The Face-off Spot Podcast with Adam Larson and Andy Healey from SuperDeker!

 

This week Andy Healey from SuperDeker joins Adam Larson on the Face-off Spot Podcast! We talk about Andy's history as a hockey player, coach, and little-known history of the SuperDeker!

 

Transcript

Adam

              Alright. Welcome back to The Face-Off Spot. This is Adam Larson, and we’d like to thank you for tuning in to another episode. We always appreciate it when you guys tune in, and we’d always like to show appreciation for our sponsor of the evening, which is Rube’s Brews. You can check them out in Instagram and Facebook. They have some interesting beers coming up, all good stuff. I’ve tried a few of the new brews that have come out, and I can say for myself they’re delicious as usual.

                        But, anyway, tonight on the podcast we- we usually do podcasts person-to-=person, but every once in a while we come across somebody that we just really wanna have on the show, and that has insight into the world of hockey, the world of the sport itself. And today, we’re coming on with somebody that’s into- I’d put him in the training area, but he’s come out with this really cool new product that I’ve seen a lot of people using. It’s the SuperDeker.

                        But anyway, we have the- and I always try to get the title out beforehand, but we have tonight Andy Healey. Andy, what is your title with the SuperDeker? Are you the creator? What is your title with the group? And also, thank you for coming on.

 

Andy

               Thanks for having me. My title is Commercial Officer. So, I do a lot of marketing and sales. Unfortunately, I was not the founder and creator. We have some guys, Mark and Mark, who developed a product over a bunch of years, and got a great product that we ended up acquiring a couple of years ago.

 

Adam

              So, here’s the funny part. I talked to a couple of people from SuperDeker, both very nice, but the first thing that they said is: “You need to talk to Andy.” They pushed you hard. I don’t even think they talk to you. I think they were just like: “Well, we’ve got this guy, you need to talk to him.” Because the interesting part was that, if I can be honest, this came from a post that was put on our Dallas Fort Worth hockey community page. Essentially, the post was: “Hey, we’re trying to make this marketing video here, and we need to find out who has some of the best hands in the Dallas Fort Worth area.” So, everybody gave their opinions, but I happened to show up on that list a couple of times. You guys didn’t end up with me, but that’s totally okay.

But anyway, that’s how I got into it, because I just said: “Hey, if you need to reach out to me-“ like, I obviously like to market myself and my podcast as much as possible, I feel like I do have good hands, and I was happy to see that a few people on that post elected me, but that’s originally how I got in contact with you guys. So, it was actually a lot of friendly back and forth, and we were just talking hockey, to be honest with you. I didn’t end up getting selected, but at the end of the day it was really cool to be like- because I already knew that they existed, the SuperDeker, because I’ve seen them around quite a bit, but it was one of those situations where even though I didn’t get the call-up, it was just that initial: “Hey, if you guys wanted to talk on the podcast”, and I actually reached out to you guys like: “Hey, if you guys wanna come on about this…” Because it’s one of those things, where you can finally meet the people behind some of the training aides that people make.

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 Simons – 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 Simons 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. I’s like: “Oh, he thinks that tastes good?” And it’s the same thing we talked about. SuperDeker gets 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, they’ve 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 betted. 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

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 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 [inaudible] 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 25 years ago trying to play pick-up with friends, where you’d break an ankle if you tried to stop. It is cool that there’s all this technology 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’s 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 her 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 [inaudible]. We had a 10:30 came, 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. And the funny Dallas connection on that is, my buddy’s dad coached Mike [inaudible] when he was Mini-Mike, Pee-Wee and stuff.

 

Adam

Oh yeah. He’s a Michigan boy, isn’t he?

 

Andy

He’s a Michigan Boy.

 

Adam

We don’t like to talk about it down here. I don’t think we like to talk about it.

 

Andy

We like it enough. You guys took half of the [inaudible] organization down there to start your Dallas Stars Club, so you have to like this a little.

 

Adam

My dad’s side of the family is from Minnesota, so there was a lot of people, once I got the job at the Stars, they were like: “Yeah, that’s [inaudible].” They held on to that for a really long time. But, I feel like the Stars are well-established now. I think we’ve got some things working for us, and hopefully we can all move on. Minnesota has their team, and we’re just trying to move forward.

 

Andy

You guys have a good program down there.

 

Adam

One of the good things about our program is that it’s accessible to so many people in the Dallas Fort Worth area. And I try to explain this to people sometimes, because I’ve worked at other rinks, this is not the first rink I’ve worked at - but rinks are expensive. And if you look at Mansfield on a map, it’s not the largest area in the world, but there’s a reason why this rink was able to get built in the first place, and to have a management group like the Stars, that isn’t as accessible elsewhere in the country.

And the amount of people that play down here is insane. And it’s part of the reason why I started this podcast, because there’s no other hockey community like the Dallas Fort Worth community, because it’s so large, and… Everybody that listens is gonna be like: “You talk about this all the time”, but it’s like a spider web. So, if you think about it - Mansfield, if we’re talking about Stars centers for the south, but then we might drive an hour north to Frisco. But then, you have probably six rinks in between, and you have people playing in between all of those rinks. So, if you think about it, even if you only play at one rink, you know somebody that plays at two rinks, and those people- everybody knows everybody, but we’re all spread out through possibly hundreds of miles.

