Wayne Gudbranson starts hockey training company
The Gudbranson family is well known in Ottawa’s tech industry and by hockey fans.
By Jacob Serebrin
Wayne Gudbranson is the president and CEO of the Branham Group, which is famous for its annual rankings of Canadian tech companies, while his son Erik has made a name for himself as a member of the NHL’s Florida Panthers.
Now, the family is trying to combine the two through a new business venture called Gudbranson Hockey.
After coaching for years and watching his children come up through the various levels of minor hockey, Mr. Gudbranson, who serves as the new company’s president, said he realized that minor hockey teams are too focused on winning, at the expense of developing players’ skills.
And that’s something he wants to change.
“The development of hockey players in inconsistent,” he said. “Coaches don’t have a lot of innovative tools to use.”
And, he said, even coaches who are good hockey players might not be good teachers.
“Some of them don’t have the teaching ability,” Mr. Gudbranson said, “even if they have the knowledge.”
The company’s approach is based around Power Edge Pro, an on-ice training device, which allows hockey players to practise power skating with a puck and replaces the traditional cones used in hockey training.
Gudbranson Hockey has an exclusive license for the system in the Ottawa region.
Power Edge Pro has been used by the last two teams to win the Memorial Cup, the national junior hockey championship, according to Mr. Gudbranson.
The company plans to offer training camps to players during the spring and summer. During the hockey season, they will lease their system to minor hockey associations and provide specialized coaching sessions for teams.
Leasing the system for a year, which includes 10 hours of instruction, will cost a minor hockey association around $10 per player and will allow any coach in the association to use it.
Training for teams by a Gudbranson instructor will cost $250 an hour. According to Mr. Gudbranson, specialized power-skating instructors charge a similar rate.
“It’s very competitive,” he said.
While the company is still very new, they’ve already put on their first training camp, with Erik and his younger brother Alex Gudbranson, who plays for the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and is currently at the Panthers’ prospect camp, in attendance.
According to Mr. Gudbranson, the two will be more involved during the off-season camps. But, he said that Erik has had a large role in developing the company’s training plan.
“He has a very good idea of the calibre and requirements to play at different levels,” said Mr. Gudbranson.
The company has also announced their first leasing agreement, with the Blackburn Minor Hockey Association.
The company is currently in “sales mode,” and trying to find more customers, Mr. Gudbranson said. They’re also searching for more qualified instructors.
And, he said, the company is already thinking about future expansion beyond the Ottawa region.