Former UPEI Panthers hockey forward Dave ‘Tucker’ Flanagan has hung up the skates and is now stickhandling with MJL Enterprises in Charlottetown. MJL developed a software product called I-Athlete that is currently being used by NHL teams like the Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs.
©Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Charlottetown’s Dave (Tucker) Flanagan recently signed a contract with the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.
Now, the former professional hockey player won’t be lacing up the skates with the Blackhawks but his company is helping to keep the team healthy and fit.
Flanagan is the director of business development for MJL Enterprises in Charlottetown, a company that also recently signed a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Flanagan is now experiencing hockey success off the ice with a software product called I-Athlete, a product that MJL Enterprises developed and sells, not only to National Hockey League, college and junior hockey teams but professional personal trainers as well.
I-Athlete is part of the MJL software suite of programs, allowing coaches, players, trainers, scouts, nutritionists and others to interact online with their mobile devices. It allows them to share training videos and monitor training performance among a number of other functions.
“They run the show now, those phones,’’ Flanagan said, pointing to an iPhone. “You have no idea how important they are, especially on the sports side of things.’’
Jason Macdonald, CEO and president of MJL Enterprises, said he launched the company eight years ago with the help of the provincial government’s PNP program, as well as ACOA and the NRC.
The company actually began making mobile interactive software for the automotive industry. MJL recently signed a deal with one of the automotive industry’s largest product providers, IA-SAL, to provide customized software to enhance training and sales for their client automotive dealers across Canada.
“The automotive side was really intrigued by what we were doing on the sporting side. The video capabilities can be used to train the people they have all over the country,’’ said Flanagan, who is also a former UPEI hockey Panther and former assistant coach with the P.E.I. Rocket.
“We built a tool for the auto industry that’s being very well received,’’ Macdonald said. “It’s being in contact with your customer or being in contact with your players in a useable, easy-to-navigate system that you can access from pretty much anywhere.’’
Flanagan said their program for the automotive industry is meant to connect the client with the dealership while the sports program connects the organization with every single player in that organization, whether it’s at the NHL or minor levels.
“In today’s world if you’re not in contact with your consumer somebody else is,’’ Macdonald said.
Al MacIsaac, vice-president of the Blackhawks, said the NHL organization has been following MJL’s growth an expansion closely.
“We envision their innovative technology playing a vital supporting role in our hockey operations and look forward to embarking on our partnership,’’ MacIsaac said.
Flanagan says the interest from NHL teams has come in less than three years. Both he and Macdonald are quick to credit native Islanders Al MacAdam and Kevin Devine for getting their foot in the door with the Buffalo Sabres.
“The interest has come with almost no marketing campaign or sales trips,’’ Flanagan said. “It is really exciting to see a product that seems to sell itself.’’
MJL is also working with the Notre Dame Hounds — the famous junior hockey program in Saskatchewan that has developed NHLers like Brad Richards and Wendel Clark — the University of New Hampsire and University of Vermont NCAA hockey programs.
“Our solution is capable of running an entire NCAA program,’’ Flanagan boasts.
Locally, MJL has also developed a software tool for Andrews Hockey that allows them to better interact with their clients by providing personalized feedback to videos uploaded to their program.
“It’s just constant interaction,’’ Macdonald says. “Now you can grab your workout on your phone. You can access your nutrition plan if you’re going to grab a bite to eat.’’
MJL Enterprises is based out of the Atlantic Technology Centre and employs 10 people. Besides the sports and automotive industries, the company also serves the health and mortgage industries.