SuperDeker Origin Story Clip from The Face-Off Spot Podcast: Ep. 58

  

SuperDeker Advanced Hockey Stickhandling Training Device featured on the Face-off Spot Podcast with Andy Healey and Adam Larson!

 

This week Andy Healey from SuperDeker joins Adam Larson on the Face-off Spot Podcast! We talk about's one of the coolest training aids around: the SuperDeker! Andy tells the Origin Story of SuperDeker!

 

Transcript

Adam:

I already knew that they existed, the SuperDeker, because I’ve seen them around quite a bit, but, just before we continue with the episode, can you go into what it is? I feel like most of the people that listen to this podcast know what we’re talking about as soon as you explain it to them. But, I don’t wanna do it the wrong way.

 

Andy:

 The best way to describe the product is to go back to how the original founders- when he was a kid, Mark Weber was playing hockey, and his dad was trying to think of creative ways to help him stick handle. And his dad had the thought of: “When you’re out on the ice, you don’t know what’s gonna happen next. So, instead of you playing with a Swedish stick handling ball or a golf ball in the basement and just stick handling, you have to react to it.”

So, his dad would actually turn off the lights and turn on a flashlight for a second, and mark would move the puck over to the flashlight spot. His dad would turn it off, move the position, turn the light back on, and his kid would move it over there. And it was just something that stuck in his head for his whole life. And his partner, another Mark, Mark Simonds – the two of them were in business, separate career, and at nights over beers, when they’re all just sitting there shooting the breeze, trying to figure out what’s going on in life, Mark Simonds finally got tired of listening to Mark talk about how great an idea it is and said: “We gotta build it.”

So, that was the genesis. And they took a number of years to develop the product.  The way I describe it, it’s stick handling reaction. It forces you to react to the lights. For all of us old people, it’s like going into Chuck E. Cheese with whack-a-mole. Head pops up or light comes on, you either whack the mole, or move the puck over with the stick.

 

Adam: 

And the funny part is, because I know a handful of parents that have already purchased this. What happens is, I feel like you really found your niche, because you’re not only giving it to hockey players, who like to train anyway, but hockey players are also competitive. Because it keeps score. So, now we’re seeing all these videos of- if you could imagine- you played, growing up. But, it’s just three kids that are on a sleepover, and all of a sudden they’re playing the SuperDeker for hours at a time because one kid gets the high score, and the other two kids are not gonna go to bed until they get the high score. It’s also a competitive… It’s cool. And the way the kids react to it too, because they’re just as competitive about that as they are on the ice.

 

Andy: 

Right. It’s one of those things about kids dunking their vegetables in ranch dressing. Parents don’t care. It’s like: “Oh, he thinks that tastes good?” And it’s the same thing we talked about. SuperDeker fakes kids to train. You’re not forcing them to go downstairs and put in 100 shots in the net, and stick handle with a green biscuit or a stick handling ball. And not that those are bad. Those are awesome – you can stick it in your pocket and take it places. But, to get a kid to be engaged, and to have that competition – my son’s had teammates over, they’d sit in the basement, hoot and holler, laugh at each other. And then, when someone gets close to breaking someone else’s score, immediately blows start getting thrown.

 

Adam:

Oh yeah.

 

Andy: 

No fights happen, but throwing at the kids’ faces, throwing at the puck, trying to…

 

Adam: 

It’s one of those things. And I think you can respect this, but you grew up playing competitive hockey, but you spend most of the time competing with your teammates in some way or another. You always love getting together with your teammates and competing against other teams, but most of the time you grow up against the same kids, you’re always competing against the same kids. So, it’s just one other level of competition, if you will.

 

Andy: 

It is. And what’s really cool is- it is marketed, and I would say a majority of people that own the product are for kids 6, 8, 10, 12 years old. Some of the kids outgrow it, but it’s amazing. I probably can’t name names and stuff – we have a couple of NHL players that have it that have posted videos. I had a mom of an NHL player call and say: “Hey, my kid’s just holed up, COVID’s crazy, they’re not playing, he’s been dying for a SuperDeker for the longest time, and I wanna get it for them.“ And it’s a funny thing that a mom of an NHL player is calling us to buy her kid a SuperDeker, because he really wants it.

