We interviewed hockey dad Jim Loughran, who created the sporting material using his construction background, combined with input from engineers and feedback from hockey coaches. His first prototype was “more like a giant cutting board,” that he’s worked on improving for the last two years. The result, he said, is the “closest thing to natural ice and offers the least amount of resistance for ice skating.”
The Long Island, New York-based business, that has clients ranging in age from three to 45, has ambitious plans for future expansion. “I have some real interesting projects I will be working on and will be launching some new products to help grow the company and ‘Bring the Rink Home’ to the ice skating community,” Loughran said.
Here’s what else he told us about…
How the Idea Came About
I worked my whole life in the construction industry and being a hockey dad in the Northeast, I would make an annual attempt each passing January to build an outdoor rink, praying for freezing weather that maybe lasted three weeks if I was lucky. After a few years, I got fed up and started researching alternative options using polymers as a skating surface and it just took off from there.
Where You Can Buy Their Products
Our products are currently available on our website, and we just partnered with a prominent hockey retailer, which we will be announcing shortly. We also have some exciting opportunities in the works for 2017 that I think will help take our company to the next level.
How His Appearance on the ‘Tank’ Came About
Several family members kept egging me on to give it a try as they thought it would be a great opportunity and experience for me. So I filled out the website questionnaire and emailed it in, not thinking much would come from it, and was quite surprised when I got the call. I sent in my video pitch and was able to make the final cut to give me a shot. I was very grateful for the opportunity.
Nerves Once Inside the ‘Tank’
I would have to say I was more excited than nervous. The producers and staff from the show do such a great job in preparing you for your pitch, that you’re just totally pumped once you’re ready to hit the hallway. It’s such a fun experience to get a chance like that and there’s no turning back once they start the countdown.
His Hockey Background in Queens, New York
I grew up a diehard NY Rangers fan in Queens, New York, and played hockey after school every day. I traveled to the park in the winter when the pond would freeze over and played hockey up until high school. Later on, when I started raising my family, I introduced my son to the sport and got into coaching as the passion for the game was still there.
The Pros & Cons to Operating a Business on Long Island
I have to say it’s been great starting my business on Long Island and I don’t think people realize how much hockey has grown in this area with more and more local players reaching the pro ranks every year. I guess the only real negative was back in 2012 when we got hit by Hurricane Sandy just as I went full time with my business. That was a true test for me, one that I’m glad we were able to survive, though a lot of people are still picking up the pieces four years later.
Other sports products that have entered the Tank :
Gladiator Lacrosse entered the Shark Tank in Season 7. Heavy interviewed the high schooler who started the company.Click here to read more
The Natural Grip has enjoyed staggering growth since Season 6's Shark Tank deal. We interviewed owner Ashley Drake about new developments and her future plans.Click here to read more
Tank products for the holidays:
The Mensch on a Bench, the Jewish version of Elf on a Shelf, enters the Shark Tank on December 12. Heavy interviewed creator Neal Hoffman.Click here to read more
Tipsy Elves, a company specializing in ugly Christmas sweaters re-enters the Shark Tank on November 21. They first appeared on Season 5.Click here to read more
GeekMyTree, a company that makes Christmas lights with special effects, entered the Shark Tank in Season 7. Heavy interviewed its owner.Click here to read more
Eve Drop, a company with an easy way to display Christmas lights, debuted on Shark Tank on December 12. Heavy interviewed company president Nathan Shaffer.Click here to read more