 

Andy

What’s very cool is- some of it is born out necessity, but some of it ends up working to your advantage. When Stars came into Dallas 25-30 years ago, there wasn’t a hockey network. So, if you want to build a fanbase, you also wanna build a community of hockey players, same way that soccer has taken a long time to develop, and now they have their model for small arenas, stadiums that are hockey-centric. What Dallas has done is completely different than what we have in Detroit. And some of it I’m a little bit envious of, because in Dallas, when you see- and I’m sure the other [inaudible] Nashville, Vegas, and I’m sure it’s the same in Carolina – you get to create your own youth network, and you get to tie it in and connect it to the pro team in a much more uniform way. And Detroit, for better or worse, we’re an original, we’ve had hockey forever - all of the house high school leagues are so independent. When I was coaching my kid, you end up working your way up and keep getting asked to do more and more jobs…

 

Adam

That’s how it works. You know it.

 

Andy

You get double the pay, and you get zero for doing [inaudible]. One of the things that the board did in our community is trying to make sure that the youth hockey program, the travel program and the high school program were all connected, because we’re all skating out of the same rink. The high school program was completely independent. A lot of times, [inaudible] was sitting here staying: “We’re gonna fund the figure skaters. We don’t have time for you.” It took probably 8 or 10 years of talking with the community, the Youth Hockey Association, the travel directors, the dads and coaches that are running travel teams that have their own agenda, and the high schools.

So, once you get that all in sync, not that it’s a feeder program, but it is connected. [inaudible] an intermission to a JV high school hockey game, skate around the ice. And there’s a lot of great stuff. But, I see things in Dallas where there is a connection. You own the rinks, you guys are running the youth programs, you guys get to do trainings and camps, and it can tie directly into the Stars. It’s awesome.

 

Adam

Yeah. And the other thing is, I think a lot of people don’t see this, but the amount of communication that it takes between all the rinks to make sure that things are going according to plan... When there’s a plan, it’s one of those things that everybody then has to go and make sure that that plan is being initiated or being done the right way. It’s easy to do that if you’ve got one rink, and that mission statement is coming from the top at that rink. But, when you’re trying to make sure that there’s- and like I said, there’s nothing like it, but when you’re looking at 8 different rinks, and making sure everybody is sticking to the plan, it’s… I’ve never seen anything like this, but it’s gonna be one of those things that I’ve learned so much about, just how to make sure that people are being communicated with. Commutation is key down here, as I’m sure it is up there. It’s an interesting thing. And when you do come down here – because we always like to have these secondary episodes – if you ever come down, I think it would be fun to just chat. And we can also maybe grad a skate or something, Andy.

 

Andy

That’ll be great. I’d bring my gear. I’ll bring golf clubs and the hockey club.

 

Adam

No, bring it all. We’ll treat you down here.

 

Andy

I definitely have reasons to go down there. On the product side, with the SuperDeker, clearly we don’t go ahead and buy that from the original owners if we’re just gonna sell more of them. We talked to coaches and some of the guys that run the camps for the Stars, other people in the NHL, alumni for the NHL, and just local coaches and kids. And you get feedback on games and all the stuff has developed. So, we’re in the process of doing things, we’re gonna bring some new products to market, we’ve got some accessories that go with it. So, I have reasons to get down there. So, I’ll make sure that I let you know.  

 

Adam

As long as The Face-Off Spot podcast is number one, I’m totally cool with all of that. But, as long as we’re your main priority when you come down here- No, but you’ll have to drop by…

 

Andy

As long as it’s at a golf course, you will be number one. There’s a lot of people [inaudible].

 

Adam

I hear Mansfield has a great golf course. Our hockey director Milt is a member. We’ll be able to get you hooked up there. He’s a good golfer as well. I’m a terrible golfer. I’ve been trying to get better. Hockey players are supposed to be good golfers, but I just can’t seem to… it’s all in-between my ears, Andy,           

 

Andy

The other thing is, on hockey, we missed a lot of it. Last year with COVID, all of the shut-downs. Out kid got his high school season in on a shot season, but just playing [inaudible] and pick-up. It was so hard. I’m dying to go back out on the ice.

 

Adam

For sure. But, I do have to ask you real quick, because one of the things that we have at the Stars center - specifically in Mansfield - we’ve had a bunch of triple-A, tier-one hockey, but there’s been a lot of- I don’t wanna get this wrong. It’s Meyer, right? Meyer teams?

 

Andy

Yeah, Meyer.

 

Adam

So, they have some good- they usually have some of the better teams down here. And I know that the Stars elite might be after me after this, but they have some really good teams. Their girls’ team was one of the best. But, anyway, they have some really good hockey.

 

Andy

Yeah, Michigan- I mean, it’s been great. Pete Karmanos, who owns Carolina, [inaudible] was a huge supporter of youth hockey in Detroit, and Little Caesar’s… So, there’s friendly rivalry with all the Detroit entrepreneurs with the [inaudible] organization.

 

Adam

Hey, that’s a good rivalry.

 

Andy

Yeah, it’s between Little Caesar’s, [inaudible], Meyer’s – the programs that they put out, it’s pretty crazy. My kid’s an [inaudible], and I think the travel teams and the high level, I think they had 5 of the top 16 ranked in the country. And [inaudible] the top year to be in the metro Detroit area and get out and travel.

 

Adam

It was just kind of amazing to me, because a lot of the other teams, they’re like, the city they’re from, or the town they’re from. But, Meyer, with is it? And they’re like: “Oh, that’s like a huge…” Oh, that’s how that goes? It’s just sponsored by this… But, they’re good, and they show up. The coaches have been very pleasant. They definitely have that northern attitude. My dad’s side of the family is from Minnesota, so we’re okay with you Michigan… What are you?

