Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I bet you didn't know you were breaking your skates!

Here's a really quick tip:

Most people take off their skates like they would a pair of shoes. They don't even realize that they are pushing on the weakest part of the boot: the tendon guard. It's an issue that every brand has struggled with at times. Some are better than others. Some will fall off no matter how carefully you treat them. But no matter what, the tendon guard should never be used as a handle to take off your skates.

Instead, use both hands to push on either side of the boot. That way you don't have to worry about them ending up like this:


Of course if you do manage to break a tendon guard, we can make a much prettier repair than the one pictured above . . . it's just one of the many things we fix at Rocket Skate.


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© 2015 Scott Noble. 
All Rights reserved. Reproduction of this article in whole or part is strictly prohibited without the author's prior express written permission.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Basketball Size Tape Rolls and Free Sticks!?

There is an odd, hockey myth floating about—if you bring a ball of tape the size of a basketball to the shop you get a free stick. It's been going strong for at least 8 years. That's how long I've been hearing it at least once a month from some poor kid who has taken it for truth. I can only guess that some older kid, perhaps a one-time believer who was pranked by an older kid himself, hands the story down to the next generation. I imagine the conversation goes something like this:

FADE IN:

EXT: HOCKEY RINK – DAY

Two kids, hockey players, are waiting for a ride. The younger one is peeling the tape off of his stick. The older one puts away his phone, seems bored.

OLDER DEVIOUS KID
Hey, don't throw that tape away.

YOUNGER FOOLISH KID
Why not? It's not good for nothin'

OLDER DEVIOUS KID
You seriously don't know? I'll take it if you don't
want it.

YOUNGER FOOLISH KID
I know I can dangle better than you if I put new
tape on my stick. What do you want it for?

OLDER DEVIOUS KID
You can't even dangle in your dreams. I shouldn't
even tell you how to get a free stick with old tape.

YOUNGER FOOLISH KID
                                                         (jumping up and dancing about)
What! A free stick? Tell me! Tell me! You gotta tell me!

OLDER DEVIOUS KID
You're an idiot. I'm not going to tell you

YOUNGER FOOLISH KID
(drops to his knees to beg)
Aw come on, you gotta tell me. Please, please, please!

OLDER DEVIOUS KID
Fine, but don't tell anyone I told you about it.

YOUNGER FOOLISH KID
OK

OLDER DEVIOUS KID
You have to promise. I'll pulverize you if you tell.

YOUNGER FOOLISH KID
Fine. I promise. Now tell me.

OLDER DEVIOUS KID
OK, here's the deal. If you bring a ball of used hockey
tape the size of a basketball to the hockey shop they
have to give you a free stick.

YOUNGER FOOLISH KID
(Standing up)
Really? Which hockey shop?

OLDER DEVIOUS KID
Oh, all of them do it. It's an industry requirement.
They have to recycle the tape and give you a stick
when you bring a ball that big. The EPA makes them
do it. The shops don't like people to know about it,
that's why you can't tell anyone I told you.

YOUNGER FOOLISH KID
                                                        (more dancing about)
                                               Awesome! I'm gonna tell everyone.

OLDER DEVIOUS KID
                                                          (smiles knowingly)
                                               Hey, just remember to leave my name out

FADE TO BLACK

Getting the entire community involved would make for a lot of victims in this prank

There are a couple of devious elements to this myth. First, and most obvious: there is no hockey store giving away a free stick for a ball of garbage. What would the benefit be to the store? Why would they want used tape? Anyone who thought this through, ergo anyone over the age of say 8 to 10 years, would realize that this is a hoax.

The second element is the truly clever one. A basketball sized roll of tape doesn't seem impossibly large. A basketball isn't something we think of a big or heavy. However, if you put this into perspective, the amount of tape in a thirty-inch circumference ball is pretty staggering. My best estimate is that the ball would take approximately 100 rolls of tape to complete. The total length of tape in such a ball would be in the ballpark of a mile and a half long.

So let's put all of this into a final perspective. The end goal of this myth is to prank the younger foolish kid into hauling around an ever growing ball of trash. If he miraculously makes it to the end, he has a ball which takes up about a third of his hockey bag and weighs almost twenty five pounds. When he lugs it into the hockey shop his reward will be a blank stare followed by the people behind the counter asking him, “Who told you that kid?”

Of course the kids can never answer the question when they come in the shop. It's always, “I just heard,” or “someone told me.” The only flaw in the prank is the perpetrator of it misses the final letdown. For the poor kid who has collected tape for five years, begging scraps from his teammates and carried significant extra tonnage in his bag the only bit of grace is that the older devious kid isn't about to laugh at him.

Anyway, here's the deal from my end. We don't give away free sticks for tape balls. However, if you bring your old tape in the shape and size of an adult hockey stick to the shop. We will give you a free basketball. (Please note the important details below):

  1. Your tape stick must feature a shaft length of at least 52 inches
  2. The blade may be left or right handed, but must feature the authentic Ovechkin curve. We will measure the lie, depth and curve of the stick to verify
  3. You must unravel and re-assemble the tape stick in the presence of a shop employee so that we can verify the stick was indeed made completely of tape
  4. Your tape stick must have a flex rating of at least 65
  5. You must bring your sales receipts showing purchase of at least 75 rolls of tape from Rocket Skate
  6. Your basketball will be delivered to your provided mailing address as we do not stock basketballs. Shipping time will take anywhere from 5 days to 18 years. We cannot be responsible for items lost in transit
As long as we're on the subject of tape, we're still carrying the same top quality tape, but our prices have been reduced. Clear and White are now $2.50 a roll and Black is only $3 a roll (those prices are even more awesome that you think because they include tax).

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© 2015 Scott Noble. 
All Rights reserved. Reproduction of this article in whole or part is strictly prohibited without the author's prior express written permission.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Road to the Doghouse

She sat beside me in the car as it crept slowly eastward on the snow-covered tarmac of I-70. Traffic was light, but that was because of the blinding blizzard which we were braving. Only the intrepid and foolhardy were making this trek. I'd count myself among the former; she would have insisted I was the later. I'd mistakenly believed conditions would be better once we'd made our subterranean crossing of the Great Divide through the Eisenhower Tunnel. Disappointingly, the swirling barrage of white did not abate on the Atlantic side of the continent. My only real fear was that they'd close the highway before we made it though.



“I don't know how to make you understand,” I told her.

“Maybe I don't want to understand.” she replied. “Maybe I just want to take a weekend trip without the car smelling like cat urine. . .”

“Hey, my gear doesn't smell like cat urine.”

“ . . . maybe I want you to think about our safety instead of about missing your game. Maybe I would have rather taken a sick day tomorrow and skied another day than ride home in a blizzard because you want to play hockey. And you're right, cat urine smells better than your gear.”

“That's a lot of maybes. You don't sound too sure of what you want.” I shouldn't have said it. Even though my tone was even, I'd carefully aimed the words knowing they'd push a button.

She was quiet for a moment. The only sounds were the rush of air from the Land Cruiser's defroster, the hiss of snowflakes bouncing off the windshield and the crush of snow under the tires. I always turned the music off while driving in the snow. This was partly because I enjoyed the silence of a snowstorm, partly because I wanted to concentrate on any loss of traction in the car.

Almost a minute passed before she muttered, “You planned this. Otherwise you wouldn't have brought your gear. You're a jerk.”

In twelve years of marriage, it certainly wasn't the worst thing she'd called me. My reply was halfhearted, “Sorry. But you are giving me too much credit if you think I control the weather. Remember, I packed my gear so we could maximize our time skiing.”

“Woohoo! So we got what, an extra fifteen minutes of skiing? Explain it too me again why our personal safety is less important than a game?”

I sighed. The number of times I'd explained it was beyond counting. “I don't want to fight.”

“Neither do I. I just want to understand.”

“A moment ago you said you didn't want to understand.”

“I said maybe I didn't want to understand. Anyway, I'm allowed to change my mind.”

“I don't know what there is to tell you that I haven't already said. It's about more than just me. There are twenty or thirty guys expecting me to be there. If I don't show up the game will be ruined. Those guys all paid money to play. It's unfair to everyone if I don't make it.”

“And those twenty or thirty guys are more important to you than I am?”

“Of course not, I didn't spend the weekend skiing with any of them.”

I don't know if she accepted this answer, but she moved on. “They seriously cannot play without you?”

“The game is no fun without goalies.”

“I still think you're just being conceited. There's got to be someone else who can do it.”

