ARATAC is a new brand but has over 30 years of experience and expertise in the hockey manufacturing industry behind it.
The brand ARATAC was created by Chris Sutherland in 2013.
He, however, has been involved in the hockey manufacturing industry for over 30 years as well as having had a highly successful career in playing and coaching in hockey.
HOCKEY PLAYING CAREER
He was fortunate enough to have had a successful hockey career which started as a schoolboy in the sixties and ended in the eighties playing for the Dutch champions.
He made his name early in his career after being selected to play for Scotland’s senior International team to play England while he was still at school. He scored the only goal of the game to give Scotland their first ever win against England on English soil since records began. He then went on to represent Great Britain and was honoured by playing 11 times for the European select. At Club level he was able to amass an incredible amount of success in winning over 20 National, 7 Great Britain and 5 European titles.
HOCKEY COACHING CAREER
There was a lack of coaches at his club in the early seventies so he decided that he would be player coach. He had the ability to be able to learn quickly from the top sides in the world and he brought a level of professionalism to his team in the seventies which was later seen to be about fifteen years ahead of its time. His club became the first full sponsored hockey team in Great Britain. Virtually all of his career was as a player coach and he won an incredible amount of titles including national titles both in Scotland and in Holland.
Despite a busy schedule with top level hockey he also managed success with 14 Junior national titles in Scotland and Holland and many of his kids went on to high level hockey. As a level 4 coach his services were in great demand.
He has now retired from coaching so that he can make ARATAC a successful brand worldwide.
He spent most of these 30 years working in his own company who were responsible for sales and development of Dita hockey products for the UK and Republic of Ireland.
He has, however, parted company with the brand Dita and has created ARATAC.
During his hockey career he was always looking at ways to improve hockey sticks.
He and his team mate ,Alan Stobbie, were involved in improving wooden hockey sticks which in those days had no reinforcement wrapped around them. They both worked on a project where they bought in blank sticks from India and wrapped them with layers of glassfibre to produce sticks that hit harder than most others.
During his hockey career in Holland where he played for the National and European champions he was fortunate enough to meet the owners and creators of the Dita Gold Medal brand who had come to Europe to show some of their new ideas on hockey stick development. They, like all the companies in those days, were busy with selling wooden hockey sticks but they wanted to make things more technical. They teamed up with Chris and produced one of the most popular hockey sticks in its time which was probably the first mass produced wooden hockey stick with a wrapped reinforcement of fibreglass. They continued to work on developments and this was followed by their first carbon reinforced stick.
They then invited Chris to sell their Dita sticks in the UK and although he was busy playing hockey in Holland he decided to take up the challenge. The deal was done and he along with All Weather Sports (Holland), who were doing the Dita sales in the Benelux, forged ahead to create one of the most innovative hockey brands of its time.
He then worked on ideas with an American aluminium manufacturer in building an aluminium shafted hockey stick with a detachable head and although these sticks complied with FIH regulations and were used by numerous top international players in Olympic games , they were eventually made illegal.
Unperturbed by this he forged on with ideas on full composite technology sticks.
To do this he had to leave behind his contacts at the Dita Gold Medal factory as they did not have the technology to help him. China was the answer as they had years of experience in making composite products for the rackets industry. Unfortunately due to the lack of experience by the Chinese on how hockey was played many of the early designs of composite sticks were not particularly successful. Passing on his knowledge of the technical requirements of how a hockey stick should be constructed to cater with the forces that were created in the sport, he was able to produce sticks that performed at Olympic level and in many cases enhanced the performances of players.
The composite hockey stick market is now a mature industry and most brands can produce very technical finished articles.
His love for hockey and his knowledge of what a top hockey stick should feel like and perform he was famous for designing sticks that had “a great feel”.
Top players demanded sticks that felt good and performed well, so this is what he produced for them.
With the game changing dramatically on synthetic surfaces various skills became predominant. He introduced a stick that had a 50 mm bend which resulted in increased speed with drag flicking but it was eventually made illegal by the FIH. When asked about bends on sticks he always said that although the 50 mm bend helped with certain skills it affected other skills adversely and that, in his opinion, anything more than 25mm would not be really beneficial. This 25 mm dimension has now subsequently been enforced by the FIH as the maximum allowed for hockey sticks.
In the meantime during this period, the Dita Gold Medal factory had invested time and money so that they had the capabilities of competing with China on production of composite sticks. He quickly got together with them and once again they combined their knowledge to come up with new ideas. Together they produced a stick that was thought by many as being “the best dribbling stick in the world” They did not stand still and the improved version of this stick the ARATAC LBT 700+ is already in the hands of many international players.
He has already created new shapes and feels for various models in the ARATAC range of sticks. The ARATAC junior sticks are probably the best balanced junior sticks in the world.
In the mid seventies with artificial surfaces becoming mandatory for playing international hockey, he turned his attention to improving shoes so that they were specifically designed for hockey and were built to withstand the rigorous demands of the movements of top hockey players on synthetic surfaces. ARATAC hope to have high quality hockey shoes available to the market as soon as possible.
Over the years many types of overgrips have been tried by top international players.
He persuaded an incredible amount of top players that Chamois grips were the best solution and today they are probably the No. 1 choice with international hockey players. He continues to work close with the Dutch inventor of this grip and is now persuading racket sports participants to go down this route.
ARATAC are committed to:
- Producing a range of hockey sticks that will be appreciated by the Olympian down to the player who has just started at youth level.
- Back up the sales of quality hockey sticks with shinguards, gloves and other accessories that offer optimum protection.
- Make available high quality technical textiles to suit the needs of the modern player
- Offer a level of service to our customers that is second to none.
- Continue to be innovative in our designs of products to meet the demands of the changes that are happening in our sport.
Fortunately for ARATAC many of the manufacturers that Chris dealt with for years are continuing to work with him to ensure that the quality of the ARATAC products are up to and in some cases already improved on. The research and development teams and product testers in the UK, Holland, Pakistan, India, China, Australia and North America are all keen to make sure that ARATAC offers top quality technical and innovative products.