Hockey season is in full flow for children across Ontario and some Scarborough-based sports stores are ensuring that young hockey players from initiation to juvenile levels are properly suited at the cheapest prices possible.
One store is Sport Chek’s Eglinton Corners branch at 1920 Eglinton Ave. E. The branch’s manager, Brian Ballentine, says his store has a program that allows parents to buy protective gear like helmets, shin guards and shoulder pads at discounted prices.
Additionally, Ballentine outlined the store’s junior trade-in program, in which parents get 50 per cent off new hockey equipment bought the following season once their kids have outgrown gear worn the year before.
“You want to make sure the skate fits right, but the big concern with parents is that they grow out of them so quick,” he said. “With those incentives, you can get them in the proper fitting size. It’s got to fit properly so they can learn properly. Otherwise they are going to be frustrated.”
Play It Again Sports, based at 2488 Gerrard St. E., also has discount programs. However, the store’s manager, Stephen Gulpin, says used equipment is popular at his store given that it is half the price of new gear, including skates.
“We carry used skates that start at $25 and they can go up to a couple of hundred dollars, depending on the skates,” he said.
Additionally, Play It Again Sports contributes money towards new equipment for kids once they can no longer fit into what they have.
“Instead of throwing it in the garbage, you can bring it here and we can give you money to buy other equipment,” Gulpin said.
National Sports, based at 1455 McCowan Rd., does not have a trade-in program. However, it does have packaged deals that help young hockey players get fitted from head to toe for a base price. However, what makes National Sports unique, according to store manager Simon Kennedy, is the fact his store has a fitting squad that ensures the comfort levels of aspiring players.
“We make sure that not only are you getting your equipment at any level, it’s getting fitted properly, for their safety and their performance,” he said. “If they don’t know the sport, how it’s supposed to fit, why it’s supposed to fit that way and what it protects.”