Skip to main content


Cornell Big Red Hockey action shot

Cornell Big Red Hockey action shot.

Hockey sticks live again Alumni twins co-found company using recycled sports equipment

New York Islanders center John Tavares breaks about 100 hockey sticks a year. Add in broken sticks from NHL and college games across the country and you've got a pile of trash each year destined for landfills.

An Original Stix phone case made from a used Cornell hockey stick. Image: Original Stix.

An Original Stix phone case made from a used Cornell hockey stick. Image: Original Stix. See larger image

Or a pile of treasure, according to twins Evan '11 and Michael '11 Dremluk, co-founders of Original Stix (, a Detroit-based company that turns these sticks into phone accessories.

Their partners are three Michigan State students, Andrew Mestdagh, Mario DiMercurio and Terry Johnson, who came up with the idea for the company because of Johnson's love of hockey and his commitment to Detroit and to sustainability. Evan Dremluk met Johnson when they worked for Southern Tide, an apparel company in Greenville, South Carolina. Dremluk and Johnson focused on expanding the company's college marketing program, which became a growth driver for Southern Tide. The company was recognized as the 27th fastest growing company by Forbes Magazine in 2012. Dremluk and Johnson leveraged this experience into their new venture.

Evan Dremluk '11.

Evan Dremluk '11. See larger image

Michael Dremluk '11

Michaeln Dremluk '11. See larger image

"As a sophomore working for Southern Tide, I gained an understanding of how the startup process really works and what drives growth for emerging companies," Evan Dremluk says. "At Cornell, I learned a lot from reading contracts and taking business and finance classes. The entrepreneurial speaker series class really pushed me toward an entrepreneurship route. It was so practical and engaging to hear about the successes of people who took a chance and assumed risk."

Original Stix works with more than 50 teams from the NHL, AHL, NCAA and OHL (including Cornell Big Red hockey), collecting broken, game-used sticks and repurposing them into iPhone and Galaxy phone cases. Fans can switch out the sticks without purchasing a new case. Cornell cases are, of course, one of their offerings, and they are working on other ways to partner with the university.

"We wanted to provide a unique and authentic piece of the game that you can have with something you use every day," Dremluk says. Fans can buy cases at pro shops and specialty stores throughout the U.S. and Canada, at New York Rangers games and at

The Original Stix leaders plan to continue their national and international presence after pitching to Virgin Atlantic's Richard Branson at an event in Detroit this summer; they also recently were granted rights to manufacture NHL-licensed products.

The company's products are made in Detroit; some are assembled by disabled veterans. "We are proud to be part of the rebirth of Detroit, to help disabled veterans and to promote sustainability. It's a win-win for everyone," Michael Dremluk says.

The company has 10 employees who work in Bamboo Detroit, a co-working space. Both Dremluks work on Original Stix on the side, as they both have full-time positions in New York City. Their roles with Original Stix focus on operations, licensing, trademark applications and raising capital.

Original Stix hopes to inspire future entrepreneurs to locate in Detroit and restore its reputation as one of America's leading manufacturing cities.

The company was recently granted rights to manufacture licensed NHL products and plans to expand into other sports, including the NBA, NFL, MLB and NASCAR.

Back to top