes it cheaper to be a hockey parent. But that’s exactly what Dave Langill is doing with his new business, Integral Hockey Winnipeg.
Langill is a local franchise owner of a B.C.-based company whose patent-pending technology makes it possible to repair carbon-fibre hockey sticks for a fraction of the cost of purchasing a new stick.
Rather than shelling out another $150, $250 or even $350 for a replacement, hockey parents or recreational players can now turn to Langill and have their broken stick put back together for just $65.
"I was looking for business opportunities on Kijiji of all places and this one popped out," said the Lockport resident, who has drop-off locations for broken sticks at Jonathan Toews Community Centre and Maples Community Centre, and expects to add more in other parts of the city soon.
"I did some research, and saw that Hockey Canada endorsed it. The people I’ve repaired sticks for are saying the stick performs as well as it did before."
The repair method was invented by Randy Langille of Port Alberni, B.C., who worked in the aircraft parts manufacturing field. When complete, the repair leaves the stick slightly shorter, and with a barely visible seam.
"In the past the only way to make a repair was by using a solid plug in the shaft," Langill said. "But that won’t allow the stick to flex. This is the first hollow repair."
When Langill shows skeptical customers that the stick flexes just like it did before it broke, they’re usually sold on his method.
"One customer spent about $200 on a high-quality stick when it was on sale, and their kid had it hit with a shot near the top of the shaft," he said. "The answer from the parent was that it appears to play like it did before."
Essentially, Langill considers his service an extended warranty for hockey sticks that doesn’t need to be purchased until it’s needed. He also guarantees his repair for 36 days, promising to fix any breaks within 2 1/2 inches of his seam.
Langill is hoping to sign junior and AAA teams to season-long contracts. A typical Junior A team spends anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000 a year on sticks, he said.
"Some coaches want their players to use the repaired sticks in practice and save the new ones for games," he said. "That could save the teams thousands of dollars."