 

Andy

Michiganders.

 

Adam

There we go.

 

Andy

Minnesotans, Michiganders…

 

Adam

But anyway, Andy, you’re not gonna be able to escape the normal questions that get asked during the podcast. You have to talk about what got you into the sport of hockey. Not necessarily the first time you stepped out onto the ice, but what happened maybe before you go that desire to step out on the ice.

 

Andy

So, the way it worked for me, it was kinda funny. My dad grew up on a lake, summered on a lake which is actually where I am at this moment. But, he always wanted to be on a lake. And so, in Michigan, he ended up convincing my mom, bought a place on the lake, and the people that sold the house to them left, among other things, a box full of skates. And I was probably six years old. My first thing was: “Oh, they got some skates from this”, and going on the ice. And one of the first winters, we happened to get one of those crazy – you get a lot of snow, but it wasn’t cold enough to freeze the lake. And then, the ice froze, but no snow. So, we had a mile-sized skating rink. So, we just went out and skated. And when you’re a little kid, you grab a stick so you can stand up. So, I started as a pond hockey player, went through all this stuff as kids where we were too dumb to buy some shin guards or something, so I learned how to skate forward and shoot low. That’s all we did, so we wouldn’t hurt each other.

So, I was a pond hockey player mostly through growing up. I played basketball, I played on the ice with my buddy [inaudible] and his dad, and he’d always torment us by doing dangles. You see it all the time with [inaudible] and those guys. He’s just hang the puck about 4-5 feet away, let someone thing they have it, and then rip it away.

 

Adam

They’re literally teasing you. That’s the whole thing.

 

Andy

As a dad, he’s sitting there and having a ball with a couple of 7-8-year-olds just making us skate around in circles. But that’s how I started. And I didn’t really play hockey organized until I was in college. I played pond hockey and pick-up. Never knew what a red line or a blue line was other than watching it on TV. I ended up at a game at [inaudible] Ice Arena. Have you ever been there?

 

Adam

No.

 

Andy

Oh, God. It was one of the great places to ever watch a hockey game. If you ever get up here and can plan it, make sure you get to go.

 

Adam

Well, here’s the cool thing about doing podcasts. I have a whole bunch of open invitations to travel throughout the country at some point or another, but then I get to go there and meet people I’ve already met, if that makes any sense. It’s one of those things where, if I ever really got some free time, I could probably go and take the pod on the road, which would be fun.

 

Andy

Almost like Cameron [inaudible] basketball, is the best description of [inaudible]. When I was in school, there were some pretty raw, as they say, chants at the goalie and at the other team. And I think, in the last 10-15 years, has made the fans change some of their lyrics.

 

Adam

Yeah, that’s happening more and more, which, part of me is okay with it, as long as it’s not- if it’s based in tradition, and not totally offensive, I think it should stay. But, whoever has to decide that stuff, I feel bad for them, because you know how that goes these days. But, as far as where you’re at right now with the SuperDeker company, what’s your next step? What are you guys trying to do? Is there anything new coming up in the pipeline of ideas? I feel like you have something that’s awesome, but I also feel like you probably get emails that are like: “Hey, have you thought about doing this or that?” if you give hockey players – which most of the time, we don’t overthink things a whole lot – but every once in a while, I feel like there’s maybe some neat little ideas, maybe just somebody that’s had one for a while is like: “Hey, it would be cool of you did this or that.” Is there anything coming up the pipeline?

 

Andy

So, I would say this: we have stuff that we’ve already brought to the market that Mark and Mark hadn’t gotten around to. They had big thoughts, plans and all that. But, we brought a weighted puck to market. You get a weighted puck, work on your strength, and improve the stick handling. We got a carry case. We’re bringing some other stuff to the market, hopefully in the next couple of months, for this holiday season. I’m not quite at liberty to talk about it.

 

Adam

I was trying to get the info.

 

Andy

All I can say is, there is stuff that will go with the SuperDeker that can add to the training and change things up for people.

 

Adam

Well, Andy, the fans would be upset with me if I wasn’t trying to do my best. I’m like Barbara Walters to these people.

 

Andy

Much better-looking than Barbara Walters.

 

Adam

I appreciate that.

 

Andy

Like I said, clearly, with any product that’s out there, you have to make iterations, you have to do stuff to it. The wonderful things is talking to people. We have our own ideas, but hearing them come from other people is the best. So, talking to guys from the Stars camp, talking to [inaudible] Gretzky, and some things like that. Talking to a group up here called Puck Masters, who’ve done a whole bunch of training. They work with some of the [inaudible] guys in the off-season. They do a lot of focused one-on-one training. They have a lot of coaches that have had high-level college careers and are good coaches. And the feedback that they give you, or when you put something forward about: “Hey, we’re thinking about doing this or adding something.” Seeing their eyes light up is pretty awesome to see.

And the other thing that’s great is, we’ll say one thing, and they’ll say: “Have you thought about doing it this way?” So, it’s great to have this community. A specific example is, we’d always thought- okay, it’s stick handling. The board is a stick handling training device. The only time it’s not a stick handling training device is when you have a 5-year-old who wants to beat his brother, so he gets on his hands and knees, moves the puck around to hit the light as fast as he can. But, what’s funny about that is, some people have seen that, and thought about it from a physical therapy perspective, that it could be light training for reaction times, for concussion awareness, or even for just other physical therapy that has nothing to do with hockey. Put the board on a table, put two pucks in peoples’ hands, and have them react to the light. So, it develops another sort of training.

