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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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:
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.
Matt Keeler started Just Dishin Hockey in his dorm at St. John Fisher and has grown the company over the last few years into a full hockey lifestyle clothing brand. We talked about how Just Dishin came to be, the way Matt has grown the company and some plans he has for the future. While discussing some of the challenges he’s faced in finding new partnerships we hit on opportunities for growth within the game of hockey as new nations start to produce talent and the women’s game continues to explode. All of that and more in this edition of The Instigator Interview.
Despite a fairly short period of time with the Sabres organization, Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre was one of my absolute favorites growing up. Which made his guest spot on The Instigator Podcast a real treat for me. Jean-Luc joined the show to discuss what he’s been up to since his retirement from hockey, highlights from his time in Buffalo and offers insight on transitioning from an established NHL club to an expansion franchise. Jean-Luc also works with Belfry Hockey and he offered up some excellent feedback on trends in youth hockey today including key areas of focus for developing players.
One interesting tidbit we learned is that he has long had a deep love for goaltending and he has picked up the position since retiring from the pro game. He makes a very interesting comparison in his game with another former Sabre. Check it out:
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.
It’s been three games and there are plenty of questions about Buffalo’s goaltenders. So I reached out to Greg Balloch of In Goal Magazine to talk about Robin Lehner’s shootout struggles and more. Greg gives incredible insight to the strong and weak points of Lehner’s game, where he sees Lehner taking the Sabres and even offers up some thoughts on Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen. Greg also went deep into effective and ineffective goaltending statistics, providing a better way to look at goaltenders at the NHL level.
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.
This edition of The Instigator Interview features Mike Salerno of Topps NHL Skate. Mike oversees the free, digital NHL trading card app that is part of the Topps trading card family. He joins Chris to discuss the unique features of the app, the future of trading cards and what might be on the horizon for the Topps app. We thank Mike for taking the time to chat about such an enjoyable app.
We will be doing a new feature on The Instigator Podcast on a weekly (or semi-weekly) basis. The interview series will be one-on-one conversations covering a wide range of hockey topics. We’ll touch on Sabres topics and general NHL and hockey fandom as well.
The first Instigator Interview features the men behind the Seymour Knox’s Ghost Twitter account as he and Chris discuss his impressive memorabilia collection the covers one-of-a-kind items from The Aud and beyond. We also discuss whether or not the team has done enough to honor their rich history in recent years. You can catch the interviews in the same places you find our regular episodes.