During an uncertain time for athletes like Josh Kestner in the ECHL, like thousands of Americans due to COVID-19, he’s left wondering when his next paycheck will come.
It was only days ago when Kestner was alone and on top of the ECHL stats sheet. His 73 points in 58 games was the driving force for the Toledo Walleye this season.
With the season suspended and remaining games in question, Josh still had more to give. He wasn’t ready to give up and call it quits.
But for the Huntsville, Alabama native, his relentless work ethic started with a 20-foot concrete slab and a ‘ping' that was music to his ears.
“I shot every day. 300, 400 pucks when I was eight years old until I was 19 or 20. A lot of people ask me about my shot and it’s one of those things that comes back to that concrete slab,” Kestner told Scott Wheeler of the Athletic.
“I’d shoot out there until my fingers bled - literally. I’d go out there for four hours and I’d either stop because it was dark and you couldn’t see the net or I’d stop because my hands were bleeding from blisters. I shot, shot, shot. A lot of people ask why’d you do it, as in, was it a training thing? And no, I just like hearing that ping noise.”
It was that noise that would be the start of something special for Kestner, even as a 25-year old navigating through his pro career.
“I heard that quote from Josh and it resonated with me,” says Matt Keeler, creative director at Just Dishin. “I wanted to create a brand identity for him that embodied his passion and commitment.”
Looking to push the creative boundaries, Just Dishin proposed a logo for Kestner that illustrated that melody. “The lines in his logo speak for the shots Josh took to get where he is today,” Keeler said. “Those lines represent that ping.”
The identity was born.
The logo was only a stepping-stone for the collaboration. Kestner worked with Just Dishin during the hockey stoppage to develop his own apparel line that he could promote to family, friends and fans.
“These players have finesse on the ice; vision and IQ are imperative at that level. But when it comes to anything away from the game, that style is still there,” says Keeler. “Josh was instrumental in the design process, helping us blend sport and fashion.”
Just Dishin’s latest “Kestner Collection” is designed to be inclusive, with a relaxed fit and a special blend of fabrics that pay homage to his craft.
The line will be released on April 20th at justdishin.com.