One thing that has yet to be talked about is how the hockey equipment industry will be impacted by the Coronavirus and the manufacturing shutdown.
Before the hockey seasons were cancelled, there were already delays and back orders for equipment. Many equipment manufacturers being located in China having completely shut down operations in January.
While most in Junior Hockey didn’t notice the shutdown because final season orders had already been filled, those in Pro hockey around the world felt an immediate impact.
Those hockey equipment retailers around the world also began feeling an impact in January.
Remember, this has been going on since December in China. More than three months of slowdown or shutdown.
Now that Coronavirus is starting to hit Mexico, which is the second largest manufacturer of equipment, more delays and shortages are expected.
Beyond the manufacturing delays though are the delays that will face manufacturers from resource providers. Carbon fiber plants, rubber plants, and other critical resource providers will all have to ramp up production again before manufacturers will see supplies to begin making equipment again.
Speaking with friends in the Czech republic who manufacture hockey pucks, they have been shut down for almost two weeks. They were experiencing shortages of materials for a month leading up to the shut down.
They say it will take at least six to eight weeks before pucks will start moving out of their plant once the crisis allows reopening.
Stick manufacturers in China, are also saying it will be six to eight weeks before they will begin shipping any products. The problem there is capacity. If they can reopen in May, sticks will ship in July. Making it to USA in traditional time of August if by sea.
But those would just be the first orders. Sticks take more time to manufacture than pucks. So it likely puts a twelve to sixteen week delay on non priority orders.
This of course will drive prices up in the retail market, and make product scarce. Further complicating everything here.
Let’s not forget about skates and other equipment. All will be effected by the ability for their material providers to be able to deliver essential production materials.
Equipment manufacturers don’t have hug cash reserves at their disposal. Its why so many have gone out of business or have been bought up by other companies. Those cash resources now will be spent on survival, not on sponsorship’s and other community based programs.
Discounts on teams and group purchases will be smaller, further putting the squeeze on small programs. Not to mention those purchases will experience delayed shipping.
This is not a short term flu virus. This is a long term pandemic. Do not underestimate the effects on every level of this game.
Tomorrow we will look at another impacted area for this game.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser