Next Generation Hockey

Sponsored Content with: BDC

Most professional hockey players can remember learning how to skate long before they had even started preschool. To make it to the big leagues, they go on to spend countless hours practising and perfecting their skills. ​

A former pro himself, Ottawa’s Derek Miller knows firsthand just how important proper training is. His background in the sport led him off the ice and into a power play on Dragons’ Den. ​

Miller is the CEO of Next Generation Hockey, which offers on-ice development programs as well as a unique training method with its BLADE Skating Treadmill. ​

BLADE is similar to a running treadmill, only much larger with a rotating slat belt of synthetic ice. Athletes lace up their skates, attach a lightweight harness, then hit their stride and feel the glide while coaches analyze their form and provide feedback in real time. ​

With hockey being Canada’s sport, and ice time being expensive and scarce, the potential for BLADE sales is huge. While it can be used to refine top players’ technique, it’s also an effective way for beginners to learn how to skate and for recreational players to up their game.​

The Dragons recognized the business’ promise, and Miller scored a deal. ​

Possibly, Miller’s stick handling could have been even more effective with the help of a coach outside of the arena. ​

“Derek’s pitch got off to a great start with an impressive and entertaining demo,” says Robert Duffy, Managing Director of Growth and Transition Capital for the Business Development Bank of Canada. “But my heart went out to him when he didn’t respond to Arlene [Dickinson]’s concerns about the payback period. As an entrepreneur preparing for discussions with financial providers, you need to think about the situation from their perspective and anticipate potential lines of questioning, especially around financial metrics.​

“You need to be literate in relevant financial matters,” Duffy adds. “This is an aspect I would never recommend outsourcing or delegating.”​

To get a command of financial management and metrics, BDC offers coaching for small businesses. Having access to the insight and experience of qualified advisors can help entrepreneurs anticipate how capital providers will respond and react. It goes hand in hand with start-up financing for the best possible chances of success.​

Fostering key business relationships is also crucial, something that helped Miller’s shot in the Den. ​

“I have to give Derek credit,” Duffy says. “These relationships can be every bit as important as customer relationships, and in Derek’s case, it was fundamental to the offer he received.”​

This is paid content provided by or produced on behalf of BDC.

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