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Episode 24 · 2 years ago

Drew Laine | Episode 24

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This week's episode of the #Eshow features Drew Laine, the Founder and CEO of the Penalty Box Foundation. Drew discusses all of the different components that make up the foundation, including the fundraisers they've put together during these unprecedented times. Drew also discusses this week's challenge that he is taking on in full force, as he sets out to walk 75 miles in 24 hours.

Welcome to the e show with Neil Ravn. With over onezero NCAA commitments, the ehl is the proven path to college. Turn it up and learn more about the college place, but leader at the division two and three levels. Welcome to the e show presented by the penalty box foundation. The foundations mission centers around their daily motto we take care of our own as they help out all those within the hockey community who have experienced a catastrophic event. Learn more at penalty box foundation dot Org. Once again, my name is Neil Raven. This episode number twenty four and I am beyond please to be joined on this edition of the podcast by the founder and CEO of the penalty box foundation, drew lane. Drew, welcome to the show. Hey Man, how are you? Good man, how are you doing right now? Hanging in there. We're we're busy, really busy, but during these times that's a good thing, right, exactly. I was going to say. My first thing I wanted to ask you was, you know, it's kind of a loaded question, but how have these times really just affected you? It's it's we so there. We had two choices as a foundation, right. We we were looking at the spring in the summertime and we understood that it was unlikely that we were going to be able to have any sort of events in events run the foundation, they raise the money, they bring both together it it's a really big deal for us to lose some of the events we had planned. You know, we could have run, we could have backed off, but we decided, you know what, let's circle the wagons and let's let's start doing things for the community. Let's, you know, as our motto says, the start taking care of our own. So we really took that on and over the last sixty days we've done some great things with the community. They've really stepped up to help those in need, who are really struggling during this time. You know, we put on a mini Olympics two weeks mini Olympics for for kids at home. That just got them out of their parents hair and kept kept everybody saying for a little bit. We raised over FIFTEENZERO dollars and purchased sparks face shields to donate to local local hospitals here in Massachusetts. Last Friday we held a youth suicide summit. We brought together for hockey parents who had lost their children to suicide and in got information and resources together for the community. So, man, it's been a busy time, a different time for us, but it's been a time for us to focus on who we are, and you guys are a new presenting partner for the podcast. Obviously I wanted to find a right time. We're going to talk about why we picked this date as we get further along in this podcast. But I've had a number of people reached out and say to me what is the penalty box foundation? I go well, you get when you go to their website and you click there about section. There's actually four different elements to it and I wanted to rape down all four with you over here on the podcast because each one is unique and different. So let's start with the first one. When when penalty box hockey was first form and two thousand and sixteen it was a subscription box. Can you take us back to two thousand and sixteen and what exactly you got you were going for at that time? Boy, I don't know if I want to go back to twenty six. I think honestly, it started in a garage and it's it wasn't our core business at the time. Myself and my business partner have a software company, but we were sitting around on our Friday afternoon kind of just just throw around ideas of things that we could do next. And we're both x hockey players. We have kids who are coming up through the system and decided, you know what, let's let's look at a subscription box. And we we white boarded a few ideas and it kind of went off, went off to the side, as you know. Yeah, that's great, but we'll never do that. But I couldn't get it out of my head. So two days before Black Friday back in two thousand and sixteen, I decided, you know what I'm getting website up or starting in subscription box. We launched it and we had no idea what we were doing and fortunately and unfortunately, we had...

