Hockey Monkey – Not just a song by the Zambonis
Written: Jun 30, 2005 (Updated Dec 13, 2005)
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A little trivia here, which came first the Zambonis hit song Hockey Monkey or the e-tailers website?
Why I picked hockeymonkey.com
Alright, I dont buy skates online without trying them on first. I was in the market for a new pair of 750 goalers when my steel had run a bit thin on the old pair. Working in a hockey store at the time, I was able to order myself a pair of skates directly from Graf for 90% of the wholesale price. Its a little perk that all the manufacturers provide at some level. They figure if youre wearing their gear that you will be more likely to promote it.
I ordered my new 750s in a wide to replace the old pair. The only catch to the great deal that Graf was giving me was that I had to order and pay for them directly through the manufacturer. So I ordered and waited . . . and waited . . . and waited. Finally, many months later I called Graf for the umpteenth time to see what the delay was and they informed me that they hadnt built my skates yet. I cancelled the order thinking I would have to settle for some Kohos instead.
I spent some time on the net and found that Hockey Monkey had some Graf 7-50 goalers on clearance. This was a skate that had been built exclusively for them by Graf. I was a little worried about how this skate might be sized up. The boot was more like a 727 player skate in appearance. I called Hockey Monkey to get some sizing information. This skate was on clearance for about the same price that I was going to pay for skates directly from Graf.
The experience with hockeymonkey.com
I called the toll free number on the website to get some info on the skates. Graf makes a huge number of differently shaped skates so it was important for me to know which last these goalers were built on. I called in the morning and was informed that the goalie specialist wasnt available but would give me a call back shortly. I waited . . . and waited . . . and waited some more. Finally, with their store closing shortly, I decided that I had waited long enough and called back.
I was informed that the goalie specialist had left for the day. Was there anyone else that could answer my question there? Nope. Not a great start.
I called back the next day and was fortunate enough to contact the elusive goalie specialist. I asked him which skate last the 7-50 was built on. He couldnt tell me exactly which skate it was based on. Strike two? I guessed that the boot was actually a cut down 727 design and tried on a pair locally. I figured there wasnt much chance that they were wider than the 727, so I would risk ordering them.
While the website indicated that they did have a pair of these in size that I needed a 9.5 wide, the so-called goalie specialist suggested that I call back to make sure that they were indeed available. Apparently there have been numerous issues with orders placed on the web not actually being in stock. Thus I suggest that you call if you are ordering something.
The skates were in stock when I called. I was then informed that I should go ahead and place my order on the web. It would be easier for them that way. Sigh, customer service was certainly not a high point thus far.
I placed more order and noted that I needed to have the skates delivered in a set time frame as I was going to be out of town for a week and didnt want them sitting on the porch. I asked that they call if the skates would need to be sent three day so I could change my shipping options.
As it turned out, I ended up leaving a day later than anticipated for my trip. This turned out to be a good thing since the skates arrived a day later than I had specified. Not only did they not bother to act upon the note that I put on my order, it took hockeymonkey more than a full day to process my order. Had they gotten it out within 24-hours, there would have been no potential problem.
The skates were as expected and fit perfectly. They hadnt sharpened them which was what I had requested since I prefer to sharpen my own skates.
Hockeymonkey has a huge selection of gear. Along with Hockey Giant and 1800faceoff, they are one of the three biggest hockey retailers on the internet. They carry all the major brands of gear including, CCM, Bauer, Mission, Easton, Graf, RBK and Nike.
They also carry both inline and ice hockey gear. Further, they have separated their goalie gear into a second website called goaliemonkey. They carry all the above goalie brands along with Louisville, Sher-wood, Itech, Vaughn and Brians there.
They even have a lacrossemonkey site that carries all sort of lacrosse gear. They stock brands like Brine, Cascade, Warrior and STX here.
In all there is little or nothing that you cannot order from hockeymonkey as far as hockey gear goes.