 

Adam:

For sure. But, especially because- there’s a lot of time within the podcast that I talk about doing things off the ice, because I think that’s one of the biggest things that separates kids that are really wanting to get better. And there’s nothing wrong with just wanting to play the game as a hobby, and there’s nothing wrong with not wanting to get better, but if you wanna get better, you have to do things outside of just being on the ice, because you’re only gonna be out on the ice for so long.

So, one of the biggest things for me, that I talk about a lot- I call it roller-hockey, but what I mean by that is just really anything that you’re doing out on concrete. It doesn’t mean that you have to strap on rollerblades to do that, but those are the kids that are gonna get better, those are the kids that are stick handling- I call it ‘touches’. The more touches you have, the better you’re gonna be. So, if you’re using a SuperDeker you’re getting more touches, and it’s keeping you a little more interactive, but I could see that being a wonderful tool for everybody.

And to be honest with you, I’m kinda glad- I‘m not saying that I don’t want one, but I’m kinda glad I don’t have it, because I would really just wanna challenge all my buddies, and I think we’re at a stage in our lives where that might get out of hand. I almost wouldn’t want- I think we’re all old now, so now we’re even more competitive in some way or another. But, I’d like to see…

 

Andy: 

Hold onto those small victories.

 

Adam:

Because there’s certain players that might be fast, but who knows how to stick handle? Let’s set this up, let’s have some competition here. But, anyway, Andy, you're a guest…

 

Andy:

What you were saying about off-ice, I just think back- One, thank you for all the credit of playing competitive hockey. I played nowhere near competitive hockey, but I grew up playing sports and hockey and all that, and when you’re a kid, you had to make your own things to shoot baskets or to do whatever it is. And the technology that’s out there today that enables kids and adults to play off the ice at a really high level, whether it’s the Hockey Wraparound that you can use your own stick and you don’t need a plastic one, the Mars blades- the roller skates are way more hockey-like than the original rollerblades I put on that really simulates gameplay. It’s cool.

 

Adam: 

Yeah. To be honest with you, if I was gonna invest in something, that’s what I would invest in. Hockey is growing, but there’s only so many rinks. There’s only so many ice sheets. There are tons of kids that I know personally that would spend all day out on the rink if they could, but the ice time is just not available. There’s only so much ice. And here in the Dallas Fort Worth area, we have 16 sheets within 45 minutes to an hour of each other, but even then there’s a lot of kids that can’t find the time that they actually want to spend training, or getting better or improving, and it just seems like its that difference in between what I would call the off-season. So, the travel season, the competitive season, or just the recreational season has just ended, and now you have time to fill. But as I said, there’s only so much time you can spend out on that ice. So, where are you spending that time?

The other thing is that kids have more free time in the summer because they’re not at school. So it’s one of those things too – what are the parents gonna do with their kids? And you’re like- I see it all the time, where there’s these families that have multiple kids in hockey, 3+, and they’re like: “Now we have them all back here, they’re all gonna wanna be on the ice all the time. But, this is the off-season, so they’re not actually- Like, the season isn’t going on, but we need to keep them busy. What do we do? Get them to train.”

 

Andy:

It’s funny, when you were talking about sheets of ice – when I was a kid growing up in the Detroit area, a buddy of mine, his dad played high-level college, one of the top scorers. I think he had- out on the East Coast. Anyhow, he had set some records, done some stuff, maybe got drafted. Back then, you don’t make much money, so he decided he can make a better life in sales than trying to play hockey. But, he ended up doing a lot of coaching, and my buddy- I remember, he’d show up at school on a Tuesday morning and he’d be dog-tired. He’s like: “Yeah, I had to come back from Port Huron. We had a 10:30 game, we came back at midnight.” Even in Detroit, where there’s so much hockey, the ice time was so limited, you had 7-year-old kids playing an hour and a half away on a school night.