If you mosey on down to the Sabres Store at any point during the regular season you’re bound to find a decent selection of game used sticks. Sometimes you can even find brand new sticks that haven’t been cut down, let alone taped up. The sticks cost about $100 the last time I checked, which happens to be a sweet price for a piece of pro stock equipment. Factor in that these sticks retail for over $250 in most cases and the deal really can’t be beat.
Unfortunately this is about as far as the Sabres are willing to go when it comes to selling their overstocked equipment. In the early weeks of the summer the selection is a bit deeper – with socks, gloves and pants available for purchase – but usually that stock runs dry quite quickly.
That brings me to my main point. Why is it that the Sabres don’t run an equipment sale each year?
A number of teams run large scale equipment sales to help liquidate older stock from their equipment stores from the previous seasons. Each team is a little different in how they orchestrate the sale, but they typically cover the entire assortment of hockey gear.
San Jose is largely accepted as the gold standard in equipment sales. Just take a look at the photo gallery attached to that blog post for an idea of how in-depth they get. The Blues also had a massive sale this season with an impressive array of gear available for purchase. There’s no reason the Sabres shouldn’t follow suit. And there’s no reason to think they wouldn’t blow through their stock in no time.
The beauty of these sales is that they appeal to a wide range of customers. Memorabilia nuts go crazy over game worn equipment like this while gear whores (like myself) are consistently searching for custom pro equipment at a low cost.
It’s a very easy concept to carry out, too. The gear can be sold at a fair price point that typically falls well below what you’d pay for the gear brand new from a store or custom order as a manner to entice any potential buyers. While I’m surprised to see the Sharks offering goalie helmets at their sale, nothing is really out of the question when it comes to what is for sale. Goal pads, blockers, catch gloves, player helmets, visors, gloves, sticks, protective equipment. The list could go on forever.
Setting up an annual sale shouldn’t be much of a challenge for the marketing and retail teams. It would take minimal input and execution for a very impressive return. This seems like such a missed opportunity for the Sabres, especially in an area where so many fans play the game at some level.
In such a hockey mad city where the team is so universally adored (even when they stink) you have to realize the opportunity that such a sale presents. While used equipment will never net the full retail cost back, this still represents a very easy way to rake in some extra dough, especially in the slower summer months.