Belle River retailer says demand for hockey equipment is increasing
Most Belle River minor hockey players are lacing up for the first time since the pandemic began, but with the rinks set and ready, sports retailers are scrambling to get more hockey gear on their shelves.
The doors to Belle River Source For Sports opened in July after COVID-19 restrictions were eased. Young hockey players have come in droves, according to the owner, desperate for new equipment.
“Our hockey has been very busy last month. Everyone checks their bags and sees that their equipment has grown too big, ”said David Bellaire, owner of Belle River Source For Sports.
Bellaire said hockey sales are double what they usually are for this time of year. But trying to bring in more equipment to meet demand has been difficult.
“It’s a challenge, the suppliers haven’t been able to keep up with the demand. Everyone knew it was going to happen, but there are also shipping issues,” he said.
A shipment of personalized hockey pants arrived five months after Bellaire ordered them. He said it was two months longer than usual.
While it can be a bit more difficult to find gear, the local minor league is bringing in plenty of room for registration.
Paul Gray, president of the Belle River District Minor Hockey Association, said that at the end of July, the league had typically 600 registered players, but currently only 300 have registered.
“As a board of directors, we were surprised. We normally expected to see higher numbers at this time of year,” he said.
The league will be advertising on social media and billboards to try to attract more players. He extended the registration for an additional month, until August 31.