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Halifax entrepreneur creates new hockey product to keep sticks on ice and kids in game


HALIFAX - Halifax entrepreneur Ryan Wolfe has a unique idea he thinks will “stick” with cash-strapped hockey families.

Ryan Wolfe, president of Twig-Aid, a new Halifax-based business that offers a unique fix for composite hockey sticks.

Wolfe is the mind behind new product Twig-Aid, a portable tool kit that fixes cracked hockey sticks, for a fraction of what it costs to replace that well-broken into composite “twig.”

“We didn’t have a whole lot of money growing up,” the 34-year-old from Lower Sackville said Monday of what inspired the stick-saving -- and budget-saving -- invention. His parents kept a close eye on their wallets so that Wolfe and his older brother could keep playing the sport they loved.

“I just know that there (are) other families out there that are going through the same thing,” Wolfe said of the rising costs of hockey, whether it’s registration fees, travelling to tournaments or increasingly high-tech equipment.

“They’re faced with the question … ‘are we going to eat tonight, or are we going to buy the new stick for our son, so he can play in the game tomorrow?' ”

It’s a serious question for Canadian families that are serious about hockey, with quality composite sticks coming with price tags of a couple hundred dollars apiece, even though a single shot could cause a break, snap or crack that turns that pricey twig into trash.

“I call it a do-it-yourself stick maintenance product,” Wolfe said of Twig-Aid, which includes a bag of “metal-ice powder,” bottle of specially-formulated glue and sanding disc, all wrapped up inside a plastic cylinder that can fit into the pocket of a gear bag.

“It’s not for a complete crack or fracture,” he explained, but can be used to fill in smaller imperfections within stick fibres.

“Moisture gets into that crack or fray, and will expand and contract, and weakens the stick, and then you go to take a shot, and it busts in two.”

Twig-Aid can help avoid that missed shot for an anticipated price of $19.99 plus tax per unit, with each kit good enough for up to 10 fixes to keep that stick on the ice. “You’re protecting it from moisture, but you’re also structurally enhancing where that crack or fray is.”

Wolfe, who played midget AAA with the Dartmouth Subways and was drafted by the junior A Truro Bearcats, sees Twig-Aid becoming part of pre-game rituals, much like taping and waxing the stick is now.

But while he has big dreams for Twig-Aid, Wolfe’s business is very much in the beginning stages. When he’s not serving at restaurant The Bicycle Thief by night, he plans to introduce his product at hockey camps in the province this summer.

Wolfe isn’t just about bringing in the big bucks. The former teacher’s ultimate vision is to make money while helping the community, with a percentage of proceeds helping families in need pay for hockey equipment.

“The idea is to hopefully, at some point, put money back into the community, to help under-privileged kids stay in hockey.”

Visit www.twigaid.com, follow @twigaid on Twitter and “like” www.facebook.com/twigaid for more information.

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