And so, we did have some kids ha tactually mounted it on some chairs, put it up against the wall, they’re on their knees, and they’re using it as a peripheral vision, reaction kind of training. And it’s- we didn’t design it that way, but having people that are creative, that are thinking about how they can get better and what they can do with it is pretty cool. So, we are taking input, we are gonna make better things, we are gonna bring more stuff to market in both hockey, and the patents that we have in other sports as well.

 

Adam

I didn’t say I had any good ideas. I was just trying to be Barbara Walters. I was just trying to figure out what you’ve got. The cool part was- I’ve been in communication with you guys a little bit, and one of the cool things was that we’re kinda trying to do a community event, or an event where people who listen to the podcast maybe get together and meet somewhere. But it was cool, because I was talking to Robert- I think it was Robert. He was like: “Yeah, we have a whole bunch of them that we take to events.” And I’m like: “That’d be cool.” So, now, in my brain, I’m like: “Well, we can have these events, and they can bring these things out there.”

Because, like I said, all it takes is a hockey player that’s competitive to just see something going on, and I guarantee you there will be grown men probably trying to beat little kids at their scores. It takes just walking past something that has a hockey stick, a puck and score counter for us to get involved.

 

Andy

And isn’t it funny how that score is…

 

Adam

It’s everything.

 

Andy

 It’s so important. It’s also- I’ve been at some events, and it kinds starts slow, people kinda walk by and see it, and you can tell that they’re curious. It’s not normal. They’ll look at it, but they’ll stay there. And all of a sudden, some little kid will come over, who has no sense of right or wrong, people staring or whatever, picks it up and starts playing. He gets the score, and somebody else wants to get it. Then, all of a sudden, there are 20 people there that are trying to- “Can I try? Let me see what kind of score I can get.” It’s funny, the human condition. I don’t wanna be first, but I do wanna participate, and I do wanna win.

 

Adam

But also, if you have an event- it’s not only competitive. It’s one of those things where, if it’s a social event, it’s something that you can have- like a get-together, a hockey get-together. My men’s league teams, we have hockey get-togethers, and sometimes we like to get together and we like to play games, and we like to compete. It’s just another way for us to show our dominance over our men’s league friends. Especially if ones start talking too much. You just really wanna shut them off. It’s like, who has the best hands?

 

Andy

We all know who that guy is.

 

Adam

And he’s usually not the one with the best hands. So, if I hear that, I just say: “Hey, let’s go right now.” But the cool part is, it does put in a motion where you have to go in diagonally, if that makes sense. So, it’s not side to side the whole time. A lot of kids can stick handle side to side, which is good, it’s fine. But, if you wanna think about going from 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock, that gets easy, but to go from 3 to… yeah. 7, if you will. If you’re trying to do it diagonally, it creates a lot more wrist motion where you’re having to move things around. So, what we’re talking about, it’s not side to side necessarily. It might be on the right, and it might be diagonally in the middle. You might have to go from right top corner to left bottom corner. There are many motions that are all replicated…

 

Andy

Some of that stuff- and that’s what we’re thinking about, some of the stuff that I was talking about that we wanna bring to market is… I had some coaches at Puck Maters, one of them said something that was brilliant to me. You’re trying to create some things and drills, to force a kid to work on his weakness. Because a kid in a drill, whether it’s on ice or anything, they’re gonna go with what’s comfortable. I remember coaching my son and his friends and all that stuff, and it was always right at the [inaudible]. Gotta work on your back-hand, gotta work on your backwards skating. They’re reluctant to try the things that are hard. And there are some accessories that we’re putting together for the SuperDeker that will allow a coach or a player, if they’re self-motivated and not having their dad standing over their shoulder telling them what to do, some things that we can add to the board that forces them to toe-drag, that forces them to use the back of their stick to pull it towards them and not just move it side to side.

 

Adam

Sorry to interrupt. I’ve used a couple of the machines before. It really helps to be able to do a backhand toe-drag, which is not normally- it’s used more in the game today than before, but it’s one of those where, if you can do a backhand toe-drag on that machine, if you can do it well, you’ll get a good score. But, it’s one of those things where you should learn that to do real hockey anyway, because more people are learning how to do it. Because, if you can imagine, if it’s a figure 8, and it can go in any random sequence, the backhand toe-drag- because everybody knows the forehand, but if you can do the backhand, the sequence is a lot easier to hit. So, that’s just a little tip for everybody.

 

Andy

Backhand toe-drags… manipulating the puck- nobody was doing that. The puck wasn’t in your backhand. There wasn’t much people were doing with the puck over there, and now you’ve got defensemen- defensemen nowadays have a lot more to worry about than they ever did.

