Swapping ice for toner, tie
Islanders' Webb shows another side by taking advantage of lockout to
pursue business opportunity
BY ALAN HAHN
December 5, 2004
Steve Webb was wearing a suit and making his first call of the day.
It opened with a polite, raspy, "Hello, this is Steve Webb" and the
connection was made. The conversation immediately was sparked by
hockey, the lockout, the Islanders.
Webb waited for his chance and, in the same manner he coiled up on a
vulnerable Darcy Tucker a couple of years ago, he hit the potential
client with the sales pitch.
"I use the same energy and vision I use on the ice," he said.
While the NHL remains locked out, Webb has used his free time to join
a few partners and start up a company in Glen Cove called Cartridge
Solutions International, which is in the business of distributing
laser-jet toner cartridges.
"What we offer is service combined with a quality product that is
comparable to original equipment manufacturers with a cost savings of
at least 25 percent," he said from his office Wednesday, sounding
nothing like the guy who is known in another life as a human pinball
Webb, 29, who is an unrestricted free agent, isn't doing this as a
means of generating income during the lockout. This is something he's
wanted to do for years. He even took the time to study business and
entrepreneurship by taking classes last fall at Hofstra and attending
countless seminars at trade shows during the past year.
"I've been trying to think of things over the past few years to be
prepared for, not just when the lockout happened, but even after I'm
done playing," he said.
Webb's not just an investor, he plays an active role among a staff of
four. "I'm the one out there going into the businesses," he
said. "Believe me, it's a huge, huge learning curve. But that's the
best part; I'm out there with the people. I'm not sitting in an
office all day."
Any idle time is spent at the gym or on the ice, just to be ready
when - and if - the Islanders get around to signing him once the
lockout ends. "You have young guys playing [in the minors] and
they'll be in game-time shape," he said. "I have to stay in shape
Webb spent a majority of last season in the AHL playing for the
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. His minor-league status last season
technically made him ineligible for the NHLPA's lockout pay (about
$10,000 per month). He is, however, eligible to play in the AHL this
season. But after dealing with chronic back problems during the past
few seasons, Webb said the time off is more valuable to his 6-foot,
211-pound, battering-ram body than playing for pay in the minor
"The rest has benefited my body from all the abuse of running into
the boards," he said. "I'll be able to extend my career for a longer
duration and be able to sustain the game I've been known to play at a
His association with the NHL eventually will come to an end. Then
again, the NHL does a lot of printing. And printers need toner.