Ex-NHL player Hedican easing life for club teams
NEW YORK (AP) Logistics are tough enough for the professionals, a daily struggle to get everyone and everything in line, whether you are the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings or the rest of the NHL teams.
The challenges can be a whole lot tougher when the games are played at the neighborhood hockey rink or local ball field.
Now there is help.
It's called RosterBot, an app that eliminates the headaches of which players are available on any given day, who is supplying the snacks and any other trouble spot that arises for kids and adults playing team sports. The idea is to help organizers put their focus where it is most needed - the games.
''If we can make the coaches' and the parents' and people's lives more efficient through utilizing our app and organizing their teams, it's a huge win for us,'' said former NHL player Bret Hedican, a co-founder of RosterBot. ''We know that this is important, so we redid our app.''
The app is designed to take what the company calls ''the friction'' out of planning for soccer moms, Little League dads and beer hockey league players.
Hedican says the app has tens of thousands of users and is in 60 countries, used by 350 sports and activities. The company, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, recently raised $1 million in funding to support the relaunch six years after it was introduced. A similar service, TeamSnap based in Colorado, began in 2009.
''We have grown organically because we're really built by athletes,'' Hedican said. ''Everybody in our office has been a team player and played in team sports and understands the pain points of organizing teams.''
The free service is aimed at eliminating hours of prep work and dozens of emails. The app reduces the work to a single email.
''It has simplified the management of my lacrosse team,'' said Jaime Vargas of the junior lacrosse U11 Gold Bears from Olney, Maryland.
Vic ''Trader'' Shoji understands what this has meant to his team in Vancouver.
''If it hadn't been for RosterBot, I'm pretty sure the Hamburger Hockey League would have folded by now,'' he said.
RosterBot started in 2008, the creation of Ian Bell, a goalie playing in multiple adult leagues.
''It was absolutely a thing of necessity for Ian,'' said Hedican, who spent 17 seasons in the NHL and was a member of the 2006 Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes. ''He played in four different hockey leagues in a week. He is a goalie, so you can imagine a goalie playing on four different teams and organizing that. Hockey is probably one of the hardest things to organize. If you can get hockey right, you can do anything.''
Hedican's playing days ended in 2009 when he was with the Anaheim Ducks. Now he works as a radio analyst for San Jose Sharks games. He has been married to Olympic figure skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi since 2000, and the couple has two daughters.
His latest venture is helping him in other ways - assisting the coach of his 10-year-old daughter's soccer team.
''He quit coaching for a couple of years,'' Hedican said, ''because he hated organizing teams and doing all the side stuff. ... For me, the brain kind of clicks that if this guy wasn't a coach because of the organization of it, that's a loss.''