Toronto Six Professional Women’s Hockey Team Retail Presence Looks to Multi-channel Growth with On-Ice Success [Interview]


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Merchandising and getting into the retail part of the business has become an important element for sports teams in recent years.

In an effort to build a brand and a following, teams have followed what typical retailers do to sell products – create an online presence and have a physical presence.

For many teams, that physical presence is usually found at their games with booths and special areas set up for sales. It can also be found in partnerships with sports-minded retailers. And some of the more advanced teams, like the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League for example, have set up their own standalone retail outlets in places outside of the venues they play.

Toronto Six (Image: Lori Bolliger)
Sami Jo Small

Sami Jo Small, President of the Toronto Six professional women’s hockey team, said the team has merchandising at every home game from sweatshirts to hoodies to scarves, toques and hats. There’s also jackets and vests, pants and sweats. Every weekend it is creating some new and different merchandise and different T-shirt options for fans. 

“Everything we think our fans are going to want to purchase to be able to cheer on the Toronto Six. As well, we have replica jerseys available that are blank or you can get a player’s name on it. And we also have what’s called Shirseys which is a T-shirt version of that jersey with the player’s name and number on the back,” said Small.

“We do in-game sales but we also do online sales as well.”

The team plays in the Premier Hockey Federation with its home rink at York University with a 24-game schedule. There are two teams in Canada (the other one is the Montreal Force) and five teams in the United States. The championship trophy is the Isobel Cup. The season runs from October until the end of March.

Toronto Six (Image: Lori Bolliger)

Small is a global keynote speaker and three-time Olympian with two gold medals and one silver with Canada’s famous women’s hockey team.

She said the brand currently doesn’t have any partnership with sporting goods stores.

“We’d love to do that. We would love to get the Toronto Six brand and merchandising into more areas,” said Small.

“We actually partner with a company called Real Hip. They’re out of Vancouver and they supply our merchandising for us. So that would be something we would look into for the future to be able to have them sell directly to stores as well.

“We outsource our merchandising to them. Of course with lots of collaboration and back and forth in terms of choosing what will be chosen. But what’s so great about them is they will do the set up and staff the merchandising booth at games for us as it is sort of new for us to be able to have all of this at the games. We have a huge merchandising tent . . . set up with all the Toronto Six branding and logo-ing on it. They also will staff it for us which is really great.”

The Toronto Six has been playing for three years. The name refers to the six boroughs that created the City of Toronto.

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.


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