KONIXX & NCR ELITE TEAM UP
Welcome to the first in a series of Konixx.com blogs featuring our partner programs.
When we decide to place the Konixx name next to a team or program, the decision is not done lightly, nor is it done often. Throwing “sponsorship” around is a very early 2000’s roller hockey thing to do, where any and every team had a “sponsor’s” name associated with them, as such it’s sort of lost its prestige.
To us, sponsorship should mean something to both the team/program and to the brand. For the team, it means the players actively like and use the products they are “endorsing” not because it’s given to them or sold to them at a discount, but because they see a true benefit in doing so. For the brand, the fact that these players are using their product should lend to the brands relevancy and image. That team/program’s reputation and standing in their community meaning more than how many tournaments they’ve won or the hardware they collect. It’s with this philosophy that we set out to find the right teams and programs to partner with as Konixx enters its second year in the industry.
NCR KONIXX ELITE
Northern California is one of the last thriving, full year roller hockey markets in the US. Anyone who’s ever been to a regional or national event of any type at the Silver Creek Sportsplex will attest to this. San Jose and the surrounding areas are packed with talented teams and players, and within that group, is our partner program; NCR Elite.
NCR Elite has deep roots in the Northern California roller hockey scene dating back to the early 2000’s. The program is headed up by Travis Suyeishi, who has been involved in the sport in San Jose for over 25 years both as a player and a coach. He has seen San Jose Roller hockey go from wood/cement floor roller rinks in the late 90’s, to the home of the premier facility in the US; Silver Creek Sportsplex, who hosts the NCR program and well as a few others. Travis is currently supported by his assistant coaches Matthew Swanson and David Puckett, two very skilled players and coaches, as well as a strong core of parents and managers who help keep everything running smoothly. A strict philosophy of system, team work, sportsmanship, discipline, and fun have been the cornerstone of NCR’s success and in turn were part of what made the decision to ask them to partner with Konixx such an easy one.
Players from NCR Elite had strong ties to the Konixx brand ahead of the partnership, with members of the program being part of our early product development team that helped us launch the Konixx wheel line. Brothers Colton (player from Elite U14) and Barron (Goalie from Elite U16) Bertagna, were on Konixx wheels 8 months before the brand even came to market, giving us performance and wear feedback on the final couple rounds of testing for the Pure dual pour wheel, and the Nucleus goalie wheel. NCR coach and Konixx Outcasts JR team member Matt Swanson was also part of the group that helped give us feedback on testing for the final round of the Pure. In recent months, Matt, Travis, and David were put on some final phase samples of the Konixx Electron wheel (which will be launching in May 2017) to give us Flight Deck floor feedback. These NCR players and coaches are a perfect representative of our customers; they skate… A LOT and demand their wheels not only perform, but have a lifespan that makes them worth using.
We sat down with Travis to ask him a few questions about the NCR Elite Program and why the Elite and Konixx partnership was such an easy one to form:
Konixx: How old is the Elite program, and what exactly does NCR stand for?
Travis: NCR Stands for Nor Cal Riot, which has been around since 2003. NCR Elite was formed in 2010 as the program went through some changes, and the Elite name has just become part of the program. We’ve had 2 to 4 teams a season ever since.
Konixx: What would you say are Elite’s most notable achievements in the current chapter of the program?
Travis: For sure it would have to be winning divisions at NARCh finals over the years. In 2010 our Pee Wee's beat Labeda XDH and won the Gold Championship at home (Silver Creek Sportsplex), which was special. Then in 2013 our Midgets won the Gold division in Toronto, and then a new group of Midgets taking Gold again at NARCh West in Huntington Beach in 2015 was pretty special too.
Konixx: What’s the NCR line up of teams look like this season?
Travis: We currently have teams at Pee Wee (14U), Bantam (16U), and Midget (18U). Occasionally we’ll throw in a Men’s or JR team made up of current or past NCR players and friends.
Konixx: What is this season like for your as far as tournaments you’ll be playing in? When did Elite’s season start and when will it end?
Travis: We started back in November and will end in July. We’ll be playing in 9 tournaments including Nor Cal Cup, and TORHS, along with a bunch of NARCh Qualifiers, and then wrap up with NARCh West at Silver Creek and NARCh East in Toronto.
Konixx: Damn that is a LONG season with a lot of games, no wonder your teams get better every year, playing that many tournaments can only help them develop faster. How are the coaching duties split up between all the NCR teams?
Travis: All 3 coaches; David, Matt, and myself, put in work with all the teams, it’s a group coaching effort I guess you could say.
Konixx: Why did you/Elite decide to partner with Konixx this season?
Travis: Konixx is a brand that our kids loved when it first hit the market. Most of our players were already skating on the Pure's and they love hanging around the booth with the Konixx players/reps. We do the Konixx MVP for every tournament, and the kids are loving the recognition and the shout outs on social media.
Konixx: What do your players say about the Konixx Wheels?
Travis: They love the Pure wheels and acknowledge them as one of the best wheels on the market. They love the support that has been given to them this season. We would really like to thank Konixx for all your love! We couldn’t be happier.Konixx: What are your players saying about the Konixx Wheels?
Konixx: Thanks, Travis! We as well couldn’t be happier to have NCR as part of our growing stable of partner programs. Best of luck to you and the teams as you head into the final stretch of the season!
All photo credits to Daryn Goodwin and NARCh