Warrior is the best hockey company out there. Here’s why.
Playing hockey all your life then moving to an island in Korea that is void of the sport certainly has it’s challenges. But where there’s a will there’s a way, and I need to take this blog post to recognize Warrior Hockey as someone who has become the way for me and others in my community.
When I moved to Jeju, South Korea in 2012, there was literally zero hockey here. No one playing any version of it, and no one that I knew yet that even watched it or kept up with a team. I essentially resigned to the notion that I may not see or play hockey again until I returned home to Canada, eventually.
Slowly, hockey people began to emerge. As we learned of each other’s presence, we began to gather. Sometimes to watch, sometimes to discuss, and eventually to start playing. A Facebook group was started. An inline hockey rink, shop, and kids inline program was discovered. A half built ice rink at Branksome Hall Asia was uncovered as well. Cheap sticks were bought from China, and a ball was sent from Canada. Interest incubated, and before long, we had street hockey games going. Low numbers, but high level enjoyment. I began to play and coach again. Hockey began to hatch around these parts. It became apparent to me that hockey could really happen here, if we gave it a good push in the right direction.
But a major hurdle was the equipment. For a casual hockey tire-kicker, buying a hockey stick for $40-50 in order to try out the sport for the first time was just not feasible. A small handful of us had bit the bullet and bought some, but we did not have the resources to clear the equipment hurdle and provide everyone with sticks in hopes of spurring the interest of island inhabitants to give our sport a chance.
That is, until Warrior came along.
Though I was constantly sending out S.O.S. messages to hockey companies like Bauer, CCM/Reebok, Easton, and others for months prior, it was Warrior — and only Warrior — that not only sent me a response, but appeared willing to assist our cause. After explaining my intentions to Warrior brand manager Keith Perera on Twitter in 140 characters or less, I was put in contact with Daniel Park, the CEO of Warrior Korea. Mr. Park contacted me via email and expressed interest in visiting our community to assess the state of hockey and whether Warrior could be of assistance to its growth in Jeju.
After flying down and visiting for a day of touring our blossoming hockey grounds, it was not long after that my living room was transformed into this:
Unable to form complete sentences for most of the day, I think I mentioned something about it being like Christmas morning a whole bunch of times.
Without giving you an entire list of inventory, in short, Warrior straight up donated us sticks, helmets, gloves, pads, and bags to help hockey grow and flourish in Jeju, South Korea. It was nothing short of amazing. Warrior has helped us put hockey sticks in the hands of new players that otherwise would not have even tried the game.
So where do we go from here? Well, for starters, if you live in Jeju, come play hockey with us. Join our Facebook group, it’s regularly updated with game times and locations. If you have, or can acquire inline skates, join our inline hockey team. If you have kids in Jeju that want to learn how to play hockey, join the Jeju Inline Academy (email: email@example.com), where I coach. And for goodness sakes, the next time you’re in the market for hockey equipment, please consider Warrior first. Visit warrior.com and/or your local hockey shop and pick up whatever you need (if you’re in Kelowna, Canada, I recommend Chevy’s Source For Sports). They make everything you need, short of skates, and it’s all solid gear. If it works for the likes of Zdeno Chara, Henrik Zetterberg, Jonathan Quick, and other bonafide NHL stars, it’ll work for you too. Your support of them will go a long way in helping me say thanks to a company that cared enough to support us.
If you’re anywhere in Korea and want to buy Warrior gear, shoot Daniel Park and email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you Warrior!
UPDATE: This post was mentioned by Sports Illustrated in a post of theirs on May 22nd, 2014.