National ice hockey player Zechariah Thomas is basking in the growth of his company, Swift Hockey, which he founded two years ago.
The 20-year-old, who was born in Jamaica and had moved to Canada as a teenager, started the company, which sells hockey sticks, with Can$100,000 he earned through an e-commerce company he operated when he was just 18.
Swift Hockey targets the global hockey stick market with a brand that sells for just about half the price of name brand sticks used in hockey leagues around the world. In the six months between December 2022 and May 2023, the company sold more than 3,000 sticks, grossing upwards of Can$200,000 and netting a profit of close to Can$100,000.
That success earned Thomas a place on the widely acclaimed CBC TV series Dragon’s Den (the equivalent of ABC’s Shark Tank show), on which Jamaican-born millionaire Wes Hall was present. Thomas impressed all the panellists who then expressed an interest in his company, each offering more than Can$70,000 for a share in his company.
In the end, Hall paid Can$70,000 for a 20 per cent share of the business, having been enticed by Thomas’s presentation to him of a Jamaican ice hockey jersey on the programme. Thomas said he was encouraged by his mom, as well as Jamaica Ice Hockey President Don Anderson, to present the jersey to Hall who immediately donned the jersey and wore it for the rest of the show.
Thomas said he expects his business to be even better after Hall’s investment, stating, “For sure it is going to be crazy. I know we are dealing with something kind of great in the sense that our business has the opportunity, if handled correctly, to compete with the bigger brands in the business”.
In the meantime, he is looking for the next opportunity to represent the country of his birth, having been a member of the team that competed in the recent three-match series against Puerto Rico in New York and the LATAM cup in 2021.