Pro Hockey Life Unveils Game-Changing Store Prototype in Hamilton with Plans for Future Locations [Interview/Photos]

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Pro Hockey Life has unveiled a brand-new store layout and shopping experience for customers visiting its Hamilton location which will act as a prototype for new stores in the future. 

The Hamilton store, under the Canadian Tire umbrella, features a new layout that is easy to navigate, accessible and ultimately designed to provide a better shopping experience for customers with the help of adaptable merchandising, wider aisles, expert staff, and a wide assortment of equipment for players at all levels.  

The revamped layout includes newly enhanced in-store service offerings such as the Shooting Lanes, the Pro Shop and three Custom Fitting Centres for skates, protective gear and goalie equipment – all of which have been designed to help players test and find gear that will improve their game. 

Pro Hockey Life Hamilton (Image: Pro Hockey Life)

Mike Magennis, SVP of General Merchandising, said the Hamilton store is 18,000 square feet.

“We’ve revised the entire layout and expanded in our service area of the store which is one of the key reasons why customers come into Pro Hockey Life,” he said. “It’s really designed to allow the player to come in and get everything that they need to play the game of hockey irrespective of what level they’re playing in.

“We call ourselves the hockey store. We talk about the player but there’s other segments that we target. So we talk about the coach, we talk about the fan, and we talk about the hockey parent.

“So as we think about what we need to do within this store we’re really looking at all those different groups.”

Pro Hockey Life Hamilton (Image: Pro Hockey Life)

Pro Hockey Life has 16 stores in Canada – nine in Ontario, four in Alberta, one each in BC, Manitoba and Nova Scotia. Stores are from 15,000 to 21,000 square feet with locations primarily standalone in shopping centres. 

“(Hamilton) is the first one we’ve done so we’re obviously monitoring this . . . Early reads on it, I would say we’re very happy with it. We’re going to leave this in market for at least a year but this will be the foundation as we think about the stores we’re going to open next year.”

Canadian Tire recently acquired Bed, Bath and Beyond locations and announced that as a result Pro Hockey Life will be opening four new stores in Ontario. The revamped Hamilton store will act as a test-and-learn concept with the potential for future enhancements as the brand prepares to open new locations.

The former Bed, Bath and Beyond locations are in London, Barrie, Kingston and Sudbury.

“As we think about where we’re going with this floor plan, we believe it has the potential to be rolled out into the existing network. So that would be something that we would contemplate over the outlook, call it the next three or four years,” said Magennis.

“The one thing about our brand is it’s pretty pervasive. So even though we might not have stores in every province, we end up shipping through our e-commerce business to every province in Canada. We’ve got a virtual destination in terms of how we think about the brand and its connectioin with customers across the country.”

Pro Hockey Life at South Edmonton Common
Entrance 6 leading to the "Sports Neighbourhood" at CrossIron Mills
Entrance 6 leading to the “Sports Neighbourhood” at CrossIron Mills. Photo: Canada247

Magennis said many of the traditional stores were designed to mimic coming out of a dressing room to go into an arena. So in many of the stores there are tunnels coming into the centre of the store. 

“What we’ve done in (the Hamilton) store is we’ve taken that tunnel out and really opened up the merchandising so you can get a really good sense of the store and where everything is in the store,” he said.

The Hamilton store is located at 1779 Stone Church Road East.

The Premier Pro Shop, Fitting Centres and Shooting Lane have been designed to help players test and find gear that fits right and will ultimately improve their game.

Pro Hockey Life Hamilton (Image: Pro Hockey Life)

The renovation highlights include:

  • An entirely new store layout that has transformed the 18,000 square feet of retail space into an open and accessible shopping experience with adaptable merchandising, an easy to navigate layout, expert staff and a wide assortment of equipment geared to help players at all levels play their best;
  • High performing, customer driven Premier Pro Shop offering skate sharpening including multiple Sparx Automation machines along with repairs from expert technicians. The Pro Shop offers tune ups, repairs, skate stretching, replacement steel and profiling services to help players find the right profile for their game;
  • The Pro Shop now offers Pro Sharp, the full profiling system from Bauer Hockey. Pro Sharp allows skaters to cater their blades to their specific skating style while enhancing both the level of comfort and performance of the skates;
  • Three Fitting Centres, each dedicated to its own category of equipment (skates, protective gear and goalie equipment), where customers can get assistance from expert staff on everything from the perfect gear fit to product recommendations, making it easier to get access to all the great hockey products in the store;
  • The Shooting Lane offers a unique shooting experience for players to measure their accuracy, shot speed, and reaction time. Expert associates will help players test sticks in the Shooting Lane before purchase by examining their shots and making recommendations on appropriate stick specs specific to each player and their shooting style;
  • Goalie Equipment Customization allows goalies to build their dream set of pads, blockers, gloves, stick and chest protector for players at all levels of play. Customization can include anything from colours and graphics to specs and sizing and can be ordered with the help of expert staff in-store.
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.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting concept. Good luck with it.
    It is too bad that the picture you chose to show the new store, specifically the goalie fitting area, features a fixture that is half empty! I’m sure Pro Hockey Life/CTC won’t be happy with that!

    • Hey Bruce – I reached out directly to Pro Hockey Life / CTC and requested images for this location, and these were the photos that were provided to us. We’ll update when visual assets become available.

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