The Instigator Interview – Featuring Joe Messina of Second String Leather Company

A brand new Instigator Interview comes your way, featuring Joe Messina of Second String Leather Company. Second String Leather is a new hockey lifestyle brand that crafts unique leather goods from old goalie equipment. I really enjoyed my discussion with him that hit on a wide range of topics including how social media helped expose his company to more hockey players, the process they use to pick out gear and manufacture their goods and we even touched on some of the other goalie products he’s created such as Masked Marvel masks and Edge Protech.

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The Instigator Podcast Interview Featuring Doug Todd of Warrior Hockey

I’ve been brand loyal to Warrior for quite some time now. Warrior and Vaughn are probably the two brands I’m most loyal to when it comes to both forward and goaltending equipment. Part of this stems from the way Warrior markets themselves compared to most other hockey equipment companies. Their unique approach to marketing is exactly why I wanted to have them join the podcast and I was lucky enough to speak with Doug Todd about a myriad of topics related to Warrior. We spoke about the hurdles they face when introducing new products into categories that have been dominated by traditional powers like CCM or Bauer, we spoke about Warrior’s approach to building a loyal customer base in goal and we also touched on the Warrior VIP program.

That last point, the VIP program, is something I’ve long been interested in as it’s a unique feature to the sport of hockey and I find it to be a clever and fun way to get the word out about new products in an influencer marketing setting. The VIP program was the primary reason I had reached out to Warrior in the past and I hope you find their strategy to be as interesting as I do.

You can listen to The Instigator Podcast on most podcast streaming services, including large providers such as iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio and TuneIn and most other third party podcast streaming apps. You can find links to subscribe and rate the show below:

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The Instigator Podcast Interview Featuring Rob LaLonde of Buttendz

As a Good Friend of the Pod™ Rob LaLonde basically has an open invite to come on the show and talk hockey and I was really excited to get him back on after he spent the winter traveling to the 2018 Winter Olympics and the Let’s Play Hockey Expo at the Minnesota State Tournament. 

Rob and I discuss a host of topics including the impressive growth of Buttendz around the NHL, how influencer marketing has been such an effective tool for hockey companies like Buttendz, Warrior and others. We also discuss how the sport is growing in new markets like Korea, Japan and China and the work Rob has done with youth teams in those countries.

The Instigator Podcast Interview – Featuring Goalie Gear Nerd

This is an interview I had been looking forward to for some time. I was joined by Goalie Gear Nerd, one of the most interesting and enjoyable follows on both Twitter and Instagram. Especially if you’re a goalie. We discussed the way he’s grown a massive social media following and what goes into handling that rapid growth. We also dive in on the evolution of goalie equipment in the modern game and just how detailed different goalies can be with their gear.

Minor Tweaks Equal a Major Win for Sabres Jerseys

The Sabres new uniforms aren’t royal blue and that’s okay. The slight tweaks the Sabres jerseys received in the Adidas changeover drastically improved the overall look of both the home and road jerseys.

In conjunction with Adidas and the NHL, the Sabres took a step away from the grey/silver accents that have graced the uniforms since featuring prominently during the red and black era and being utilized as an accent on the Slug jerseys. Gone are the wildly unpopular apron stripes and arm pit accents.

It’s unfortunate that there was so much hubbub regarding switching to royal blue from navy because it ultimately distracted from what was one of the better redesigns in the entire league. Prior to the rumors and guesswork – some of which I’m guilty of – I think the number one item on almost every fan’s hit list would have been the silver accents. With those two prominent and unpopular features in the trash, the Sabres uniforms are cleaner and simpler and look that much better as a result.   Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast Interview – Featuring NFL Cleat Customizer Polo Kerber

This week’s Instigator Interview features Buffalo’s own Polo Kerber of Sole High. Sole High’s popularity has skyrocketed as Polo and his team have become the go-to for custom cleats throughout the NFL. We chat about the customization process, some of Sole High’s more notable NFL clients and an upcoming project they’ve worked on with Alex Ovechkin.

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Goalie Gear Watch: New Masks and Gear Throughout the Sabres Organization

On the eve of the Buffalo Sabres season (and hours after the Eichel gut punch) we thought it would be cool to take a look at the new paintjobs and new gear Buffalo’s goaltenders will be wearing this season.

All four goaltenders who will be splitting time between Buffalo and Rochester will be using masks painted by Dave Gunnarsson (DaveArt) which probably should be of little surprise given his massive NHL portfolio and Swedish nationality. That the Sabres feature three Swedes certainly helps push business to the NHL’s preeminent mask artist.

As for gear, things are split down the middle between CCM and Vaughn. Robin Lehner and Jason Kasdorf are Vaughn disciples while Anders Nilsson and Linus Ullmark both sport CCM gear. Here’s the full rundown: Continue reading