...two of the larger hockey mom blogs pick up on it, calling us the hockey gift of two thousand and sixteen, and we were struggling to, you know, over the next two three weeks, figure out what the heck is subscription box was and how to fulfill it, how to get product and get it out the door. But that's how we kicked off. It was it was a simple idea that the kind of the kind of took off and that was the start. Man All out of all out of the garage to it was it was crazy times back then. And for that box is it's still something that's, I don't want to say your number one priority, but is it still a consistent seller for you? It is, especially through this epidemic. You know, people are looking for for a little pick me up during the their time at home, will say, and it's such a great mix of apparel and gear that you know, kids can open it up and have a good time. But it's a driver. It's not a major driver of our business at this point, but it's certainly, certainly is our core and who we are and it's still still trucking. So it's exciting and it's funny how they work, because I just got this is we have a dog. I mean this is different, this is a pop box, but every month my fiance looks forward to the pop box coming in the mail for your for your penalty box. Do you specifically pick what items are in each month? You have like a month to month plan? How does that work? Yeah, so we try to, we absolutely try to, but you know, with the number of subscribers we have. At this point it's tough to go to the smaller to midsize manufacturers and say, Hey, guys, we need you know, we need one hundred of this, but we need it by next month. So we've had to kind of step back and start planning and get things together in preparation for coming months. But we try to mix it up. You know, the past four or five months have really been great. We've received great feedback. You know, apparel training year in all sorts of all sorts of stuff in there and two years after you guys have released the box for the first time. That's really when the foundation came about. Two Thousand and eighteen. Had that always been on your mind or is it something that just all right, now is the time we're going to do this? Look, we started to found it had never occurred to me that we'd start a foundation and in the hockey world. But when we started with the foundation we kind of saw time after time very similar stories within the the hockey community that we grew online, of hockey parents. You know, you see something tragic, something catastrophic, happen to a hockey family, a hockey program a hockey player and you'd see the local community really rally around that family or that group and take care of them. In with the reach that we had in North America, we decided, you would it be stretched to really take that local grassroots type fundraising and taking care of each other to a national level. So if you're a hockey parent in Boston, if something happens in, you know, in Minnesota, you're going to have the same feelings about that family and understand what they're going through and you'll want to help. So it's really just bringing that local community feel and that that in leveraging the national audience, the international audience at this point, to help those hockey families. I'm sure this is another loaded question for you, but there's been a number of different instances where you've been able to help out. Is there one or two and particular they when you have a chance to look back, you're going to say to yourself like man, that one in particular that really stands out for me. Yeah, and this one is the the story I tell when it comes down to it, because it even thinking about it now you get a little emotional. But we donated bags right at the start of the foundation and the idea was that. You know, a hockey bag doesn't seem like much, but to a kid who's using his old dad's old army bag in the locker room, you know it's something some you know, all these new wheels...

...bags, the Grit Towers and this and that. It's almost a status symbol at this point in there are a lot of kids out there that don't have that. So we went out and we I think, I think it was twenty five to thirty bags that we sent out to local families that we source through the community. In one one person sent me a video. It was a foster mom who had her son, her foster son, come in and open the bag on the kitchen floor and she was videoing it and he opened it and literally just broke down in tears sitting there watching and you think, Hey, if I'm getting I'm getting goosebumps. You tell me this story right now. It's it's real, man, and it's it's things like that. That's story right there really catapulted kind of my drive that it's a damn hockey back. You know, we can all the fortunate we as a community can do better than that. You know what I mean and and you it's it's those sorts of things that really bring impact, you know, in really getting to the emotion of the game, removing the politics that are out there and make the game just so unfortunate at this play point. But getting to the core, making sure that that community sticks together is really what we're about and that that story right there kind of kind of tells it and I've been dying to find that video again. It was so long ago. But it's emotional, man, and that's our game, that is who we are and and that's and that's half of it. So far. We touched on the subscription box and the foundation and I'm sure you and I have probably pet cross passed and the rank before. I've never actually met in person here, but the way that we actually got to know each other. John Lounsbury, a former coach in our league, connected me to hockey deals and discounts. This facebook page. Now I hadn't seen it before, but over fortyzero people had. Can you just talk about what hockey deals and discounts is and how maybe even some of our junior players can get on that? Yeah, so it is funny story. After after we launched a subscription box back in back in sixteen, we were heading into seventeen and we're doing a lot of media buys and trying to figure out that the business model behind it had to bring more people in in it. Honestly, the the the conversion of of the media were buying wasn't great and we had to figure out a way, if we're going to grow it, to get people aware of what we were doing. So we, through other said let's start a private facebook group, let's call it hockey deals and discounts. Will Get our subscribers into their have them invite their friends and family and will go to manufacturing. Today, look, we have this. This group is community of hockey parents. It's really targeted, but you're not going to get access to them unless you give them a deal on the on that, on the gear that you're offering in that has we started off, I think the first group is five hundred people in the group and slowly grew. Slowly grew and it blossom and it's more than just US running deals in a group. It really turned into something where, you know, it's a mini family where again, politics aside, were there sport each other. You know, drop the costs of hockey and level the ice. Is there a cap on how many people you want in that group? But do you want to see it continue to grow to maybe even the Hundred Tho mark? So if it does, that be great. But our thing for the group is that, you know, we have some very specific rules and it's be courteous, be respectful in I don't know if I could say the third but just just don't be mean. Yeah, and if you are, you're gone. You know, we're not looking for people who don't really care about the community, care about hockey or and just want to run their mouths. There are a lot of keyboard rangers out there and that's not who we are and I'd rather you go buy from, you know, a big box store, then in through penalty box if that's if that's the thing, and one...

