March 2013


Greg Peckham

RG Hockey



Hockey has been a lifelong passion for Greg Peckham. But he never imagined it becoming a part of his livelihood when he was playing club hockey and studying engineering at the University of Maryland in the mid-1990s.


Using a set of Mattingly goalie pads led to an opportunity to work for the company. The next step was ownership of his own pro shop, Center Ice, in Fort Wayne, Ind., and the chance a couple of years ago to run the RG Hockey Pro Shop at a rink in Romeoville, a far southwest suburb of Chicago.


"I never thought of it as a real job until I was well into my 20s and close to 30," Peckham said. "That's probably when I realized this is what I would do for the rest of my life."


In this edition of the Dealer Faceoff, Peckham discusses the challenges he faced to go from hockey player to business owner and how he is able to run two shops in two different states.


Click here to read the entire interview.


HDA: What were some of the biggest challenges you had to initially overcome?

GP: Especially as young as I was, the biggest challenge was learning the business and not thinking of the store as a hobby or fun, and thinking of it as a business. The person I worked for in 1998, he didn't want to expand, so that's when I needed to find a partner and reality set in that I need to get a little more serious. I wanted part-ownership for all of the work I had put in, so that was hard to find, and my current partner was the only one to offer any ownership.


From 1996 to 1998 we had a retail storefront in Huntertown, Ind. Coming from the East Coast, with a small specialty store, you come to expect people are going to find you even though we were eight miles off the busiest shopping area in Fort Wayne. But I went to the owner because of where we were located and said this isn't going to work. In 1998 we moved into the free-standing store with my new partner.


In 2000, there was one (single sheet) ice rink in Fort Wayne, and it was renovated to two sheets and I got the lease to move in. From 2000 to 2002, I ran two stores and that was probably the biggest mistake I ever made. Those were the only two years I didn't show a profit and it was probably the hardest I ever worked. The main reason I did that is I had a lot of time left on the lease at the free-standing store, so I learned from that one.


HDA: What are the challenges you face operating two pro shops in two different states?

GP: When Canlan (Ice Sports) bought Romeoville as a foreclosure two years ago, they were really happy with what I was doing in Fort Wayne. It made me nervous at first, because at most of their rinks they do their own pro shops. Fortunately, I have a great reputation in Fort Wayne and the local organization was pretty vocal about keeping me around. Canlan saw I was an asset to the rink and a lot of people plan their hockey shopping around when they come to Fort Wayne. 


At first, logistically I had to figure out dealing with computer software and different state regulations and taxes. Inventory-wise, I could get the inventory back and forth (3 1/2 hour drive) as needed.


My manager in Fort Wayne, we worked side-by-side for six months before I made the move and it was a pretty smooth transition. The biggest challenge so far is my own nerves. The biggest hurdle has been overcoming the need to not have to micromanage everything. I'm starting to get a good reputation around (Romeoville) from people who use other rinks and that's what I need.


HDA: Did the NHL lockout have a negative impact on business?

GP: I do have a bit of a theory that in a hockey store you don't see much of an effect until five years down the road. The last time there was a lockout, I went back and looked at the numbers and you could see pockets of kids where it was light in the years when they were 5-year-olds and impressionable. The (Romeoville) rink just did a free skate deal in January, and the program blew up (with participants). I think the talk of the NHL getting back and going was a large part of that.


HDA: How has the Internet impacted your business?

GP: Customers are a lot more informed and sometimes misinformed. It's definitely a totally different type of customer than what we used to deal with 10 years ago. All of our employees, and we deal with this daily, will say, 'But that's what the customer wants.' I tell them it's your job to convince them to make a good, educated purchase. You have to prove to them your experience because they assume you're not an expert.


I think about 20 percent of the hockey market wants face-to-face interaction and education and those are my customers. I have to accept that I have only about 20 percent and I have to make sure I do everything I can to make them happy. I usually get the beginning to mid-range hockey player and I'm a small store, so I'm not going to have everything.



Check out the HDA
 New Products Digest!
Click here to check out some of the newest products and innovations on the hockey market in the HDA's New Products Digest.


