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Looking for cricket gear in Vancouver? Good luck

Like every sport, cricket requires specialized equipment: bats, balls, wickets, padding and helmets. Finding that equipment in Vancouver is a…

By Grant Burns , in Beyond the Boundary , on March 17, 2010 Tags: , , , , , ,

"The Cricket Ball", Swamibu, © 2010 Flickr, courtesy Creative Commons

Like every sport, cricket requires specialized equipment: bats, balls, wickets, padding and helmets.

Finding that equipment in Vancouver is a challenge.

Vancouver’s oldest sporting goods retailer, Abbie’s Sports Shop, does not carry cricket equipment of any kind. Chris Collins, Abbie’s owner and manager, said he tried stocking the gear about six years ago. “One of our boxing suppliers had some so I tried it out, but we couldn’t get rid of it,” said Collins.

Twice a year, Collins visits the Canadian Sporting Goods Association trade show in Vancouver, hunting for gear to add to his store’s selection. “You never see it,” said Collins. “You think it’d be more popular.”

Considering some of the larger clubs in Vancouver boast over 100 members and that there are two cricket leagues and 46 teams in the Lower Mainland, the Metro Vancouver Cricket League and the British Columbia Mainland Cricket League, it is somewhat surprising that cricket gear isn’t flying off shelves.

Where are the stores? A quick Google search for “cricket equipment vancouver” turns up some surprises.

The second result links to a Craigslist advertisement for SinghSportingGoods.com But the link fails. However, a Surrey address, 8198 132nd Street, is provided. Here’s what it looks like:

© Google 2010

Obviously, that is not a retail storefront. It’s a house. Unfortunately, the mystery shrouding this retailer remains unsolved as voice messages left with the vendor were not returned.

That one of the only contacts for cricket equipment in Metro Vancouver operates out of a household points to something mentioned by Chris Collins. When it comes to getting cricket equipment in Canada, “lots of people here have connections overseas, like in Pakistan,” said Collins.

Players and teams often get their gear through personal relationships. Nitish Khanna, a second year chemical engineering at the University of British Columbia, told me he just brought his bat with him when he moved to Vancouver from Mumbai, India. “I didn’t have room for anything else,” said Khanna. But he knows someone who is heading to Pakistan soon and will be bringing back some new gear.

Jeff Ryan and the Meraloma Cricket Club do not rely on such nebulous connections. They have contracts with two companies – Gabba Sporting Products in Australia and John Newbery Ltd in England – and buys its bats, balls, pads, helmets, nets and even artificial turf from them.

But if you are looking for team and are worried about being without equipment, fear not! Most teams have extras they’re willing to share.