Oilers' Tyler Fleck in demand as jersey designer
BY JOHN RITTENOURE World Correspondent
Friday, February 01, 2013
2/01/13 at 5:45 AM
Tulsa Oilers defensemen Tyler Fleck is known for his skill on the ice. But off the ice, Fleck is rapidly gaining a reputation for his skills as a graphic designer.
When not playing hockey, Fleck designs jerseys and has designed the jersey that he and his teammates will wear against the Wichita Thunder on Saturday.
The Oilers will wear pink and white jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game with the proceeds going to Turn Tulsa Pink.
Fleck said his company, Hardnosed Apparel, made the jerseys to support cancer research.
"It is something we have been doing for the past three years, and it has really gone full-time this year," Fleck said.
Word of Fleck's talent has spread throughout the Central Hockey League, and several teams have taken advantage.
"I have done jerseys for us, the Wichita Thunder and the Missouri Mavericks," Fleck said. "Wichita just did a throwback jersey, and we had a throwback jersey here.
"The last month has been crazy. Everyone is trying to get their orders in for their specialty nights."
Between Oilers games, Fleck can be found at home in front of a computer working to fill orders.
"A concept will take three or four hours," Fleck said. "I will play hockey, then I go home and sit in my home office. But this is something I enjoy doing. It is not like work."
Fleck decided to turn his love for graphic design into a business about three years ago. And he is glad he did.
"I did graphic design as a hobby," Fleck said. "We own a hockey school in Canada, and I wanted something better for the kids up there, so I did some searching and found a manufacturer up there that could do it. If you can do the graphics, that is 90 percent of the battle right there.
"I worked at it slowly and got the kids some jerseys, and it worked out well. A few other teams wanted jerseys and it snowballed from there.
Fleck said the company specializes in all kinds of jerseys, but wanted to do "something a little bit outside the box" for the hockey schools.
"Being a hockey player, you always like to wear something that looks cool. ... That is what we are trying to give to the kids - a souvenir they can take home from the camp."
Fleck has 14 years of pro hockey experience and likes the idea he can still be involved in the sport after retirement.
"You can't play hockey forever," Fleck said. "When hockey is over, it looks more and more like what I am going to be doing. It is something I look forward to doing after hockey."
The business could even expand into other sports.
"We are looking at getting into some baseball and have done some cycling jerseys, but mostly just hockey," Fleck said.
Fleck is looking forward to Saturday's auction, which will take place in the ONEOK Club after the game. He is already planning for the next Oilers jersey night.
"We have Military Night on March 8, and that is a cool-looking jersey," said Fleck. "It is different than any other military jersey."
Original Print Headline: Oiler in demand as jersey designer
Oilers up next
What: Tulsa vs. Missouri, Wichita
When: 7:35 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: BOK Center
Friday: Ladies Night with special perks and discounts for female fans. Junior Oilers vs. Wichita Jr. Thunder at 3:30.
Saturday: Pink in the Rink Night presented by TD Williamson and Turn Tulsa Pink. Oilers will wear pink jerseys that will be auctioned off immediately after the game.