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Don Simmons shutting down March 30


Snowman30
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Heard the news a few days ago Don Simmons Sports is shutting down. Right now everything on sale, Mark's retiring and the business is ending for good on March 30th. Sad day, my 1st every set of pads Forrester air tecs came from Simmons in the early 90's. I remember when I went in there for the 1st time, I honestly thought  I had gone to goalie equipment heaven. Back in the early  90's they were the only goalie equipment dedicated store in the world. I loved getting there catalogues in the mail every year, my parents use to wait for my wish list when there arrived. I used to make trips down there when I need new gear or sticks as they were the place to go. It's a sad day to see them go, but I wish Mark and all the staff all the best in retirement and the future.

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I know that it had become de facto conversation to dump on Simmons for this and that, but to have such an effect on the industry through many generations without being a massive 'nameplate' is an extremely impressive accomplishment. Although I cannot recall what exactly, I know that I have had a few pieces of gear in my life that came by way of a phone call to Simmons and a UPS package a week or two later. Without first-hand experience, I cannot comment on their house brand items or Boddam-built stuff, but I don't believe for a moment that they would have lasted this long in such a finicky community without offering a quality product. 

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1975 to 2019, there were the 1st original goalies only store that sold strictly goalie equipment. Honestly without them I don't think we would have seen the other stores that sell strictly goalie equipment open. I would love to make one last trip down to the store. They had some amazing goalie memorabilia on the walls. 

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This sums up my thoughts pretty well. 80% of my gear from age 10-college was purchased here. Last purchases were a 590 C&A and Itech ( 8000? ) the summer before I headed to college.

I respect Simmons for trying to challenge the move off shore, but I hate what it manifested into. Their way of communicating got hokey and the Vaughn bashing / rip off was a bit over the top. 

But I’ll never forgot things like the UPS truck making it to my house in a blizzard to drop off my Helite IV Kolzkg pads 

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We live only a short 20 minute drive away from the store. I'd go in when I was a Atom thru Junior and just go nuts. So many brands, and they'd always set me up with exactly what I needed. Never missed once and every piece of gear except for my mask came from them for 10 years.

Better days for goalie gear and fond childhood memories for sure. 

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6 minutes ago, Pauly35or00 said:

This bums me out so much. I loved going into that store and just shooting the shit with staff. I'm curious if this is a direct result of the big boys finally getting their poop together and offering a decent quality Sr. line at a good price point.

Are you close enough to go inquire?

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  • 1 month later...

Somehow just saw that they were going out of business — came to commiserate.

Like many of you, I have pretty mixed feelings about Don Simmons. I was obsessed with their catalogs in the late 90's / early 00's — if you'd given me a choice between a Playboy magazine and a Don Simmons catalog, I probably would have gone with the Simmons catalog. I looked at them until they were worn-in to the point of falling apart. I'd pour over them in the back of my parents' car on road trips, running through my (mental) gear customizer and imagining how I would design every set if I played for each NHL team (wasn't childhood before iPhones the best?). 

My family took a trip to Toronto ~2000 (I was 11 or 12) and my Dad and I took some time to head over to the store one afternoon. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Every inch of the floors was covered with pads, and there was an endless array of gloves, blockers, and masks on the walls. I don't believe we even bought anything — I was just happy to be surrounded by so much gear.

So much of my early gear was Simmons — I had some Boddam pads (I forget which line), and the Simmons Platinum gloves with the Kolzig-like stars on them — that was my first "real" glove, and I carried it around the house like Linus with his blanket. Later, I wore the Simmons Excalibur line (the one designed to look like the old Vaughn Visions). I also had Simmons pants/chests, and a Van Velden Simmons mask. Ordered many Heaton sticks and skates, too. When I grew out of my Excalibur gear, I ordered my custom Koho 580s from Simmons.

I drifted away from Simmons after that. They stopped carrying the brands I wanted to wear. Once I was older, I didn't like that they copied other brands' graphics. And once I got online, I saw lots of negative posts from Don Simmons about Vaughn, and I recall Don Simmons was always censored on the goalie boards with a bunch of asterisks. I don't exactly recall what the story was, but it definitely had to do with them being over-protective of their image in a way that seemed ridiculously petty for a business. Hopefully someone can remind me what the deal was. Either way, it became all too easy to become disenchanted with the brand over the years.

Not surprised they're closing their doors — but they had a great run, and for a while, they were the undisputed kings of online / mail-order goalie retail. And they certainly supplied me with a lot of happy memories. Pretty sure I have some old catalogs in my childhood bedroom at my parents house... might have to dig those up.

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@stackem30 right on.  90s playboys had too many fake boobs.  Simmons/all hockey catalogs.  Boston hockey company(Tons of Brown gear). Ocean hockey, Great Skate.  Del Val hockey more of a local one for me. But solid catalog.  Funny thing about del Val  they put out a great catalog....Koho Heaton Vaughn etc all the big boys of the time. Had unique gear pics.  I finally got a chance to go to the shop.  It was in a rink and they was like 6 sets of pads some gloves. And not much else. I thought I was walking into a place like Simmons.  I realized quickly it was an order in place. 

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9 hours ago, Mike24 said:

@stackem30 right on.  90s playboys had too many fake boobs.  Simmons/all hockey catalogs.  Boston hockey company(Tons of Brown gear). Ocean hockey, Great Skate.  Del Val hockey more of a local one for me. But solid catalog.  Funny thing about del Val  they put out a great catalog....Koho Heaton Vaughn etc all the big boys of the time. Had unique gear pics.  I finally got a chance to go to the shop.  It was in a rink and they was like 6 sets of pads some gloves. And not much else. I thought I was walking into a place like Simmons.  I realized quickly it was an order in place. 

70's Playboy is where it's at — I've bought a few at thrift stores.

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20 minutes ago, Lucky Pucker said:

Is 45-50 years about how long it takes for pages to un-stick then...?

:giggle:

🤮It's easy for a young man like me to forget that Playboy was front-and-center game-time material back in the day, and not just some novelty you find at a hip bookstore.

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