By Ryan Bakken in the Grand Forks Herald
There’s a new generation of Warroad, Minn., residents who want to make hockey sticks.
Jay Fisher and James Marvin are Warroad natives in their mid-20s who are hoping to duplicate what Christian Brothers did in the city for almost 40 years.
Their company’s name is Eleven Hockey, a reference to the Highway 11 that runs in Canada from Toronto to International Falls, Minn., and then parallel to the Canadian border before ending at the Minnesota-North Dakota border. Highway 11’s hockey towns include Roseau and Warroad, Minn.
“About 60 to 70 professional hockey players have come from the small towns along Highway 11,” Fisher said. “There’s a lot of hockey interest there.”
Fisher said their hope is to bring hockey stick manufacturing back to the United States. Winning a $10,000 IDEA grant from the Northwest Minnesota Foundation and other nonprofits would provide a boost to that goal.
“Sticks now are basically handmade, one at a time,” he said. “They’re so labor-intensive that they’re being built in other countries with lower labor costs.”
The partners’ plan is to use composites and technology to manufacture 100 sticks at a time at U.S. manufacturing plants.
“The sticks are being made in other countries because of the cheaper labor cost,” he said. “Our method allows us to make them here.”
The other IDEA finalists, hometowns in Minnesota and products are:
• Brady and Jodi Dyrdahl, Shevlin, The Sidekick: The Sidekick is a snowmobile work stand that stabilizes the sled, making it easier to perform repairs.
• Don and Sandra Buerkley, Park Rapids, American Log Maker. A renewable energy solution, it recycles animal waste into a useable and economical heat source for horse facilities.
• Mark Landes and Jennifer DeBarr, Bemidji, Shield Snip: A hand tool to simplify the process of trimming thick cables quickly and precisely.
• William and Julia Stephani, Puposky, Slot Rail Fence: A way to construct a stronger and more appealing wooden rail fence for do-it-yourself builders.
Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 125; or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share with friends:March 20, 2012