Feature: BASE Hockey

BASE Hockey, by Jeffrey Reed
Fall 2014

London entrepreneur Freddie Smith said serious golfers would never swing clubs purchased right off the rack, so why would hockey players skate with sticks not custom fit to their game?

Thanks to Smith and his business partners, father and son Steve and Nick Smith (no relation to Freddie), local hockey players can be custom fit with NHL-calibre composite shafts and blades, and can better their skills through instruction.

In early-September, the Smiths brought the Vancouver-headquartered BASE Hockey three-step individualized custom experience to London. The Smiths purchased the Southwestern Ontario rights to BASE custom fitting and apparel, as well as the Canadian manufacturing rights. Freddie said sticks are currently manufactured in Mexico, but plans call for the future addition of a local manufacturing plant.

BASE London is located in rear warehouse space at 1040 Wilton Grove Road, also home to Trisec Logistics – Steve is president and owner of Trisec Warehousing Ltd., son Nick in charge of warehousing and distribution, and Freddie Canadian sales and development. Nick currently handles most of BASE’s hockey instruction. All three have solid hockey experience – Steve played on scholarship at Western Michigan University in the mid- to late-1970s.

basehockey

In 1993, BASE Hockey president and co-founder Ron Kunisaki founded Innovative Hockey Inc., (IHI), the first composite hockey stick company in North America. In 2005, he sold IHI to Warrior Hockey (a subsidiary of New Balance Inc.). BASE vice-president and co-founder Cliff Ronning, a 19-year NHL veteran, heads up BASE’s shooting analysis and custom fitting protocol. Former NHL stars Al Iafrate, Jeff Friesen and Glenn Anderson are on board as pro analysts.

BASE supplied its first custom fittings, instruction and custom sticks in 2011. Freddie said while a comparable stick from Easton or Bauer costs $350-$400, a BASE stick costs $210 plus shipping, with a two-week turnaround.

“We decided to go grass-roots,” said Freddie. “We can fit kids (beginning at Pee Week hockey) so they can go to hockey camp with a stick that fits properly 100 per cent. We’ll fit all the way up to adult rec players, junior hockey players – all demographics.”

No two players shoot a puck he same. BASE’s high-tech camera equipment shooting at 1000 frames per second collects data analysed by the Smith trio, all BASE-certified. Freddie said plans call for the future addition of other certified analysts.

Shooting pucks on synthetic ice, a player custom fit with a stick-blade combination chosen from hundreds of options also sees his or her swing compared to a pro’s swing displayed on a split screen. The entire custom fitting process takes about one hour. Sticks are also customized with chosen team colours, plus names and numbers.

Freddie said female hockey players can now be properly custom fit with sticks. “It’s great for girls and women because they have always had to use a man’s stick and make it fit their style.

“This is the next evolution in hockey,” Freddie added. “It’s the next step in the way people are going to buy sticks.”

BASE Hockey
• Vancouver-headquartered composite hockey stick manufacturer using high-speed cameras, expert analysis, custom shaft-blade combinations and certified training on synthetic ice
• Freddie, Steve and Nick Smith own Southwestern Ontario rights to BASE and BASE apparel, plus Canadian manufacturing rights
• Sticks cost about $210 plus shipping with two-week turnaround after custom fitting. There are hundreds of shaft/blade combinations available.
• BASE instruction uses video to build upon the initial analysis session.

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office http://www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989. Publisher/Editor of this website and https://londonontariogolf.com.

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