For over 35 years, hockey enthusiasts in Oshawa, Ont. have seen many local hockey shops open and close its doors. Only one store has remained throughout the many years.
Crow’s Sports is owned by Oshawa resident, Dave Konarowski. He started the business with a single skate sharpening machine in his own home.
Dave brought up his kids to love the sport of hockey. His son, Jared Konarowski, runs the store now. Dave has passed down his skills for his son to carry the legacy.
Dave had a backyard homemade ice sheet his family used to play hockey and skate on. But skates used on that type of ice needs to be sharpened before going on a local rink.
Issues with Dave’s regular skate sharpening technician forced him to buy his own machine. This initiated the 35-plus years of fine experience and detail that has gone into making customers satisfied and returning for more.
“Your feet are the beginning of balance and posture. So, when your feet are positioned properly, your whole body performs better,” said Dave.
He emphasized the radius of the blade is unmatched in the skate industry. Big box stores tend to send skates that need attention to Crow’s Sports, creating good business for the shop.
“Its the greyest area in hockey, the shape of your blade,” added Dave.
Dave spent a lot of man hours perfecting his technique in skate sharpening. It is fair to call him an expert in this field.
Spending time with various skaters both professional and amateur, worked in tandem with the woodworking skills gathered throughout Dave’s previous years.
Dave does not just believe, but truly knows his skate sharpening technique is one of the best in North America, and possibly beyond the borders.
“The only continent I am not on is Antarctica, and I probably might even be on that one,” said Dave, who has sharpened skates with his technique all over the world.
Customers will travel 100 plus kilometers every two weeks just to come to Crow’s Sports for the services provided. Dave said customer satisfaction is an asset for customers to return.
The skate machine was just the beginning of Crow’s Sports.
Although skate sharpening provided by the shop is one, if not, the biggest reason for business, there is many options for goalie and player equipment for hockey. Customization is available to those willing to pay the extra dollars for anything hockey related.
There are countless amounts of goalie pads, chest protectors, skates, sticks, helmets, and accessories.
“Most of our business is done by word of mouth,” said Dave. Advertising is rare for Crow’s Sports.
A website was made for hockey enthusiasts to browse and see if there is anything that catches the eye.
Alongside new equipment and service, Crow’s Sports also has a museum-like feel throughout the store.
Ranging from very old and unique goalie masks, sticks, heritage blocker, pads, and gloves, Crow’s Sports has it all hockey.
Jared is redecorating the store with other old hockey items Crow’s feels customers would enjoy, including some very rare items.
This old equipment adds a sentimental value not many box stores carry.
Many professionals know Crow’s Sports for the reliability and attention to detail, especially when it comes to skate fitting and the radius on the blade.
Like any business it will come with obstacles that need to be overcome. For Crow’s Sports case, the big obstacle is the off season from spring to end of summer. As hockey is out of season, the business will see less work. But that never stopped the shop for the 35 years it has been around.
“Be prepared to work hard.” Dave said, adding that he would put in hours of work once the store closed each night. “You get what you put into it. If you think it is going to come to you easy, forget it.”
From fairly priced equipment to services with immense attention to detail and customer satisfaction, it is easy to see why Crow’s Sports has been around for almost four decades and will remain a go-to spot for hockey services and products for many years to come.