...of the hot sellars for you right now during this time. HM, all the training products. Okay, yeah, a lot of at home training products. We have great partners out there. They put put amazing products together. You know, we've started to manufacture some of our own balance boards and passers and all that fun, fun stuff to keep the kids out of the parents hair. Do you notice like a optick in that this year? In particular just regular summer sales. Yeah, absolutely so. In speaking with all of our training partners, it's been. It's been a better than average spring for everybody. And again, think about it if you're if you're if you're a mom with two teenagers who play hockey, yet get drag when train, you know. And speaking of the MOMS, let's touch on the fourth and final aspect here. On your about US paids, you have a hockey mom society. Now there's definitely some moms going to be listening at home. Can you talk about why they want to become a part of this society? Yeah, so funny enough that the core of our group is really is really a hockey MOMS. They run the there typically the backbones next to the coaches of the teams in the programs out there. And you know, I'd love to say it was my idea, but it wasn't. We back two years ago, I think it was, we launched national hockey mom day, which is the second Friday of every January, you know, just to give love to the moms and give them recognition of what they do for youth hockey players, and we brought on two amazing hockey MOMS to, you know, run run that and they decided. You know what, I think we should rebrand this. We should start a hockey mom society. We should really just a supportive group and they we do a lot of giveaways. They you know, we've run an adopt a hockey player senior which went national. You know, it do a lot of stuff justest that keep people smiling and maybe distracted for an hour a day. I haven't spent too much time on that, but I know it's a it's a facebook page and the one thing I've noticed, at least with the EHL, is hockey MOMS love facebook. It seems like it's definitely their home, especially in between periods. I don't know what it is, but I just I always noticed the MOMS in the stands for us in between periods the first thing they do is their head in to facebook. So Oh, yeah, yeah, and you know, I I mentioned we've probably cross passed from the in our rink before. You're somewhat tied in with the Boston junior range or any one of our teams. You talked about what it's like where you're tied in already with them. Sure, so we only the store that's in breakaway with the home of the the Rangers, and through that we've gotten to know the program you know, coach DiCaprio, coach Akun a coin, they've been great. We have five or six guys each year working in the shop and in our warehouse. So we've gotten to know him and ended up turning into a billet family for for one of our we fortunate. The kid is is absolutely amazing, but Latvian player who who played for the EHLP team here in they've it's they become big brothers to my boys. You know, it's it's been a phenomenal experience in coach has done a great job growing that program and it's it's it's, you know, looking at when I was a kid. My kids are spoiled there. They're around great hockey players. They're always, you know, scoot around the rink, and then that's because the the ranges programs just it's phenomenal. And this is kind of a tough question to ask because I knew we were going to get to the billet point at some point and obviously one thing that have a lot of our teams are asking me as a League official this year is our other teams struggling to find billets because obviously when you have a pandemic like this, one of the toughest things, I'm sure you're thinking about it, is how do you welcome somebody new into your household? Are you planning on doing it again? And really,...

...what with the biggest besides being the big brothers big brother for your young kids, what were the other big takeaways that you had? Yeah, being a billet family was the greatest experience we had last year. If with the pandemic, you know, you have to watch, watch what's happening out there, but I don't see it having an effect on on what we're doing. You know, our our billet son, is like family toss and it'd be like having a cousin or a nephew come come stay in play it. We've stayed in touch with him and his family throughout their phenomenal people use a phenomenal kid. So we looked out in you know, if anybody is struggling with that, you know it's it's worth it. You know, take the jump and just do it. You know, it's the biggest thing for us was was having that interaction and, you know, seeing the growth of a player, seeing the growth of a program, getting to know the boys in the team and you know, it's just it's great experience all around. And you mentioned you own the shop there. We touched on all the different aspects of the penalty boxcom and and what you got going on there with a different facebook groups and stuff. Is there one l element that you have to focus on more than anything else or you know, where do you you wake up? Where do you start your day? Where do you begin? Well, this morning for thirty am at breakaways Jim and then you just break it up throughout the day two different different topics and in burning fires and things like that. We do have a lot going on, you know. We also, funny enough, of the past year have have taken over three different single product brands, scubb boots, hockey tool and odor gladiator, and that's been an adventure getting those products up and outs market. So it's just, you know, making sure your time management is is superb, I guess it has to be, and making sure you stick to it. And you seem like an individual who will take on any challenge. Even if you fail, it's not going to keep you from trying something else. has there ever been a challenge, though? That's got you've come across when you said to yourself, Guy, I probably shouldn't have, should have taken this one on. Yeah, every single one of them. But you know, we I was taught very early on by CE mentors that if you take quitting off the table, then there's no other result but success. So as long as long as you're out there and you put your head down and your you're creating good habits, you sharpen your grit and you you just don't quit ever, then you know you'll be all right. You know you may have to stop, but it's certainly take quitting off the table. And it seems like for you you just go from one one to the next. You know what one, you know, I'm raising money for this, to the next one and with we go back. You mentioned it a little bit earlier. You worked with sparks to get face shields. I'm sure that's an idea that you probably just thought of one random night and then all of a sudden it came together like that. You kind of take us through that process. Yeah, so sparks actually, when they launched the program, reached out and said Hey, we're doing this. Do you think that you can get the idea out of the community and I said Yeah, we can do that, but I think if we if we throw a fundraiser, I think we'd be able to purchase a heck of a lot of masks and get them out there and donate them to local hospitals. So why don't we do that? and Said and we did, and all we had to do was let people know within the hockey community what we were doing and why it was important, and everybody stepped up in our team at the penalty box is, you know, it is the best there. You know, everybody from our warehouse staff to or Admin teams for marketing to WHO, you know, are opsates. Without them in place, none of this would happen because, you know, I come up with a stupid idea, go...