 

Adam

Yeah. When you open up your blade that way, nobody thinks you’re gonna go to the left. So, you’re going in backhand toe-drag to the left because you’re opening up, so you think it’s a chip to the right, but you’re backhand toe-drag to the left. It’s hard to do, but it really does make it better. Because, when I’ve used those, it was like: “Oh it’s the backhand toe-drag.” It’s a diagonal cross. But that’s something that kids should be learning anyway. I sometimes have a hard time in my lessons because I’m like: “Let’s wait on the backhand toe-drag, let’s get better at crossing over and using outside edges.” But, once you start getting really good, the backhand toe-drag – use it. I’ll get you the high score. I’m telling everybody to cheat, Andy. It’s not cheating…

 

Andy

No. all the kids that watch the videos on YouTube of the high scores and the kids making 99… That’s probably one of the regrets Mark and Mark have. When they were first doing it, 40, 50, 60 was high. So, 99. That’s fine. And the kids that get 99- one, I think being lower to the ground makes all the difference in the world. You see NHL players who can’t get 99, and they’re the best stick handlers on Earth. But, the kids do this kind of circular motion where they do a lot of whipping forehands off the bands and kind of cradling it. And a lot of the coaches that we talk to will kinda be like: “As soon as I get the SuperDeker and we’re doing off-ice, I rip the bands off, because I need the kids working on hockey moves, not trying to get a 99. But, I want them to practice.” Take them into practice, get them getting a high score, but take the bands off, and it forces them to use forehand and backhand toe-drag a lot more.

 

Adam

The bands make sense, but it’s almost like you shouldn’t use that as the- because if you think about it, the bands should almost simulate an out of bounds. Like, if you…

 

Andy

Yeah, chipping it off the wall.

 

Adam

Yeah. But, the wall- it’s either you’re chipping it off the left wall or the right wall, but you can’t- you have to stick to one. Whichever one it is, but you can’t pretend it’s both.

 

Andy

One of the guys in our company likes to say: “We never wanna encourage or set up anything in the SuperDeker that you don’t do in the game.” And I was like: “Yeah, kinda.” We have those bands, and those kids wanna get a 99. They’re not doing that on a hockey rink in a game. So, we have- we’re not gonna create anything- there’s not gonna be a loop-de-loop or some [inaudible] that we put on the thing. That’s just completely out of bounds for hockey. We wanna make sure that it’s fun. It’s still a game. Let’s be real, no matter what we do with this long-term, if it becomes something boring that a kid has to check a box, and it’s like going to a drill and being told to skate through cones… it’s still a game. We’re coming up with stuff that’s gonna make this thing fun, it’s gonna be engaging. We wanna fake them into sticking around.

 

Adam

The band is still the best option. At the end of the day, if it was just a hard structure that you couldn’t- you could almost act like you’re receiving a pass. There’s certain things you can do with that. So, it’s still the best option, but all these guys getting the high scores going side to side, I feel like they should have to just…

 

Andy

Hey, man, there’s a talent. Because I can’t get 99.

 

Adam

Those kids are still super-sick. I guarantee those kids are still super-good stick handlers, but they’re just learning how to do it.

 

Andy

There’s a bunch of them that are getting 99 with no bands. So there are still kids that are just rolling their hands, cradling the puck, and are in total control. It’s really fun to watch.

 

Adam

What’s funny, though, is that we kinda dove into this second layer, but you’re not gonna be any of these without being a very good stick handler. We’re getting into the nuances of the SuperDeker, if you will, but at the end of the day, you have to be a very good hockey player to get a 99. It’s not like anybody’s figured out how to cheat it. You still have to be able to maneuver the puck and any motion within 360 degrees.

 

Andy

I’ll tell you another funny story. When we got SuperDeker, Danny was like: “Andy’s the hockey guy, you gotta talk to him.” I come down to the office for the first time, and I had the SuperDeker, I’d been playing with it and all that. We get down there, and they’re like: “Dude, show us what you can do on this.” And the couple of people that were in the office in the beginning weren’t really hockey players. They went and they basically bought a kid’s stick that was just universal, with a flat blade. So, it had no curve to it, and it was for a kid that was about 8 years old. So, I’m like: “This isn’t a great stick, but let me try it.” I get 24 the first time, and they’re looking at me like: “Seriously? You’re the hockey guy?” We need to get a properly fitted stick. I can come out here and get 45 or 50, but we gotta do this stuff. There was some education for Robert and Danny on the hockey side.

 

Adam

I almost feel like if you’re able to up the time and up the score, and just make it to where people are competing internationally, I feel like that would be awesome. And then people could just send their stuff and be like: “I got 1000.” And it could be for however long. Just up those numbers a little bit, and be like: “The kid from Sweden got 12,000.” And then, you’ll have a kid working with the SuperDeker like: “I’ve gotta beat that.” I feel like that’s the way to go.

 

Andy

We’ll end up in the Guinness Book of World Records, some kid with a feeding tube and getting [inaudible], going on 17 hours.

 

Adam

Yeah, just still SuperDeking[sic]. Then he quits hockey. No, I’m just kidding. But, it is a great tool. Anyway, Andy, I did wanna get a little bit into you’re your transition into this role where you’re at. So, if you don’t mind talking about it. Maybe you can talk about how you got here.

 

Andy

So, the short-long story is, Rick, who is one of the operation partners – he and I go way back. We used to do sports marketing for Buick and General Motors, and did Olympics, and PGA Tour golf and all sorts of stuff. So, we have a history of sports marketing. I think, as you probably get from Stars and all the other stuff that you’ve been doing in hockey... you know, the sports world is great, because there are a lot of people that are involved in it. Yeah, some people are making a lot of money, but most people are doing it because we enjoy it. So, you’ve got a lot of really good souls in the business, a lot of fun, a lot of hard work.

