World U18 Hockey
As we sit on the cusp of the NHL playoffs, focus is cresting on any and all forms of hockey being played. We have recently seen the cancellation of the Women’s world Championship that was to be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia plus the prior cancellation of several other international tournaments. But with the World U18 Men’s Championship being held in Texas, questions abound as to the validity and doubts raised about why this tournament did not fall into the realm of terminated hockey tournaments.
Speculation has been rampant as to why this tournament was being held in, quite arguably, one of the hottest spots for the current global pandemic due to Covid-19. Although strict measures have been taken and all precautions covered, one has to only look at the upcoming Men’s international tournament in late May of this year in Latvia as this, too, has not fallen into the cancelled category.
A quick search of the internet will find any information and opinions on this topic. There are mixed reviews as to why some tournaments have been cancelled while it seems as though the preeminent men’s tournaments have been allowed to take place. People have commented that there is a double standard taking place while others have opined that with several extra precautions in effect, it has limited the chance for any issue to occur. Countless others have pointed out that you simply have to look at the NHL and the amount of players and teams affected by Covid-19. Professional athletes across many mainstream sports have been participating in games and practices for the last several months with in-house precautions taking place. But when these athletes leave the rink, court, field, are there certain extra safeguards ready and placed into practice by EVERY athlete? And with all of these extra safeguards being implemented, there are still athletes contracting the virus and/or coming into close contact with someone who has.
When we look at the world hockey championships taking place now, it does seem as though all athletes and team staff plus tournament officials are within a type of “bubble” that may negate the exposure of all involved to outside contact. One can only assume that the people that are involved in this tournament and any such subsequent tournaments will be isolated to the extent that they are only allowed to communicate and interact with people affiliated with the program that they belong to and that have passed proper screening.
As we continue to travel through this difficult time, we, as hockey fans, find solace in watching a sport that we love being played at the highest level. It is cathartic inasmuch that after over one year of questioning, concerns and isolation, we find a type of peace in seeing our favorite sport being played in any form.
So as this hockey season continues and the players that have the opportunity to play this great game endure the trials and tribulations of competitive hockey, let’s keep our focus on staying safe and getting rid of this global scourge once and for all and hope that all hockey payers can get back on the ice soon.
Stay safe everyone.
The Majer Hockey Team
It has been almost one full year of struggles for us at Majer Hockey. The word "pivot" has been mentioned several times when the conversation turns to how small businesses will survive this pandemic. We foresee another 6 months of continuous struggles and the constant question mark of how this worldwide situation will all pan out. So the word "pivot" can be taken into several contexts based off of the individual business being affected by this crisis. And when I say crisis, we are not just talking about the health crisis that has affected millions of people worldwide. I am speaking of the emotional and psychological damage this has caused and the constant wondering if we will see the light at the end of the runnel any time soon. Add to the thousands of small to medium sized businesses that may not come out of this in tact and the thousands upon thousands of people out of work or with drastically reduced hours and pay.
We will eventually see the other side of this, but when will that day come?
So going back to pivoting, Majer Hockey has tried (at times in vain) to pivot our business to ready ourselves for the future of retail. And who knows how that will look. There have been recent studies indicating that about 80% of shoppers surveyed would still like to attend stores to purchase their items. People still want to see, touch, feel, try on and experience their purchases in person, we are guessing for several reasons including but not limited to:
1) self appeasing. People want to have visual confidence in what they are purchasing;
2) proper fit. For us, hockey skates are the key as, at times, people tend not to know what skates they should purchase, what size they are and the overall comfort factor;
3) professional advice and service. At Majer Hockey, our staff are trained and have decades of experience with hockey equipment. We do not sell you any gear that we want. It is left up to you and, with our advice, we will provide you with the right product at the right price.
4) the experience of shopping. Although some do not like to shop, the experience that one gets from attending a store like Majer Hockey is the camaraderie, friendly people, the chance you will see someone that you know, the selection, the aura of being in a hockey shop, the ability to walk around and browse instead of trying to make your selection online. All factor in to the overall shopping experience at a physical location.
But what about that other 20% that may not attend physical stores in the future and wish to conduct all of their shopping online? You see, we are a unique store as we are considered a specialty retailer. There was an article published by the Retail Council of Canada a while back indicating the demise of the "mushy middle" stores. Those are the stores that are not a big box retailer nor are they specializing in one specific area. They try and cater to too many things and their products get lost in the shuffle. They predicted that the mushy middle stores would be the first to close if such a crisis exists. And are we seeing that occur now?
So Majer Hockey has pivoted to a degree. Case in point is why you are now reading this blog post. We are online and are taking the future of online retail seriously. Hundreds and possibly thousands of hours have been and will be invested into this future of retail business in Canada. There are growing pains to contend with, huge amounts of competition to overcome and thousands of dollars to invest in making this a viable endeavor. And what would be the situation that we are in if we were not online as of this minute? Would our doors be open to curbside pickup or would we have to shut our doors, wait and hope that the end to this pandemic is near? Luckily those are questions that we do not have to ask ourselves just yet. But as this drags on, are we going to have to answer those questions? For the sake of the ownership and staff at Majer Hockey plus the millions of people and small businesses that this has affected, let's hope those questions never get asked.
A quote attributed to Winston Churchill (but not verified) states, "If you're going through hell, keep going."
In this case, we all have no choice, do we?
Stay safe everyone. Shop local. Shop family.
The Majer Hockey Team