Recently asked questions to HDA 


Here are a few questions we recently received from HDA members looking to find products:

beerleague3 Q: 
I am looking for a supplier who does reasonably priced hockey novelty t-shirts. I am not looking for NHL team gear, but t-shirts that might say Give Blood Play Hockey or other hockey sayings.

A: Here are three possibilities to check out - Beer League Sportswear (, Sauce Hockey ( and Gong Show Gear (



Q: Do you know where I can buy wholesale NHL car window decals? I have my own printing capabilities, but I don't have a license to reproduce NHL logos.

A: WinCraft ( produces family packages of decals for all 30 NHL teams.


If you need help finding a product for your business, or have any other questions, please contact us and we'll do what we can to help you.

Ex-NHL goalie starts

lifestyle apparel company 


weekes Former NHL goaltender and TV analyst Kevin Weekes started a sports lifestyle apparel company, No 5 Hole, last May. Weekes told Christopher Botta of  Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal that he has expanded from two T-shirts that said "I Have No 5 Hole" to a half-dozen shirts, four hoodies, four hockey jerseys and a women's line. Click here to view the No 5 Hole apparel line.

Top 20 facts about shoppers

you shouldn't ignore


Did you know it costs six times more to attract a new shopper than keep an old one or a five percent increase in customer retention can increase profits up to 125%? Click here to read more on interesting statistics to help understand shoppers.



No minor tripping penalty

trippingvideo Tripping during a hockey game usually leads to a trip to the penalty box. When it's in the postgame handshake line after a youth hockey game and an adult coach trips an opposing player, giving him a broken wrist, the penalty is much more severe.
Click here to read more and see the video of how Canadian youth coach Martin Tremblay's actions resulted in a 15-day jail sentence. 


High school teammates help player who loses equipment in fire 

Click here 


Try Hockey for Free Day a big hit

in North Carolina

Click here 


Back to top 




Remember to renew or start your membership now with HDA! You can do it easily by clicking here to fill out an application and to learn more about the benefits of becoming a part of the voice for hockey dealers.




Chuck Suritz

Marty's signature.jpg
Marty Maciaszek 




In This Issue
DEALER FACE-OFF ... Greg Peckham of RG Hockey
Check out the HDA New Products Digest
BUSINESS BEAT ... Recently asked questions to HDA
AROUND THE ICE ... No minor tripping penalty
Did you know?
The longest winning streak to start an NHL season is 10 games by the 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres. The longest unbeaten streak to start a season is 15 games by the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers (12 wins, 3 ties) and the Chicago Blackhawks currently own the longest streak to start a season without a regulation loss at 24 games after beating the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night (March 6).

49th Annual NSGA Management Conference & 15th Annual Team Dealer Summit

It's a great opportunity to meet leaders in the sporting goods industry May 5-8, 2013 at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The keynote speaker will be legendary Duke University and U.S. Olympic men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski.


Bauer President and CEO Kevin Davis will also be part of a panel discussion, "Looking at the future of the sporting goods industry" at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, May 6.


There are a variety of informational seminars and speakers. For more details and updates on the conference go to


NSGA joins Marketplace Fairness Coalition

The NSGA has joined businesses and trade associations from across the country in the formation of the Marketplace Fairness Coalition. The Coalition will serve as a focal point of support for the business community in the ongoing effort to pass federal legislation that empowers states to update their sales and use tax laws to level the playing field for all sellers.


The Coalition is comprised of businesses of every size, sector and channel of product distribution, including both brick-and-mortar and online sellers, located in every state throughout the country. The diverse membership reflects the broad support for modernizing the current sales and use tax framework so that all businesses will play by the same rules.


According to NSGA's President & CEO Matt Carlson, "Joining the Marketplace Fairness Coalition, which seeks to level the playing field for all bricks-and-mortar retailers, will help ensure that the voice of sporting goods retailers is heard on this important issue. It is our hope that legislation will be enacted that will ensure fairness for our members who are at a distinct disadvantage compared to their online-only competitors." 


Click here to learn more about the Marketplace Fairness Coalition. 
Welcome to HDA!
We would like to congratulate Chase Hockey in Clifton Park, NY ( for becoming the newest member of HDA! 
We want your news!
We want to stay on top of the latest industry news and information, so if you have something to share please send an email to Marty Maciaszek. 



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Phone:(800) 815-5422 ext. 1260.


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