Detroit company finds success with game-used stick phone cases

Original Stix

By Warren Frank

Detroit-based company Original Stix appears to have found an extremely interested market for its game-used composite sticks phone cases.

The idea to turn old sticks into hockey-themed phone cases came from CEO Terry Johnson. He’s always been inspired by creative repurposing, but it was an experience during his time at Michigan State that was particularly influential.

“One of my friends built a table out of old sticks,” Johnson said. “I always thought it was interesting to repurpose something designed for an entirely different reason, and it got me thinking about other products built with authentic materials.”

 

Original Stix case

After graduating, Johnson teamed up with two friends and fellow Michigan State alumni, Mario DiMercurio and Andrew Mestdagh, to found the company. The company’s first product, an iPhone 5 case, was launched in August, and its positive reception has led to the addition of Galaxy s5 cases, iPhone 6 cases and an apparel line. All Original Stix products are made in the U.S. – a point of pride for the business.

“The rubber cases are made using local injection molding facilities,” Johnson said. “The sticks are cut by hand, and then the inside is coated with a rubberized coating for added protection. When an order comes through, customers can request specific sticks so we match the sticks with the rubber frame and build to order.

“Everything is done right here in Detroit. The area has been going through some tough times in recent years, so creating jobs and bringing manufacturing back to the area is something that our fans have really gotten behind, regardless of what team they follow.”

And it’s not just fans interested in Original Stix products: the company recently completed a custom order for the New York Rangers, with cases featuring game-used sticks now sold at Madison Square Garden. Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser, who went to high school with Johnson and DiMercurio, has been to the Original Stix headquarters a number of times.

While Original Stix is looking to add additional teams, customers can currently choose stick pieces from more than 50 squads from the NHL, AHL, NCAA and OHL. The sticks can be swapped out without having to buy a new case.

“We’ve had a lot of customers who have sticks autographed by NHL players,” Johnson said. “We love seeing stuff like that. It’s like a portable piece of memorabilia as opposed to an autographed photo that just hangs on the wall.”

Original Stix display

Fan favorite Paul Bissonnette & the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs hope to leave on top in final season

Ryan Kennedy
Paul Bissonnette (Photo By Fred Kfoury)

The Manchester Monarchs were one of the top teams in the American League this season and witnessing their Game 1 dismantling of Portland in the playoffs, it’s not hard to see why. But if you want to see the Monarchs flying next year, you’ll have to switch coasts and head out to California, when they become the Ontario Reign.

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Goodbye Hamilton Bulldogs. Hello…Hamilton Bulldogs

The Hockey News
Hamilton Bulldogs (Brandon Taylor / Hamilton Bulldogs Hockey Club)

By DENIS GIBBONS

So, now they come?!

Hamilton Bulldogs owner Michael Andlauer was probably trying to figure that one out when more than 10,000 fans paid to see an AHL game in Hamilton, Ont., Saturday night.

The sad news is the Bulldogs’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Lake Erie Monsters was their farewell to the steel city. The franchise will relocate to St. John’s, Nfld., until a new arena is ready in Laval, a suburb of Montreal.

 

Hamilton Bulldogs say goodbye (Shea Berencsi/THN)

Hamilton Bulldogs say goodbye (Shea Berencsi/THN)

 

Mid-week games at Hamilton’s First Ontario Centre sometimes attracted fewer than 2,000 fans.

The Bulldogs name will live on, however, with the arrival of a new OHL franchise for the 2015-16 season. The Belleville Bulls sold their franchise to Andlauer after the City of Belleville refused to make improvements to the tiny arena there. Read more

Prospect Hot List: Vande Sompel charging from the back in Oshawa

Mitch Vande Sompel (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

The Frozen Four is in the books and it was a classic, with Providence College winning its first-ever hockey title over Boston University. But the season still might not be over for Terriers frosh Jack Eichel, as he and Nashville pick Jimmy Vesey of Harvard were expected to play for Team USA at the World Championship in Switzerland. Meanwhile, we’re getting very close to the world under-18s as well in the Czech Republic. With CHL playoffs still going strong, let’s cruise around the prospect world once again.

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New Leafs coach must be hired based on on-ice philosophy, not NHL resume or familiarity factor

Claude Julien (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

With interim coach Peter Horachek included in team president Brendan Shanahan’s housecleaning Sunday, the Maple Leafs are going to have their fourth bench boss in three years by the time the 2015-16 season begins. And although it’s tempting for Leafs fans to speculate on and salivate over some of the names expected to be available, Toronto’s next hire doesn’t have to have a familiarity factor with fans in order for it to be right. The next head coach of the Leafs just has to have the right on-ice philosophy – one based on teaching and patience – to put the franchise back on track.

It will be tempting for Shanahan and whomever he hires as GM (if he doesn’t take that role himself) to be dazzled by the slew of accomplished coaches who’ll apply for the position, but the problem with those types of coaches can be they’re far more interested in winning now than they are in developing the young talent Toronto will placing its organizational bets on in the years to come. Read more

AHL All-Rookie team shows players to watch for next season

Viktor Arvidsson (John Russell/Getty Images)

If you don’t think AHL All-Rookie team honors mean much, consider that New York Islanders rookie Ryan Strome, who has scored 17 goals and 50 points this season, was named to the team just last season.

Strome isn’t the only rookie from the 2014 squad who has shown his skill in the NHL, either. Teemu Pulkkinen, the Detroit Red Wings prospect with a cannon for a slapshot, was named to last year’s list and has 34 goals in 46 games in the AHL this season to go along with five in 29 big league contests.

Wednesday afternoon, the AHL announced this season’s team and the list is full of promising stars. Maybe one day they will add to the list of present day standouts that once appeared on the team, including Zdeno Chara, Jason Spezza, Thomas Vanek, Mike Green, John Carlson, P.K. Subban, Gustav Nyquist and Tyler Toffoli. Read more

Calling Colton Orr up to the Maple Leafs sends all the wrong messages

Ken Campbell
Colton Orr

Just so we all have this straight, Buffalo Sabres fans are chided for cheering for their team to lose games so it can guarantee itself a chance at drafting a generational talent who could alter the course of the franchise. Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs are being hailed as “classy” for calling up a player who can barely play at the American League level for the last game of the season?

All right, carry on then.

The Maple Leafs have called up Orr, a player to whom they’ve already paid almost $6 million in exchange for eight goals in 231 games and are paying $925,000 to play for their AHL team this season, as some kind of thank you for everything he has done for them. We can only imagine what the send-off would be if Orr had actually done anything to help the Leafs win a game over the years. Read more