Your local Target is trying to start something.
A recent visit to the retail superstore for contact solution, Archer Farms coffee and 'Dear John' on Blu-ray turned into (as always) a trek throughout the store looking for 20 additional items I definitely didn't need. Venturing up the last isle of the store put me in the kid's toys/sporting goods section of the store. The sporting goods section at Target (or any such large retail store) is like the Island of Misfit Toys; baseball gloves in all forms of plastic, footballs in every color of the rainbow, yoga equipment with an expiration date and tents guaranteed to let in every known species of biting insect. But where this section has always been an embarrassment is in its supply of hockey gear.
When "sports" stores such as Modell's, Dick's and even The Sports Authority think that hockey players should be outfitted in head-to-toe Mylec street hockey gear, it's hard to expect Walmart or Target to succeed in outfitting hockey players. Being a beginning skills coach, I'm always frustrated by the number of kids who show up to their first on-ice practice with a street hockey stick and an ancient, dry rotted helmet that's been sitting on a shelf for 5 years. With the Caps being consistently successful, more and more kids are taking up the sport. Unfortunately, their parents are finding it hard to find the right gear for them.
So imagine my surprise at seeing a familiar face staring at me from the sporting goods isle.
Sure, it's only an Alex Ovechkin Mini Hockey Set, but it's still our beloved #8 beckoning kids to take a look. Real hockey gloves!? Real sticks!? While there are still no shin pads, pants, shoulder or elbow pads, helmets or skates to be seen, at least the gear on the shelves is the right gear. With a smile on my face, I ventured down the isle with hope that I'd never see Mylec ever again. Then, over my shoulder, I saw it. Target did have skates afterall.
(cue that 'REET REET REET' music from Psycho)
Ok, for the record the skates are good skates. They're supportive and will do nicely for a kid wanting to learn the game. There is even a helpful 'sizing skates' graphic on the display. But this is Washington Capitals country now. If local Target stores want to sell more hockey gear, I'd suggest getting CCM gear next year and splashing Ovie's picture everywhere. Kids here know his face and associate it with hockey.
And they should probably send this display back to Reebok to be forwarded to a Target in western Pennsylvania. It might be appreciated there.