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Hockey Goes Underground

If you are a hockey player who plays or resides on Long Island, then you have probably heard of Hockey Underground, located at 145 Milbar Blvd. in Farmingdale. The store opened at its Farmingdale location in 2012, but had been operating for many years in a warehouse in Freeport, just blocks away from the Freeport Ice Rink.

In order to accommodate their increasing customer base, store owner George Statler III said it was necessary to move. Farmingdale fit his store’s needs, “It’s a very central location, off a main highway, and very easy to get to,” said Statler.

“Hockey isn’t as big, as say, baseball, on Long Island,” said Statler, but he explained that there are more stores that sell baseball equipment because of higher number of people looking for that type of equipment. He said the same percentage of athletes are buying hockey equipment.

Statler began selling in warehouse, closed to the public. He originally worked for his father’s stores, Baseball Plus, before branching off into multisport equipment sales, and then finally into hockey.

His start with public sales began with the sale of a single hockey stick, when one of the hockey players— who had just finished a game at the adjacent rink in Freeport—observed him unloading a shipment into the warehouse. Statler said the warehouse at the time was strictly storage and not in any kind of order for display of merchandise.

That hockey player brought a friend, who brought a friend, who brought a friend and soon, Statler said he had many regular visits from new customers.

He’d ask the young hockey players about their typical purchases, where they would shop for hockey equipment. They all said they did not really have a brick and mortar place to shop, which was also reasonably priced. The new customers told Statler that they usually ordered hockey gear online, but didn’t like it; they wanted to see and touch the gear before making a significant purchase. That is when Statler knew he had to convert the warehouse and open to the public.

Statler confesses, he’s not a hockey player and, in fact, he never ever knew his Freeport location was near an ice rink. He was a baseball guy.

Slowly he learned that there was a good amount of hockey playing happening on Long Island.

He said the word-of-mouth customers named his Freeport location “Hockey Underground” because it was like a dungeon at first and the only hockey players who knew of it were from other hockey placers. It grew quickly, and within four years, Statler moved the business to Farmingdale.

“The market is really controlled by the NHL,” said Statler. “If the Rangers and Islanders are doing well, kids are excited about hockey, they want to play, that really drives the market.”

Statler says more and more kids are getting into the sport. He recalls that more of his customers were adults when he first started in the business, but guess that the average age of his customers now are 12 to 20 years old, and surprisingly he sells more ice hockey equipment through the year than street hockey gear.

“I think the Islanders leaving Long Island could hurt the business though, its [hockey’s] gotta be in people’s faces; out of sight, out of mind, but we’ll see,” said Statler.

His most popular selling item...definitely sticks. Statler said mostly because they break most compared to the other standard equipment in the sport. In addition, he said his skate sharpening service is popular because of their reputation with the quality of sharpening. He said many of his sharpening customers travel from New Jersey, and Brooklyn for that service alone. There are approximately 15 ice rinks on Long Island.

News

Driving rain and cold temperatures could not keep Long Islanders from coming out to support the first annual DogFest Walk ‘n Roll, a fundraiser for Canine Companions for Independence. Held for the first time at Marjorie Post Park in nearby Massapequa, dogs of all breeds and sizes came with their humans with one goal in mind; to raise funds for CCI.

 

Event organizer Yvonne Dagger, past president and now board member, discussed the importance of the event. 

It’s been more than 50 years since the Farmingdale High School class of 1964 roamed the halls of their beloved high school, but that doesn’t mean that the memories have faded. The class—the first to graduate from Farmingdale High—came together on Saturday, October 18 at the Marriott in Islandia to celebrate all of the good times past and make new memories as a class.  


Sports

3rd Grade Division

The Giants and Jets met for the 2nd time this season, with the Giants again getting the victory over the Jets.  Jalen Gordon scored late into the 1st half for the Giants, which turned out to be the only points in the half.  The Giants shut the Jets down for both halves, keeping the offense off the board.  The Jets strong point this weekend was the defense, with Kyle June and Jake Kuller picking up the weekly William June Foundation awards.  In what is turning into a rough offensive season for the Jets, these awards continue to remind the boys of the perseverance and determination of the award’s namesake and his “never say quit” attitude.

 

—Submitted by Paul Caputo


William Merola, a member of the Farmingdale School District’s wrestling program, was recently selected to attend the third annual U.S. Marine Corps Summer Leadership and

Character Development program, which is limited to 150 sophomores and juniors throughout the nation.

 

Over the summer, from July 20-26, Merola attended the third annual Marine Corps recruiting command summer leadership and character academy at the USMC base in Quantico. 

 

The SLCDA (Summer Leadership and Character Development Program) educates high school leaders about Marine Corps Officer Programs by participating in classroom academics, ethics training, accelerated college prep, physical fitness training, a field exercise, a community service component and a field trip to Washington, D.C.


Calendar

Networking Event - October 29

Halloween Parade - October 31

Holiday Craft and Vendor Fair - November 2


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com