Category Archives: Main

Pickup Hockey All-Stars!

brydon-iceIn case you didn’t know, we work out of the ThreeFortyNine coworking space. That means we work around other awesome folks all day long. One of those folks is Matt Sharpe of DaringBoy and DesigningSport fame. We briefly discussed the idea of doing something for pickup hockey folks. The only photo I could find to test was the one used in the Metro article.

Look what Matt did to me….enough said!

All I’ll add is…more coming soon!

Dark or White Sweater Only for Pickup Hockey!

I posted a somewhat pissy update on twitter yesterday before our pickup hockey game last night….

Maybe it’s just a personal pet peeve but if you know you’re playing pickup hockey, leave the yellow, reds, and grey’s at home. Make sure you have a dark, as in black, and a white with you. Put one on and bring the other to the bench in case you need to flip teams to balance things out.

who’s on what team?

It’s a subtle difference but it actually makes for a better game of pickup when you can clearly delineate teams. There’s nothing worse that having to contemplate “red’s dark or white?” everytime you lift your head to make a pass.

While I seriously doubt anyone read my update, I will report that we somehow ended up with only dark and whites last night and it was a lovely skate!

We Have Pretty!

jersey (1)We have a new logo! You can see it on our main website. We’re also working on getting some sweaters made up.

We’re planning on offering them in a pair of home and away. Then you’ll be set to play for either side when you show up for pickup.

What have you LOST organizing hockey?

flyer2.pdf_006We’re working on a LOST ad to put up on rinks and hockey shops. The goal is to emphasize that we help you organize pickup hockey while losing less of your personal time and money. What’ya think?

If you live near Kitchener Ontario, Eric is running a game tomorrow night so join us! $10 including an after skate beer on us. Based on people already signed up, it’ll be an intermediate skill level.

Think Your Pickup Hockey Is Too Expensive?

(Quotes below are testimonials from some of our current 20Skaters organizers)

“All summer I had to think about whether or not I was willing to continue losing $100 per week to organize and play pick up hockey.”

If you have yet to literally put your personal money down to purchase icetime to run your own pickup hockey game, you may genuinely be curious who’s making the profit on a game? If that’s you, let me save you some cash and share how the experience goes. First you pick an icetime and book it by paying $285+ on your personal credit card. You obviously don’t want to profit so you run the numbers and figure you’ll charge $14 each for 20 skaters which gets you $280. That means you actually paid $20 to skate in your own game but you don’t want to risk anyone thinking you’re not paying or you’re making money.

dollarYou then bust your ass emailing, phoning, texting and you get your 20 skaters confirmed. If you’re really lucky, only five of those people fall asleep, get drunk, have a date night etc on the night and flake out on you. Oh, and then there’s the two who forgot to hit the bank machine or forgot their wallet.

If you’re lucky you collect $14 from 15 skaters and only lose $75 hosting your first pickup hockey game. Yay! What comes next is the immediate decision that you’re never running a pickup hockey game again.

“It was costing me about $2000 a year to play 20 games, and that’s my best guess, because it was very hard to do accurate bookkeeping with money here and there and promises to pay next week, etc.”

Here’s the simple truth. Most (read: all) people organizing regular pickup hockey are losing money doing it.

We encourage our organizers to charge more than they first estimate. You can always lower it but more importantly all it takes is one poorly attended game to wipe out that $10 ‘profit’ you earned on the previous few games. If you actually end up with cash at the end of the year, you can throw a ‘team’ party with extra funds. Or you can always lower next year’s season fees.

20Skaters is saving me a ton of money, and making it a whole lot easier to organize the weekly scrimmage.”

End of day, we love pickup hockey and want more of it. Organizers losing money will not get us there so if you’re playing pickup hockey, pay your organizer early and often! If you’re organizing, we can help!

Taping Your Hockey Stick…Right To The Toe

In watching HNIC this past weekend, they showed a clip of Ovechkin taping his stick before a shootout. I barked at the TV “he’s using my technique!”

IMG_2677So clearly watching Ovie tape his stick in a similar fashion means I must have seen someone do this in the past. I don’t recall and honestly thought I had come up with it myself. Let’s just assume I stole it from Ovie! Regardless of patents and copyrights, I figured I’d share how I tape my stick all the way to the toe of the stick.

IMG_2678First, tape your stick as you normally would. In my case I’m going heel to toe. When you reach the end of your stick and the stick starts to curve into the toe shape, stop pulling the tape tightly. Instead, start to lay the tape down. Don’t worry about how big and ugly and how much tape you use. The only key is that you don’t want any creases, which you’ll get if you’re pulling it tight.

