Varsity athletics sign exclusive clothing deal

Deal worth $200,000 over three years

John McFarlane, Chad Currah of Russell Athletics and Bob Haydon of PrimeTime Marketing seal the deal at Wednesday’s press conference.
John McFarlane, Chad Currah of Russell Athletics and Bob Haydon of PrimeTime Marketing seal the deal at Wednesday’s press conference.
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Queen’s varsity team uniforms will soon be looking a lot more, well, uniform.

The University signed a three-year exclusive agreement with Russell Athletics, announced May 21, becoming the first Canadian university to sign with the company.

John McFarlane, chair of athletics and recreation, said this agreement follows the Queen’s tradition to pursue a “goal of excellence.”

“We want to make sure our teams are consistent with that goal of excellence,” he said. “It’s always been something we’ve wanted to do.”

McFarlane said the university will gain $200,000 over the agreement’s three-year period. This will come out of cash from Russell, prices the University will be paying compared to the going rate for other products—such as hats and sweatshirts—and from free products Russell will provide.

Russell Athletics will supply uniforms and apparel both on and off the field for student athletes and coaches. They will also supply clothing for participants in the summer kids’ camps and Golden Gaels merchandise to be sold at the Campus Bookstore.

Russell’s products will be distributed through PrimeTime Marketing, a Kingston-based company.

“This will give our athletic program a consistent look,” McFarlane said. “Our student athletes will proudly wear high-quality clothing.”

The agreement was thought to be finalized in May, but was delayed.

“We wanted to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s, and so did they,” McFarlane said. “We’d rather do that then be dissatisfied with it.”

Chad Currah, division manager for Russell Athletics, said he’s excited about this deal.

“At Russell Athletics, we work with a number of NCAA schools,” he said. “We’re pleased to bring that experience to Queen’s.”

Currah said Russell, a publicly traded company that supplies many schools and sports teams, ensures that its manufacturing practices comply with labour and trade laws.

“It’s something we take very seriously,” he said. “It’s a very important issue.”

Russell manufactures its clothing out of several countries, Currah said, including China, Mexico, the U.S. and Bangladesh.

“Our sourcing departments work very closely with all our manufacturers,” he said. “We have a specific department to make sure all those issues are followed and dealt with.”

McFarlane said the new apparel will make its first appearance at the Golden Gaels’ exhibition football game in August. He added that not all teams will immediately begin wearing the new uniforms, but it will be a gradual transition as team uniforms require replacement.

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