All eyes on Reebok hockey store

Steve Adams

Demand for retro hockey gear has driven strong sales at the NHL Powered by Reebok store in its first year.

Canton-based Reebok International, which supplies the National Hockey League’s jerseys and is the league’s licensee for fan gear, opened the store on the ground floor of the NHL Headquarters in New York in October 2007. The store sells a wide variety of hockey-themed merchandise, from $250 authentic NHL game jerseys to customized footwear.

Without giving dollar figures, Reebok said the store is expected to more than double its projected sales figure for 2008.

“I was concerned, because year two is always the most challenging year for a new retail concept,” said Anderson McNeill, Reebok’s head of global retail.

An indoor wall of frozen ice serves as a backdrop for a display of Reebok hockey skates. A 22-foot-tall video screen serves as an indoor billboard that catches the eyes of pedestrians.

“The store’s like a giant fishbowl when you’re coming down Sixth Avenue,” McNeill said.

The Manhattan location has given the store high visibility, with frequent appearances by NHL stars and celebrities. Sirius SM Radio broadcasts its “NHL Live” show weekdays from noon to 2 p.m. there.

The store’s top-selling items are Reebok Edge NHL jerseys, which are the game jerseys worn by players and retail for $250. Premier jerseys sell for $115.

NHL Powered by Reebok also contains a luxury line, including such items as varsity jackets and cashmere sweaters that are not available elsewhere.

One merchandise category that has shown unexpected strength is throwback jerseys manufactured by Mitchell & Ness Nostalgia Co., the Philadelphia-based manufacturer that Reebok acquired in 2007. Demand is high for anything with logos of defunct teams such as the Hartford Whalers or gear with previous logos for existing teams, McNeill said.

“We’re finding there’s an insatiable appetite for anything vintage or throwback,” he said.

Steve Adams may be reached at