The site is pretty simple to navigate. Part of this is the result of splitting the various major categories into unique websites. The addition of goaliemonkey and lacrossemonkey websites has made things a little easier to find.
There is a search engine built in to the site which allows you to type in an exact item. Conversely you can simply navigate by item type to compare the various models in the item you are looking for. One area that they might be able to improve this would be to list items by price rather than by brand. As it stands the site is more friendly for those looking for a specific item than for a price point.
Hockey Monkey offers team sales. Here you can order custom jerseys, weird colored helmets and pants and the sort.
The deals and steals are listed in an easy to find area marked clearance items. The prices on the site are pretty good in general. In the Clearance section there are many decent items left in odd sizes that are selling for less than the original wholesale cost. If youre looking for bargains there certainly are many to be had here.
Hockey Monkey offers free shipping on all orders over $149 except for some oversize items. They use UPS for all their shipping. They do note that it takes up to 48 hours for a ground order to ship. Personally I can attest to this and I think its just plain stupid.
Forms of Payment
Hockeymonkey takes Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover credit cards and United States Postal Service Money Orders. I tried to pay them in Confederate Dollars and they didnt take them.
Hockeymonkeys return policy is rather mediocre. They do accept returns, however customers will have to pay shipping and a restocking fee of 15%. This means if you buy something with free shipping, you end up paying the actual shipping cost, plus return postage and the 15% fee. I guess they dont want stuff back.
Further their exchange policy isnt much better. If you get a pair of skates that doesnt fit (and if you dont try them on you probably will), you end up paying shipping both ways on the exchange. Further, if you want to get a replacement item sent before they receive the one that you are returning, they will charge you an additional 5%. They excuse this with additional costs that they occur. Im not sure what sort of excuse suffices for bad customer service. You do have to call to have a Return Authorization label for your returns as well. This is apparently a scam to get you to spend the extra 5%.
Special orders and customized team items are non-returnable. This seems reasonable. Clearance items are also non-returnable. Again, no problem. However, they mention jocks and undergarments are not returnable for any reason. I would hope that defective items that arent fit for resale would be returnable, duh!
Other site features
There are some sizing charts on the website. Hockeymonkey is smart enough to know that sizing charts only provide ballpark estimates. They suggest that you try on the gear in a local store before ordering. This is always a good idea. However, the fact that they have the charts indicates that they dont care if your stuff really fits. They are after that 5 to 15% I think.
They also have an email club. This gives them the right to spam you with special sales, coupons and new item release announcements. I suppose there are some who might be interested in these things. I for one get plenty of this type of crap already.
There is also a function to track your orders. If you have cookies enabled in your browser, you can go right to the UPS page with a couple of clicks to see where your item is.
Hockeymonkey has a huge selection and very competitive pricing. Their retail store, Hawk Hockey is actually one of the better shops in the country by reputation. Located in Southern California, they have a large customer base even without the web business.
Still, prices and selection are only part of the full formula for a successful business. Their return policies could be more liberal, especially in an industry where things fit so differently from one another and fit is of major importance. This is just one major dilemma though. The biggest issue in my opinion is their lackadaisical approach to customer service.
While it is forgivable to be busy, it is unacceptable to not get back to a customer. While it is impossible to know every detail of a product it is inexcusable to not find out. I found their service to be barely acceptable in light of the very low price that I was getting on an excellent clearance item. However, had I been paying more than half price, or saving substantially less money I would have been quite disturbed.
Hockeymonkey certainly has the potential to become one of the best hockey sources on the internet. However as it stands they simply arent quite getting it done. I wont be considering them a primary source for gear in the future.
The Zambonis song which accompanied their popular video on Nickelodeon came before the hockeymonkey website.
A few of my other reviews which you might find helpful:
Battram Custom Goalie Equipment
© 2005 Scott Noble All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.
What product did you purchase or try to purchase? Goalie Skates