If you’re taking the time to read a hockey blog, it’s safe to say you’re a pretty big hockey geek. Many of you probably play hockey in a rec league or used to play in some capacity. I myself just started playing hockey this year, and one of the things that I always enjoyed doing was trying to see who used what gear, perhaps in some sort of belief that I could improve if I just used the same stick as Henrik Zetterberg. What I found, though, was that it’s very difficult to figure out who uses what gear just by watching the TV, especially with each brand having so many options out there.
That’s why I was so excited when the people from GearGeek reached out to me about their site.
GearGeek is the world’s first online NHL equipment database. You can see what every active NHL player is using on the ice right now – sticks, gloves, pants, skates and helmets. You can sort by brands, teams, positions, stat leaders and more. It’s a completely free database with no registration required, and I had a blast looking up what some of the teams are using (I’m one of those aforementioned big hockey geeks). The site is very well done — it has easy to understand graphs and tables and sleek layout that I love.
I was intrigued in how this site came to be, so I took the opportunity to sit down with AJ Lee, the Marketing Coordinator for GearGeek to talk to him about the site in a little more depth.
Christian: This is a really cool idea for a site. What was your inspiration in putting it together? It looks to be the first of it’s kind in keeping track of this sort of information.
AJ: The idea for GearGeek.com was originally conceived by long time hockey player, fan and gear fanatic, David Duerr. He noticed that there wasn’t an easy way to find out what gear NHL players were using – before you had to watch the game and just hope for a close up.
Christian: Some purists out there are going to want to know, is this list built from an eagle eyed fan watching footage, or are you in touch with the teams themselves to get information?
AJ: It’s a combination of both. Through our sponsorship with Pro Stock Hockey, we’ve been able to utilize their network of equipment managers to get the most accurate information available. There’s also a fair share of just watching games and taking note of what players are using. It’s relatively common for players to change equipment throughout the year and team equipment managers are extremely busy during the season – updating us on equipment changes really isn’t on top of their to-do list. (and we don’t blame ‘em!)
Christian: I see that you have all 31 teams, including the new Vegas Golden Knights. Are there any plans moving forward to expand the site to places like AHL and the CHL leagues? I’d love to know what my favorite prospects use as well.
AJ: For now we’re just focused on hockey equipment used in the NHL by the best players in the world. Also, some of these leagues have equipment contracts that will skew the percentages. While there are individual players in the NHL that have contracts with certain brands, the vast majority are using gear because they WANT to use it – not because it’s team issued.
Christian: As a beer leaguer, I was excited to see some of my very own Red Wings like Luke Glendening and Trevor Daley using the CCM Super Tacks which I also use. What about you? Is there some gear your have and share with a favorite NHL player?
AJ: I’ve actually been an Easton guy the majority of my career – the Easton Stealth CNT (red grip!) was the favorite stick I’ve ever had. As you may know, Mike Green had a similar obsession with this stick. With Bauer purchasing Easton, it’s been interesting to see what brands some of the Easton players have switched to and which ones are holding out.
I’m a defenseman that loves to join the rush, so I’ve grown to really appreciate Erik Karlsson’s game. He’s recently switched to the Warrior Alpha QX (along with a ton of other players), so I’m thinking that might be the route I take when it’s time to get a new stick!
Christian: We’re a Red Wings blog, so I gotta ask: What’s your favorite NHL team and all time player?
AJ: I was born and raised in the suburbs near Chicago, so I’ve been a Blackhawks fan my entire life. Growing up in the 90’s there wasn’t a lot to cheer about, but being able to witness the Blackhawks transition into the organization it is today has made those dark days completely worth it.
Growing up, Chris Chelios was my favorite player. He played defense, I played defense – it just seemed right. Our relationship got a little complicated once he was traded to the Red Wings though…
Currently, my favorite player is probably Erik Karlsson. He’s not the biggest guy, but his skating, passing and hockey sense are off the charts. I’m also a big fan of Brent Burns – the guy is just a monster on the ice and he always seems to be having a good time.
If this sounds interesting to you, please take a moment to head on over to GearGeek.com and check it out. You can click the image in this post or go to http://www.geargeek.com. They’re doing really great work over there. I’d also like to thank AJ for taking the time to sit down and chat with me, when I know he’s swamped trying to keep all the players up to date with the new season.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to go try out a Warrior Alpha QX and see if it’ll make me play like Erik Karlsson.
Author Bio: AJ Lee is Marketing Coordinator for GearGeek, the first and only online destination for all NHL player equipment information. AJ picked up his first hockey stick at age 3 and hasn’t put it down yet.