LaHaye Ice Center Pro Shop outfits hockey players, fans
Since the LaHaye Ice Center opened in 2006, and was renovated in 2015, it has offered a full-service Pro Shop for student-athletes as well as youth hockey players and fans of the Flames' and Lady Flames' five hockey programs.
"We have definitely grown over the last five years," Pro Shop Coordinator Ethan VanDePerre said. "Once the new hockey rink was built, the new location allowed us to put a lot more stuff in here and that's when it really took off. We used to be tucked behind the front desk so it is definitely nice to have a storefront now."
When the spring semester starts in mid-January, the Pro Shop will reopen from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. most days. It is also open on Friday and Saturday nights when Liberty's DI men's hockey team is in action.
Besides providing professional skate sharpening, the shop sells Liberty-emblazoned T-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, hats, and blankets as well as hockey equipment ranging from skates, sticks, tape, and pucks to gloves, helmets, and shoulder-, elbow-, and shin-pads, manufactured by Bauer.
"We are always researching new products and logos and trying to expand our offerings," said VanDePerre, who recently completed his master's degree in accounting. He will be moving on, replaced by ACHA DI women's hockey Assistant Coach Josh Graham when the Pro Shop reopens in January. "All the profits raised go right back to all of the Club Sports teams so it's kind of like operating a small business and we are always coming up with new ideas."
In early December, the Pro Shop launched an online portal that has T-shirts available for purchase with the Liberty brand and insignias of all 41 Club Sports.
"The online store is open to everyone; alumni, families, and friends of every single sport and the 700-plus student-athletes," added Club Sports Assistant Director of Business Operations Justin Forth, who also serves as an assistant coach on Liberty's Division I women's hockey team. "We've gotten two dozen sales in the first week and there is so much potential."
Authentic Flames and Lady Flames jerseys, sold at fair prices, are some of the most prized merchandise along with hats and sweatshirts sporting the Liberty logo.
"Hockey jerseys are pretty popular, and with the cold atmosphere at the rink, we sell a lot of hoodies," VanDePerre said.
Hockey equipment and pads can be special-ordered by members of Liberty's five hockey teams as well as Lynchburg Youth Hockey and adult league players.