So, Rick and I have known each other for a long time. And going through and coaching my kid for a bunch of years, and being on the board, and kinda going through those things, and having a hockey background and going through all the USA hockey coaching seminars, which are brilliant, and the ADM model that they’ve created, I had no stigma from growing up with coaches, and being a 4-year-old skating on a full sheet of ice. So, I really thought what USA hockey did with that was phenomenal. You don’t have just one kid who’s faster than everybody else just playing one on one with a goalie, and the ref’s calling off-sides every 30 seconds.

So, being involved in hockey, and doing that stuff - I’ve done sales in sports marketing, and medical sales for a number of years in between. And Rick and I have always been friends and kept in touch. And when the group decided to buy SuperDeker- Actually, even before that, Rick had called me and asked me what I thought of the product. We had a couple of good laughs. He said: “If we end up acquiring it, will you come work for us? I know you, I trust you, and we’ve got good history. Sales, marketing, we kinda need that stuff. We’re a small business, but we gotta grow. We need to get connected and do this stuff.” And so, it took a couple of months, and sometime around Christmas a couple of years ago he called me and said: “Hey, deal’s closed. We got the company. When are you gonna start?” So, that kicked things off on how I got here. And my joke, more than anything, like the joke that I’m the hockey guy. But really, it’s about sales, marketing, keeping our head around product development, talking to people in the community, the players and coaches that are using, networking and seeing. We have an interactive training thing, and we have patents around it. What can we do? What can we help with hockey training? What else can we do with sport training?

 

Adam

Andy, I would like to think that they just thought that we would get along. I’m getting along with you great. Even if we don’t record, we need to get record. But I think that’s what it was. “He’s a hockey guy, but he’s a nice guy.” So, hopefully, that’s where it came from.

 

Andy

I think all of that stuff. Like I said, around the sports stuff, I really do think- Rick and I have joked about it. I think hockey players and golfers, and professionals, are some of the most down-to-earth, normal people you’ll ever meet. There are prima donnas, sure, but if you look at them in bulk, those are two great sports, and Rick and I got to spend a lot of time with both of them and I’ll tell you, from talking to you, just having a conversation, having fun, talking about some things, it’s a good industry. And I would say nearly everybody I’ve been connected with, some of them that are well within their rights to just be high and mighty… it’s amazing. I’ve had some guys, hockey royalty they look at it and they apologize for being late or not doing something for you. And it’s really refreshing. It’s awesome to be in an environment like this. Sports is awesome to just talk about. So, I don’t think it’s great to be a part of this, and I’m so excited to see where this product takes us.

 

Adam

I’ve had a chance to talk to quite a few people that have either been professional athletes or very good at their sport, most of the time hockey. But, I think one of the good things that I can say about gold and hockey, even though I’m not a good golfer, is that both of those sports take so long and so much patience to get good at. And even just being decent at either one of the takes a lot of work. So, if you’re a professional, that takes a whole lot of work. But, if you see a guy that has either played competitive or can even just skate around and get on his own, know that that guy has probably put in so much work into his training, or just skating. Both of those sports I think link together, not just because of hand-eye coordination, but because it takes persistence. A lot of us started when we were really young. I started when I was 5 or 6. I can’t remember starting, but it would have been more frustrating for me at an older age. So, it’s one of those things where- if you’re playing golf or hockey, you push through some things, because they’re both kinda difficult, they both try to come back at you.

 

Andy

I love how people always talk about hockey, how difficult it is. Part of me things that basketball players are some of the best athletes on the planet. I think hockey rivals that, because first you have to learn how to skate. With every other sport, you’re running. We all know how to run and we all know how to walk. Then you can try and do this, and you’re doing it at high speed. The speed that these players go at nowadays is insane, especially if you go back and watch video of the original in black and white. They’re going so slow. Goalies- [inaudible].

 

Adam

Stand up goalies. I always tell people that haven’t watched or aren’t aware of hockey that they should go to a game, because they don’t realize how fast everything is moving. I think that’s when people come to it, like: “This is a whole thing.” When you watch it on TV- you watch Connor McDavid on TV and you can tell he’s fast, but watch him in person… it’s a whole…

 

Andy

The first time it really hit me, I went down to a Red Wings game and saw Mario [inaudible] up close. How much bigger- he was like a linebacker, bigger than everybody else. It was so cool. Since then, we’ve been blessed in Detroit with [inaudible] and [inaudible]. [inaudible] fly around the ice pretty regularly, but [inaudible] was pretty different in the body size he had.

 

Adam

Andy, I hate- because we’re getting close to the end of this episode, so I’m really not trying to…

 

Andy

I was gonna bring this up if you didn’t, because I know where you’re going with this.

 

Adam

I’m a Colorado Avalanche fan.

 

Andy

I head that on one of your podcasts.

 

Adam

When they were- the funny part is, now, I think the cops would have been called. If it was today, if we’re looking back on the old series- there was blood on the ice, everybody was fighting, everybody was suspended, but it didn’t make it- I still left that whole thing with a great appreciation for the Detroit Red Wings, and I’ll probably delete this episode. We’re gonna have to delete the whole thing now. But, you know what I mean. It’s over now, but- that was the last, whatever you wanna call it, old cowboy, old-school hockey, being almost outside the law. Because what they we redoing to each other was not within the rules of US law.

 

Andy

It was so amazing when you go back through that story, and how that genesis- the Red Wings were the cause of the rise of the Avalanche by shelling Patrick [inaudible], his coach not pulling him, and him demanding a trade…

 

Adam

Right away, he said he’d never play another game.

