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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA hockey merchandise hits bookstore shelves

Alex Kulpinski
Alex Kulpinski / Arizona Daily Wildcat Daniel Desrochers, a chemistry freshman, checks out the hockey merchandise after class on Monday at the University of Arizona Bookstore. Daniel is a hockey fan and is looking to buy an Arizona jersey.

For the first time, officially licensed Arizona hockey merchandise is available for students and the general public to purchase.

Kurtis Durfey, the marketing specialist for UA Bookstores, said it was exciting to have the ice hockey team affiliated with the UA.

“We want to promote attendance and promote the Wildcat ice hockey experience,” he said.

With the team’s name change from the Icecats to the university-affiliated Wildcats, all new products are available for fans to buy and vendors to sell.

“If I’m an approved vendor through licensing and trademarks, (the merchandise) can be sold anywhere,” said the director of hockey operations Cody Nicholls.

Icecat merchandise used to be sold only at the arena. Now there are 338 approved vendors who have the opportunity to sell items associated with the UA, said Alixe Holcomb, assistant director of marketing and licensing at Arizona Athletics. Because special requirements are involved with hockey merchandise, the club has specifically identified six vendors to sell its products.

When the Icecats were coached by Leo Golembiewski, they independently produced their own trademarked merchandise, said assistant coach Dave Dougall who coached for Golembiewski.

While the team is now a university-affiliated club, they still have to generate their own form of revenue, and it hurts them losing that stream of income, Holcomb said.

To counter the loss in revenue, the Wildcats’ merchandise sales have been set up in a model similar to ZonaZoo.

According to Holcomb, a standard royalty of 10 percent is placed on any university-related merchandise. Yet the hockey team, like ZonaZoo, has an additional two percent placed on the licensing, and that money is sent directly to the club, Holcomb said. The remaining 10 percent is sent to the university and split 50-50 between the student union and the athletic department, just like the standard royalties.

“We built in that 12 percent this year to help them with some of the cost they have had to incur basically starting back up,” Holcomb said.

While excitement over the new merchandise has been high, especially at the games, most of the hockey items are generic university shirts or foam claws.

Sophomore Jarrett Bunnin, who sells UA Bookstores apparel at the games, said an $80 non-stitched replica jersey has been by far the most popular, and they were almost sold out during the Wildcats’ game against Weber State University.

Bunnin added that all of the new Arizona gear has been very popular during games at the Tucson Convention Center.

“The first couple games it was really busy,” Bunnin said. “We made over a couple thousand (dollars) at the first game, which is ridiculous for any kind of event.”

However, Dougall said he did not see that level of enthusiasm at the main bookstores.

He said this was mainly because the new hockey brand has not spread throughout campus yet.

Dougall said some of the bookstore’s employees don’t even know about the hockey merchaindise yet.

“We’d love to get some more ice hockey fan-specific shirts created,” Durfey said. “But there is a good process involved in getting work approved, so the ones that we see at the beginning of the season were things that we could get approved quickly.”

In addition to the shirts, more jerseys are also in production, but Durfey does not know when either of these new products will become available to the public.

“People support the University of Arizona,” said head coach Sean Hogan said. “We have great colors, we have great merchandise. So anything new that comes from (the UA) usually gets bought out pretty quick.”

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