...out and do it and they have to deal with it and they always do and we do do it together and I can't say enough about them. But the sparks was prime example of that. They all pushed it, they all made it happen. It was it was really special. And speaking of the next challenge coming up this week, YOU'RE gonna Walk Seventy Five Miles and twenty four hours. was was this your idea was this something that the team came up with should be fun. So we losing or are our biggest events this this spring and summer was was tough to swallow and we realize that, you know, no matter what we do with going to the same group of people and having raffles or having different things, you know, different smaller events, we're never going to be able to get back the funds that that we've lost with this. But you know what, if, maybe, if we do something crazy, maybe if we put ourselves on the line, we'll be able to raise some extra funds and make it happen. So the ideas always been out there. You know, it's a it's a challenge that was put on by an x navcl called Tom. His name is Tom Shay in his his whole thing is it's the challenge is simple, but it's not easy and it's going to test your mental stamina. And if we can do those things, the community needs us to to do everything we can. And you're going to start in the laymouth and go through twelve different towns. Can you talk about how you pick this route and why he did this in particular? God, so, I grew up in Maryon and that's where we're ending up, which is just off Cape Cod. I have a cousin who is a WHO's a southwest pilot and was a top gun in the navy and he is a phenomenal logistics guy. and Larry Palmer, he he put the route together. He, you know, went out there, he mapped it, he put the mileage together, the guide books, he worked with the rinks and I don't I don't know what. I would have just walked, but he he put together the whole logistics plan there. They have a support staff out there. In we go by I believe it's five different rinks. You know, in walk through and you know, end up at Travis for a rank down at Taylor Academy, where I grew up skating, and travis is a great friend and it's just meaningful to get to that point. I don't want to let him down, that's for sure. And while you're doing this, so you're going to have a team kind of following you on the path as now this is going to work? Yeah, so they've in URV set up and they will. They have different points that they'll drive to make sure you know, I'm on task, on time and we're in, we're moving, so they're again. Larry is an amazing human he's done amazing work on this and in his life and I'm grateful for him and and the rest of the team that it's going to be there. It's it's going to be interesting and for for those that want to help support you know on this journey, you're taken off on Friday at noon, where could they donate or show their support? Dirt? So just go to penalty box foundation DOT ORG. In under the events there's the seventy five and twenty four link and you should be able to donate through there or contact Larry his cell phone, his emails there and well, we'll love to see you come see me, hauble, through your town, and that's why we wanted to have this podcast when we did, because it's going to we're going to release this podcast the day before you take off and, as I started to mention there before, it just seems like with you, drew, you kind of just go from one challenge to the next. So let's not go too far. I had you still have to watch seventy five miles and twenty four hours, but but after that, what's next? Yeah, so we are. We are eyeballing a long swim. So I'll...

...not say more at this point because we don't know how it's going to go. But you know, it's a I grew up on Buzzard's Bay and my mom one side of Buzzer's Bay and all of my families from the other. So we're kind of eyeballing a little event that may involve a swim across across the bay. Well, Hey, I appreciate you coming on the podcast. This is something that I definitely wanted to make happen as soon as possible. Obviously our new presenting sponsor for the PODCAST, but, as I've been saying, it's I wanted to be more of a partnership and I want people in the Eh Shel to look up the penalty found date box about nation and see all the great avenues that you guys provide. But you know, whether it's the facebook pages or or people that have suffered a cash off like event, it's the everything that you guys do is it's says community, community, community, and I'm just so looking forward to working together. Yeah, and it. Truly appreciate it. You know what you've done here with with the ehl in the team. It's been phenomenal to see over the last couple of years and this show has progressed into something that that's I love it. You know, every every week it's said it's great to see what's coming out. So you're doing a phenomenal job there, man, you really are. Well, thanks for coming on the PODCAST. We'll have to have you on again soon, probably after we start this season. How about that? Great thanks, man, back to the ice here. Appreciate it for sure. Thanks for listening to the e show. Learn more at Eastern Hockey League Dot Org and follow us on Facebook, twitter, instagram and Youtube. Also, be sure to subscribe and get notified when next week's PODCAST is released.

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