How Tovi Hockey Stick’s Out Of The Box Design Attracted The NHL’s Attention

Bradley Rangel spent decades in the banking industry advising sports owners, brokering mergers and acquisitions and financing franchise sales. During that time at Lehman Brothers, Citibank and his own store, Iron Clad Sports, Rangel developed an enviable network of high-profile CEOs, so when he invested in Tovi Hockey, a small stick industry startup, he arranged a meeting with former NBA commissioner David Stern. .

It was late 2019 and the founding team at Tovi were giving an analyst presentation at the office of Micromanagement Ventures — the investment firm co-founded by Stern and John Kosner — when Stern himself walked past the large glass window of a conference room. Aaron Krause, the Tovi board member best known as the inventor of the Scrub Daddy sponge, waved one of Tovi’s all-carbon fiber sticks.

After a few minutes, Stern entered the room, kicked his feet on the table and said, “This, I have to see.”

Krause set out on his entire Shark Tank-style plan, only to be interrupted by Stern midway through the show.

That’s enough, I’ve heard enough, Stern said. “It’s the greatest stick in the world. Is it approved by the NHL?”

The Tovi Stick is designed to help players increase their swing speed with a perforated construction that allows air to flow freely through the blade.

has not been. Tovi hoped to get player or team support before getting approval, at which point Stern pledged himself to call an old friend, who also happened to be NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

Tragically, Stern suffered a brain aneurysm and died a few weeks later, but Bettman’s assistant followed up a month later, saying that Stern had called the league’s office several times and that Buttman still wanted to attend the meeting.

“David wasn’t necessarily interested in investing in sports equipment, but he loved the presentation and was a guy who liked to help others,” Kosner recalls. “He was rolling up his sleeves. I mean, he’d give some abuse for free as part of the thing, but he was engaged and volunteered to call my neighbor.”

That presentation went with Bettman positively, and after a delay caused by the pandemic, the NHL began its own testing process, culminating in the conditional clearance of Tovi Hockey sticks for use in league matches and practices starting in March 2021. He has received endorsements from several notable players Retired hockey players, including Mark Rickey, Frank Simonetti, Rick Middleton, Mike Erzioni, Craig Janney and Ken Linsman.

“We think it’s likely that NHL players will use our stick this season,” says Richard Fusilo, director of operations at Tovey.

Earlier this week, Tovi acquired Raven Hockey, which specializes in youth sticks designed more suited to younger players. The combination of technology and distribution channels will launch the youthful Tovi Raven Pro Series, just as Tovi is also announcing new pro-caliber sticks: Mirage and Sabotage Pro v3.

“In the 20 years since the carbon fiber wand came on the market, all of these manufacturers are making the same wand a little lighter every year, but they haven’t changed anything in it,” says Tovi Hockey, CEO of Tovi Hockey, Tovi Avnery, an engineer. Trade collaborated with materials scientist Scott Hetman on the design.

Tovi sticks are the only ones with 100% carbon fibre, and their DiamondAire blade has been created using a new pressure forming process. It also has a series of holes in it, which improves aerodynamics while not being able to weaken its power potential. “By scraping out the foam core, and making holes in it, this allows us to better flow the stick as we move it,” Avnery adds. Rangel adds that players generally see a 15% improvement at release time as a result.

“Yes, players shoot a bit faster as well, but this [release time] It is a very, very big development because you are able to change the orientation of the disk and get it to the network reasonably faster,” says Rangel.

The stick also includes micro-grip technology on the blade and the company manufactures what it calls “liquid tape” to be applied prior to use — these innovations replace the standard hockey practice of applying and waxing tape, enhancing feel and consistency when handling the stick. . “When you put tape on, every time you put it on, there’s no way you can put it on the same way,” Avnery says. “So every time you wear it, you’ll get a different performance.”

Headquartered in Boston and manufactured in New Hampshire, Tovi has only raised money from friends and family-owning investors so far, but Rangel says they will begin raising outside capital to help scale the company as it grows in retail. Partnership with a major distributor in the US is imminent.

The wand’s original conception came after Avnery sold his former company, Advanced Electron Beams. He was enjoying a cold beer in the kitchen of one of his AEB investors, Fucillo, sitting at the table where Fucillo’s son left his football helmet. Brainstorming for a later project, they first sought to build a more protective helmet, but the carbon fiber material that she and Heitman considered was too dense and would be too harmful. Their next idea, a baseball bat, was rejected because it would have generated such exit speeds to be dangerous to bowlers and players.

Tovi is the first hockey stick to be made from 100% solid carbon fibre.Tovi is the first hockey stick to be made from 100% solid carbon fibre.

After turning their attention to hockey sticks, the process took four years to settle on the appropriate materials and construction. When Tovi’s wand began to gain traction, a Krause executive introduced it. Krause is an avid hockey fan, certified Level 4 American hockey coach and father of a talented young player. He even built a full-size skating rink in the back of his house.

Krause had thrown the wand in the trunk of his car but did not plan to use it until his wand broke during his training. He took back Tovi’s wand and was surprised how much he enjoyed that feeling. Suddenly Krause’s strike became faster.

And I was like, ‘Wow, what is that thing?’ “I spent the rest of the training trying to break it, and I couldn’t even make an impact on it,” Krause says.

His son, Bryce, was a quick benefactor. Bryce Krause had the ability to score goals in and around the net but lacked a quick shot. In the first match in which Price tried the Tovi stick, he took a shot from inside the blue line that went past the goalkeeper’s shoulder.

When he returned to the stage, Aaron said, “Price, is that you?”

Bryce replied, “Yes.”

Aaron replied, “No, it wasn’t. It was the wand.”

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How did my hard shot start…
♬ woo xi has never been there – xxtristanxo

This spawned a running gag between the two – “it was the stick” – which continued as Price’s hockey career continued through the youth ranks. “It’s become something we say all the time now that he’s one of the top scorers in every team he plays for, and his quick shot is the fastest I’ve ever seen,” says Aaron Krause.

Price, who is also prolific at TikToker, says the Tovi stick was a “very big change” from the one he used to. “The stick has helped me a lot in increasing my power on shots, and the accuracy is good for me too,” he says.

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