 

Andy

So, it’s the Red Wings fault for building the dynasty in Colorado by shipping Patrick [inaudible]. Joe Sakic, Adam Foote… Guys we love to hate.

 

Adam

But the thing is, we’re more removed from it now. That was such a huge part of hockey lore. There’s nothing like that. To be honest with you, I’m split on this, but I almost feel like kids should understand what that series was, or even go and watch the series, and understand what the game used to be.

 

Andy

It was 3-4 years.

 

Adam

Multiple years. But, if you wanna gain the attention of a young child, and be like: “Watch this series right here.”

 

Andy

So, a question for you. Where were you the night the goalies fought?

 

Adam

I was at my dad’s house. I remember it vividly, because he had his buddies over, and everybody was super excited. Patrick was my favorite player at the time. I grew up playing goalie, I wore 33 for him. I was his fan in Montreal before he came down to play in Colorado. But yes, I can remember being around my dad and all my dad’s buddies. I was young. It was like a rush of emotion because I had never seen anything like that, but I also felt like: “Are my guys gonna get hurt?” Because I’d never seen anything like that. There were people just getting tossed around, bloody… I had not seen anything like that.

 

Andy

It was so crazy. The problem for me was, I didn’t see that for months. We didn’t have DVRs and that stuff. I was on a ski trip with buddies in Colorado. They were all from Chicago, all Black Hawks fans. We get off the ski hill, turn on the TV- you’ve got 12 guys sleeping in a small cabin. We turn on the TV and Colorado is blowing us out, the first period and a half. And everybody’s like: “We gotta take a nap, turn off the TV.” So, we turn off the TV. There’s no internet, I have no idea, nobody’s texting me telling me what the score is. I have to make a conference call the next day. So, I drive to the payphone at the bottom of [inaudible]. I’m listening to the Colorado Avalanche morning show, talking about the game. And all I’m doing is sitting there getting all fired up that we won, which was awesome, but then so pissed off that my buddies made me turn it off and miss the whole game. And then, it took 2-3 months until they showed it again during the summer.           

 

Adam

But I think you can go back and watch it now. You’re right. A lot of time people don't understand that you had to watch things when they happened. I was there, my dad was there, his buddies were there. I was a huge Avalanche fan at the time that happened. And especially seeing Roy come out. Roy fought Vernon and Osgood at different times. So, I was like: “He’s gonna go. He’s gonna make that work there.”

 

Andy

I mean, those guys were like [inaudible] if they were on my team, I would’ve loved all of that. I like Joe Sakic, I respect- [inaudible] was a beast and fun to watch, but listening to Roy, some of his quotes, like: “I can’t hear you, I’ve got two rings [inaudible].”

 

Adam

 [inaudible] said something about his jock being in the stands. He was like… But, part of me, that’s part of why I liked Roy. At that time, he was the best. He had the stats to prove it.

 

Andy

[inaudible] might be the only one that… IF you were taking a draft right now- but both of them had a huge career.

 

Adam

But they’re like one and two. I wouldn’t argue that either one of them are not one or two. I couldn’t make that- especially in today’s game. You can go back and look at other goaltenders, Jacques Plante and all that, but it was just a different game, because they weren’t’ having to stop- when you had the flat blades, that wasn’t… As soon as you realize that they could put a top corner, the game kinda changed a little bit. But anyway, Andy, we’re coming up to the end here. There is a special- you said you listened to a couple of episodes.

 

Andy

I listened to the Al [inaudible] one, which I really enjoyed.

 

Adam

Al’s great. It might be one of my favorite ones. Al was a good guy. But, we have a thing towards the end, it’s called a shoutout. Do you need me to explain the rules to you?

 

Andy

I don’t know. I remember you telling me that there was a shout out, but I don’t know whether…

 

Adam

I usual explain. I usually just ask for- nobody’s ever said: “No, don’t explain the rules”, because I always explain the rules. But, anyway, the rules are that you have to put something out into the universe that is positive. It could either be a mantra, a thought, it could be people, it could be a sound, it could be anything that nobody would walk away from and say: “I’m negatively affected by that.” So, it has to be anything positive.

 

Andy

So, I’ll give you two things. One of them is one of my cousins. She passed away. She fought cancer of about 20 years. Her goal was to just make sure that she can raise her kids. She did that, and a little bit more. But, she basically instilled this in her kids, and her mantra was: “Attitude is everything.” I think that’s something that pushes people through so many things. Job, friendships, school, practicing hockey – attitude can really take you places. And it’s unbelievable what my cousin Maggie was able to do with that mindset. She was an incredibly accomplished woman in her own right, in business, as a mom, and all that, but how she tackled that was kind of beyond belief.

 

Adam

That’s ultimate strength.

 

Andy

Yeah. So, like you said, as far as putting something good out in the universe, I think my cousin Meg di a solid job and had a good reason. I think, as far as a shoutout on another thing, maybe thinking about hockey, and what I had done – the most enjoyment I’ve gotten out of hockey has probably been coaching. Seeing my kid. It’s good to be on the bench. You get to hang out with your kid, have that experience. Seeing him, but then also seeing- I use to pick our teams when we we’re going through [inaudible]. I’d pick the kids I like and the parents I like. So, the way you do it [inaudible], a core group of families that stuck together for about 8 years. And it was pretty amazing watching the kids as they developed from 5, 6, 7-year-olds to 13, 14, 15-year olds, and knowing they’re getting better. You see it on the ice.