Now you should have a tab of tape at the end of your stick. Now fold that tape back and forth to flattened and seal the tape to the stick as best you can.

IMG_2681Now get a pair of sharp scissors, as Ovie apparently uses, or a utility knife which is how I roll. Trim the excess tape off. Don’t worry about trimming it too tight as the tape ideally remains sealed together…like a nice pizza pocket!

That’s basically it. I rub all the tape using a puck to seal it all together well, including around the end where there’s likely some fringe left from your pizza pocket.

IMG_2692Personally I also wax it using cheap tealight candles but I’m not sure there’s any point to that except to give me another pre-game ritual. If you do wax, I usually squeeze the blade and run my hands down the blade after. This warms the wax and spreads it out. (hmm..wonder what SEO will do with those last two sentences?)

The final product!

Christmas Pickup Hockey…HoHoHockey?

I’ve personally hosted a game of pickup hockey or two over the past few holiday seasons. I often bundle it with tickets to a Guelph Storm game. We’re on the ice around 4pm, shower and grab some food and then catch a local OHL game.

A friend of mine used to run a similar game. He would pay for the ice and to play you had to bring a food or toy for donation.

xmxasWith people taking time off work, the holidays are a great time to grab some extra icetime and host a holiday pickup hockey. To encourage and support this we’re working on a December promotion. It’s early in our planning and would love your thoughts and input?

Here’s what we’re thinking. We help you organize your holiday pickup by using 20Skaters. We donate 100% of our fees, not simply profit, for these holiday skates to a charity we’re working on lining up. You encourage your skaters to bring a non-perishable food donation that you gather and donate to a local foodbank project.

The more games we organize together, the larger the cheque we write on behalf of us and your skaters. I’d love to hear any feedback, ideas we should consider incorporating into this?

PS…of course I already grabbed a domain name….

Know a Pickup Organizer? Get You Some Hockey Loot!

While there’s a lot more coming, our product’s core value today is helping a pickup hockey organizer. If you’ve purchased some icetime, or regular weekly icetime, we need to talk!

20131115_135357We began working with most of our current organizers because of referrals from skaters in our existing games. We really like referrals as the best people to explain our product are you folks already familiar with it. We recognize that referring people takes up some of your time so we wanted to thank those folks who take the time to do so.

The plan’s simple. Periodically we go shopping and assemble a variety of hockey related gifts. I have the lovely job today of shopping for, and building, our first set of referral thank you packages. This first pack includes Bauer Premium hockey socks, a mix pack of hockey tape and a Green Biscuit so you can work on your sweet hands.

So if you know of a pickup hockey organizer we should be working with, please tell them about us! If they decide to host regular weekly games with us, you’ll find yourself the recipient of one of our lovely hockey surprise packs.

Why Don’t You Run Regular Pickup Hockey?

In a lot of ways we’ve become pickup hockey counsellors. We’re fortunate to work directly with you folks who have the often thankless job of organizing pickup hockey. That affords us a front row seat to hear about, and hopefully solve, those pains. We’re excited to expand that, for example we’re hoping to get our organizers together later this year. In the larger cities where we have enough organizers, we’re hoping to run pickup of our own with just organizers followed by a dinner where we can connect you together in person.

Christmas Game | 20Skaters.com - Chromium_063What we don’t get to do enough is talk with people who are considering running pickup for the first time, or have run a few one-off games and considering making the leap to running a regular game. What’s holding you back? We’d like to eventually be an enabler to get more pickup hockey going so learning what your roadblocks are is important. Please comment below or contact us directly.

PS..you can now add your games directly to your calendar of choice from each of our game pages.

 

Local Front Page!

B821418192Z.1_20131025012016_000_GGB13LPMA.2_ContentA big thanks for Chris Seto down at the Guelph Mercury for writing a great story on us and getting us on the front page this past Friday!

“The website 20skaters.com was officially launched earlier this year. It allows organizers of pickup hockey games to easily keep track of who’s coming to the games and how many subs may be needed. It also helps them see how much money they’re taking in and if it’s enough to cover their expenses.”

They even interviewed some of our local organizers and skaters, which is great.

“Our roster is sort of ever changing, so I think this is a good way to be able to manage a big roster that aren’t all committed”

It looks as though a few hockey players read it as our lone skater signups in Guelph increased for a few days. We’re working this week to find some games for those new signups.