Chris Malki - CEO of HockeyTron
Why are the manufacturers afraid of HockeyTron?
After 22 years in the hockey retail business (I founded HockeyPlus, HockeyGiant, and HockeyMonkey), and 15 years as a professional Registered Engineer in California, I decided to try a "Wal-Mart" approach for hockey equipment retail. Being in the business for as long as I had, I contacted the heads of the 3 Major Hockey companies and explained my concept to them. They all wished me luck, and with good fortune and commitment, we have sold over 500,000 units of TRON equipment in our first year alone.
The last major breakthrough hockey equipment was the One-Piece stick which came out several years ago. Why are the name-brand companies suffering major expenses in the Research and Development departments when it seems like year to year, the only thing that changes are the graphics? The only trademarks to come out of the major players in the game were for silly buzzwords and catch phrases like Techtronic or MegaSuper. Since it’s very simple to make sticks as good as anyone else’s, even better in some aspects, why not create one of our own?
Generally speaking, the manufacturers pay about $60 for their top of the line sticks, and about $120 for their high-end skates. They respectively retail for $250 and $800 dollars. If we could make identical products and retail them for half the price, why shouldn't we? Very quickly, this mindset quickly took its turn to nearly every other product available on the market today.
We make an Anti-Scratch/Anti-Fog Visor (The s30) for $20 that a visor with similar features from a name brand would retail for $70. We were able to produce a Roller Hockey Puck for 1/2 the price of any of our closest competitors, selling it for $4 instead of $8. Wheels started at close to $5.00 a wheel before our Mega Hz wheels blew that price away at a mere $2 a wheel. Even low end sticks we were able to knock close to $20 off; Where you would normally see a $60 tag, we have been able to put $39.99 on our TRON Basic stick with the exact same weight specs. Perhaps our best products, and by far our best sellers, have been TRON jerseys and socks. Jerseys and socks we retail for $12 have name brand counterparts that retail for nearly 3 times as much!
The reception of our TRON products by the consumers has been absolutely phenomenal. Since all the TRON products manufactured for us are made in similar factories in China that the name brands use, we know we are offering products with very good quality features and materials.
And the TRON line still continues to grow today, over 1 year later. We are in the works for a goalie line of equipment. Soon, TRON will have a leg pad, chest protector, blocker, and glove set that you can get for around $700. It will all be high-end level equipment, which would normally run someone over two grand. Pro-weighted jerseys, more visors, high-end skates, off-ice and on-ice training products, and much more are all coming soon.
We will be creating innovative and patented hockey equipment soon. Two patented introductions will debut this coming summer, very cool surprises for sure!