But as a dad and a coach, you kinda stay there and they kinda skate around you. They’re pretty fast. I had the good fortune – a couple of times I played in a pickup league right after a practice sheet we had. And sometimes there’d be extra players. And so, my son and a couple of buddies would come out, and it was pretty eye-opening, at about age 14, when it was like: “Oh, you’re really fast. You’re a lot faster than- I’m smarter than you, I know where to go and I’m gonna score more goals, but you guys are way more talented.”

And to get into that position to kinda have that 8-10 years of experience, my wife is the one who pushed me into coaching. Like I told you, I grew up playing pond hockey. I didn’t know what an outside edge was, I couldn’t teach a kid anything. But you have the resources with USA hockey and all that other stuff, and my wife just said: “You’re gonna regret it if you’re not part of it.” She got into soccer coaching. She ran the world cup venue in Detroit. She knew nothing about soccer, and was kinda told the same thing by her mentor. “Coach your kids. You’ll never regret it. You’ll learn a lot about yourself, you’ll learn a lot about the sport. It’ll be great.” I gotta give my wife credit for a lot of things. But that was a very cool thing where she knew from coaching the older boys in soccer, and just said: “You gotta do this. Step up. You got the time, figure it out, and you’ll be rewarded down the path.”

 

Adam

That’s really good. Andy, as long as she just didn’t want you out of the house.

 

Andy

No, you can call her and ask her if that was…

 

Adam

Might have to have a second podcast.

 

Andy

I get three hours every morning on the weekends to myself.

 

Adam

I’m joking. I’m sure that all that was correct. It’s good. You’ve found success, and you’ve found a community within the sport of hockey. Am I wrong?

 

Andy

Absolutely. We all say it. I have golf buddies. I see them sometimes in other places in life. But I’ve got hockey buddies. I’ve got hockey buddies from my league, but I’ve got hockey families. What’s awesome is, my wife and I probably have three families that, once are kids are gone to college and all that, and we’ll still make a time to get together.

 

Adam

That’s awesome. If anybody doesn’t know, that’s the way it usually works. My mother, she lives up in Tulsa, but she’s in regular communication with a lot of our old hockey families. Kids that I grew up playing with – she’s still friends with their moms. We haven’t played hockey together in 15 years…

 

Andy

And I’m telling you about marriages and…         

 

Adam

Well, here’s the thing. We haven’t played hockey together in 15 years, but they’ve been going out to lunch every week for- they ended up being more family- not to say I don’t know those people, but we just don’t live around each other. But anyway, it’s a crazy community, and to be honest with you, Andy, that’s the reason that we have this show, because it’s just a good community podcast that is about the game, and the sport, and I really thank you for coming on. I think SuperDekers are awesome. I’ve used them, I think they’re great. You’re great, and I love all the people I’ve talked to so far from your company.

 

Andy

I appreciate that. It’s nice doing business with good people. We’ve got a a great group down in Dallas, and meeting you- Thanks for having me, letting us just shoot the breeze about hockey in general, and also talk about our product. It’ll be fun to meet you in person one of these days.

 

Adam

Well, next time you end up in the Dallas Fort Worth area, bring your gear. That’s all I’m gonna say, because we’re gonna be skating a little bit. Anyway, I guess it’s time for my shout out. I have to do the shoutouts too. I do one every week. My shoutout is actually gonna be for my father. My father just recently moved from Vermont where he was managing a rink to Colorado, where he is now managing another rink. That rink is in Grand Junction. I don’t know the name of the rink, but anyway, he has been living in the area for about a month or so now. But, the Grand Junction rink itself, if anybody wants to look, it has a cool backstory. They’ve been shut down, they’re not even operational now, but they had a bunch of supporters come in and decide that that rink was important, and they donated to that rink, and now that rink will be operational shortly, in the next 6 months or something like that. So, it just shows you that people that are serious about hockey always find a way. But anyway, that’s my shoutout. My shoutout is for my dad and for Grand Junction, Colorado, and the people who donated, for SuperDeker. SuperDeker’s been great. Andy, you’ve been great. This is actually- I don’t do a lot of ones over Skype, but this has been very pleasant. I almost feel like you’re right here in my apartment here. So, I appreciate it.

 

Andy

Isn’t it funny, with technology nowadays, you can even be in the same thing, but you’re recording in different room for sound quality.

 

Adam

Yeah. But, I’ve always felt like I’ve done this a couple of times before, but there’s always a disconnect. But, for some reason, I feel like you’re just right there. I feel like we’re friends now.

 

Andy

Good to hear. It’s been super-enjoyable. Unfortunately, we’re probably just getting all this because of Zoom and [inaudible] we’re just getting too good at it. We’ve gotta get back in person. We gotta get out on the rink.

 

Adam

We’re too good, we’re too good. Bring your stuff, and real quick, Andy, I just have one little list of shoutouts. It’s the Matt Taylor list. You can check us out on faceoffspotpodcast.com. I’ll say that one more time, faceoffspotpodcast.com. We are on Facebook, Instagram, iTunes, Spotify. We’re on all those good things. So, check us out there. Check out SuperDeker. Andy, can you hit us up with a website for SuperDeker, or an address?

 

Andy

Pretty straight-forward. It’s superdeker.com.

 

Adam

I didn’t wanna make an assumption.

 

Andy

D-E-K-E-R. So, superdeker.com.

 

Adam

You guys got there quick, superdeker.com. There you go. Alright. Andy, I appreciate you, as always. Everybody that’s listening, go check out superdeker.com.