Tough guy forward Donald Brashear won a lot of fights during his 17-season National Hockey League career.
Wednesday night, Brashear struck another victorious blow – landing a $500,000 deal for his fledgling Brash87 low-cost hockey stick company with the denizens of CBC’s popular “Dragons’ Den,” Canada’s version of CNBC’s “Shark Tank.”
The former NHL enforcer who let his fists do the talking to the tune of 2,634 career penalty minutes persuaded three Dragons – Jim Treliving, Michael Wekerle, and Manjit Minhas – to do a deal in which they provide $500,000 to help him boost the inventory of his China-manufactured sticks in return for a 40 percent economic interest and 50 percent voting interest in Brash87.
“I’m still working on them trying to close that deal,” Brashear told me Wednesday night. “Bottom line, if you’re starting a business and you have people that know the most and have a lot of money and want to invest in your company, it’s a good sign. I hope it gives a push, marketing-wise.”
Treliving, chairman and owner of Boston Pizza International, Inc., has hockey connections. He’s director of the Hockey Canada Foundation. His son, Brad Treliving, is general manager of the NHL’s Calgary Flames.
Brashear went on the show in search of funding and partners for the company he founded after he was appalled by the prospect of paying $300 for a twig after he retired from the NHL six years ago.
He was a kept man hockey equipment-wise during his career with the Vancouver Canucks, Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, and New York Rangers and never realized how much money hockey parents and beer league players shelled out for sticks.
So he started Brash87, which sells Brashear-designed, professional-caliber, carbon fiber sticks at a price that won’t send hockey parents and recreational adult players into sticker shock.
The sticks range between $129 (CAN) and $179 (CAN), roughly between $94 and $130 in U.S. currency. Brashear says his mostly mail order business is booming, perhaps faster than he anticipated.
“At first when I started, I was going so fast that I didn’t have enough inventory,” he told me. “With more inventory, I can get more sticks at a lower price, which will be even better for me. The problem was getting investment cash to get the larger inventory.”
He currently has an inventory of 3,000 sticks. He envisions growing that to 10,000 to 20,000 sticks so he can begin selling them in big stores. After surviving the “Dragons’ Den,” he may get his wish.