Jorge Alvarez wasn't a hockey fan until one of his business contacts went to work for the Vancouver Canucks.
But now the owner of Function Junction's Toad Hall Studios is printing Canuck t-shirts as fast as he can. He estimates that in the last month alone his company has provided the Canucks with about 10,000 printed t-shirts.
Alvarez and his small team have been turning around orders as quickly as possible for the Canucks as the home team battles the Nashville Predators in the NHL playoffs.
"We're the little shop that could," he said during a journey with a borrowed Whistler Cooks van along Highway 99 after delivering a load of shirts to Rogers Arena.
According to Alvarez, long days and long nights of printing shirts will continue while demand for Canuck shirts remains high.
"If they keep winning, we'll keep working," he said.
Alvarez said his relationship with the team began when Jill White left her purchasing job with Whistler Blackcomb to move to the city where she eventually landed a job with the Canucks. Whistler Blackcomb had become one of his best customers because White was impressed with how quickly Toad Hall could deliver high quality printed clothing.
White contracted Toad Hall to print stickers and when White was tasked with getting a small order of shirts on a very tight timeline, Alvarez said she called him.
"They were happy and started ordering more and more," he said.
Alvarez said he has established a reputation as a supplier who will deliver high quality clothing and printing on a tight timeline and this has served his company well with the Canucks in the playoffs.
He got a call at 2 p.m. on a Friday during the opening round against Chicago while he was on a chairlift. He took the 3,000-shirt order, called his shirt suppliers, did one run and was picking up shirts in Vancouver at 5 p.m. Two hours later, he said he was back at the studio in Whistler so his team could start printing. The order was due on Wednesday and Alvarez delivered the shirts on Monday.
"They were blown away," he said.
The orders keep coming and according to Alvarez, his company has been able to do what it has done because his suppliers, Techno Sport and Budget T's, have been able to provide him with shirts on very short notice.
The buyers with the Canucks were so happy that they gave Toad Hall Studios a hockey stick signed by all the players on the team.
"To be honest, I'm a soccer guy," said Alvarez, who is originally from Spain.
But that isn't stopping the new fan of the Canucks from hoping his team goes on to win the Stanley Cup this year and demand for the shirts he supplies remains high.
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