“Honey, I called eight goalies before we left and none of them could fill in. There was no one left to call.”

“I know. You were on your phone every time we were riding the lift instead of talking to me.”

“That's a serious exaggeration and you know it. Besides if I hadn't been on the phone you'd be mad at me for not trying to find a substitute. You need to have more realistic expectations. I planned to come home in time for my game from the start and we're just sticking to the plan. I did try to change it for you it didn't work out. It isn't like any of the guys on my team have goalie gear, you know.”

She acquiesced, turning to look out the passenger window after mumbling, “I just think it would have been nice to stay one more night. I was looking forward to a good dinner, some time in the hot tub and powder covered slopes in the morning. If you'd rather play hockey until midnight then get up early for work tomorrow morning, that's your call. But clearly your priorities need some adjustments . . . whatever.”

Whatever, it was a clear signal that we were done speaking. She said she didn't want to fight, but couldn't resist a jab at the end. There was no way for me to explain it. She didn't play; she'd never understand. It was nearly inexplicable to those who didn't love the game. She'd never even liked it as far as I knew. Honestly, she probably viewed the game as “the other woman.”

I pulled up to the house an hour and a half later. The snow had let up at Idaho Springs and though it was cold when got home, the only frost was coming from the passenger seat. As the garage door slowly yawned open, I thought she might finally speak. The house rule was we never went to bed angry. Since she'd certainly be asleep before I got home from my game, an apology seemed in order. This was not the case. As soon as I pulled into the garage, she exited the car, retrieved her luggage from the back and wordlessly lugged it inside. Apparently the fact that she was going to bed and I was not, was a loophole. This night there was no we.

It was almost ten o'clock. I wanted to go inside, to sort things out. It seemed the rational thing to do. But my game started in thirty three minutes. I was barely going to make it. I hit the steering wheel with my fist. I knew if I went in there was going to be a fight. It would be an act of God if that fight only took thirty minutes. There just wasn't time. How could I fix something in ten minutes that I hadn't been able to explain in twelve years?

I turned up the stereo, jammed the Land Cruiser into reverse and roared out of the garage in a rage. After a near miss with my neighbor's passing car. I drove quickly, but a little more calmly, to the rink. The only solace I would find this night would be in the game. Yes, the game would clear my head. I actually hoped for a lot of action around my net. I could use some jostling in the crease. A chance to shove some people violently out of my way—yeah, that would make me feel better.

I pulled up to the rink with twenty minutes until faceoff. Perfect. I'd have fifteen minutes to get dressed once I lugged my gear inside. I tossed my leg pads over my shoulder, hefted my gear bag out of the trunk and picked up my sticks. Toting fifty pounds of gear, I crossed the parking lot, my anger subsiding into thoughts of the game. I passed through the rink doors where a sleepy looking kid manned the front desk.

I asked him, “What locker room for The Mighty Drunks?”

He lazily scanned a sheet on the desk before asking, “The Mighty Drunks?”

“Yeah.”

“Sorry Dude, your team played last night.”

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© 2015 Scott Noble. 
All Rights reserved. Reproduction of this article in whole or part is strictly prohibited without the author's prior express written permission.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

I'm pleased to announce our new mission - The BEST Prices!

I'm going to be blunt; the hockey industry is a mess. It's a stupid way to make a living.

I've always striven to have good prices at Rocket Skate. 

When we opened our retail shop in the YMCA, our inventory consisted primarily of closeout items which we could sell at an excellent price while still making a fair profit. Since then manufacturers have slashed their dealer discounts to the bone and closeout inventory has dried up for the most part. Somewhere between our YMCA opening date seven years ago and 2014 we lost a little focus on our pricing.

Most of our prices were good, but in the ever changing landscape of hockey some of them . . . well they sucked.

Toward the end of 2014, I went through all of the inventory in the store, one item at a time and checked our prices against our internet competitors. For some brands all of our inventory was already at or below internet pricing. The rest of it, I fixed.

I'm pleased to announce that by the start of 2015, all of our hockey protective equipment, sticks and bags were being offered at the best prices you will find anywhere. 

Come in, bring your phone and compare our prices. If you find a better deal, we'll match it and toss in two free sharpenings.



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© 2015 Scott Noble. 
All Rights reserved. Reproduction of this article in whole or part is strictly prohibited without the author's prior express written permission.