Sportsnet Reporters Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek welcomed Verbero Owner Andy Sutton on 31 Thoughts: The Podcast to discuss his life after hockey and how he’s enhancing player efficiency with Verbero
For hockey fans worldwide, 31 Thoughts: The Podcast is a weekly must listen, thanks in large part to the extensive hockey coverage provided by hosts Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek.
This week Verbero Owner Andy Sutton had an opportunity to join the insiders to talk hockey, retirement from the game, and of course, his business with Verbero.
Friedman and Marek first gained knowledge of Sutton’s post-playing career, musing at the former National Hockey League defender’s self-sustaining ways on his homestead in Fallbrook, California.
“Post-retirement, the whole thing has been a massive process towards getting to know myself again - maybe even for the first time in the absence of the thing that defined me most, which is what I think most guys struggle with,” Sutton began.
“What the homestead has done for me is it’s taken me back to process... It is therapeutic. Any time you can focus on intimate details of things that are holistic, you have a real opportunity to connect yourself to that process. In that regard, I think you connect deeper to yourself and other people.”
The conversation moved on to Sutton’s acquisition of Verbero and, given Marek’s fascination for hockey gear, how the company will be modifying equipment in the future.
“I bought the brand Verbero in December and started to really put things back together,” Sutton told.
“I think the ways in which things are going to change is just optimizing the efficiency and performance of the players. The players are doing things that 10 years ago we never thought were possible. The creativity of the game is through the roof and we’re going to see more of that. As a brand mission with Verbero, we’re going to make sure we can support that by giving players tools to make themselves even more efficient and productive in their game.”
Sutton, known as a physical defender during his playing days, described the gear technology forthcoming from Verbero for the pros.
“One of the IPs (Intellectual Properties) that I’ve secured is for this suspension technology. Effectively, I have the right to create anything with a rigid outer body that has a radius significant enough that it can support a webbed membrane," said Sutton.
“Think about a shin guard, for example. The outside of the shin guard is typically plastic and all one finish. We’re going to be 3-D printing these one-off pieces for guys and it’s going to be a fully-ventilated and ultralight shin guard system, which we’re also going to be doing as a full custom.
“Whether you’re a shot blocker or you’re a speed guy or you have an injury, we’re going to be able to create a fully custom solution that’s more comfortable, more ergonomic, that’s definitely ventilated and ties into a base layer strategy.”
Verbero’s Mercury line is identified by its equipment enhancements. The V900 Composite Skate is a one-piece carbon boot, the V350 Composite Stick is the lightest on the market and also has a plethora of customizable options.
But Sutton explained that some exciting technology systems are still being developed by Verbero Chief Operating Officer Neil Wensley.
“We’ve got some really incredible things we’re working on for skates that we feel like is going to be a real paradigm shift,” said Sutton. “And then that protection system I mentioned, it applies to the thigh pad, it applies to hip pads, it’ll apply to potentially shoulder caps and elbow caps. We really feel like that will be the base frame of what we’re able to do… The key emphasis for Verbero is to try to be at the forefront of innovation and try to make sure that we’re only putting out products that are superior to the ones previous.
“One of the tag lines of Verbero is ‘Be Different.’ We’re going to be different in a lot of ways.”