Tag Archives: Paul Newman

The Little Sports Bar

For a short while in the late 1990s, my friend and I owned a little sports bar in Powell River, and although it was a struggle, we were proud of it.

Proud of it when we weren’t losing our minds.

It began when I was living in Calgary and was visiting an old friend in Powell River after my marriage had gone up in smoke. At one point during a drinking session at his kitchen table, we found ourselves talking about how we could do a few things differently in our lives, and I mentioned that I had this great sports collection that would look mighty fine in a sports bar.

He looked at me and I looked at him, and light bulbs went on.

Shortly after our little kitchen table talk, we were eating in a restaurant nearby and I said to my friend that this cozy little place would be perfect for a sports bar. We looked around, nodded our heads, and that was it. I went back to Calgary to drive semis in ice and snow again.

Not long after, my buddy phoned me and told me the little place we’d been in was now up for sale, and before we could say “I didn’t mean it”, we had bought ourselves a little fifty-seat joint.

We didn’t know how to run a sports bar. He was a construction worker and I was a truck driver. But we did it anyway. And it was his idea to call it Kane’s, not mine.

Originally it was supposed to be called Kane’s Sports Bar, but with the archaic liquor laws in BC at the time, they had us change it to Kane’s Sports Bistro because we weren’t allowed to have the words bar or pub in it. We were only granted a B license which meant kids could come in, and grown-ups had to eat something while drinking. (these laws have since been changed).

I put my collection on the walls, we set up three big televisions, and away we went. Unfortunately, the old adage that one must be in business at least five years before making a profit seemed absolutely true in our case.

We could see success still a long way off, and we lasted less than two years and finally sold it. By that time I was beginning to pay my rent with a credit card.

But in that short time of being pub owners there were highlights. HOFers Frank Mahovlich and Red Storey came in while on an oldtimers tour, and Frank came back later that night for dinner with his niece, who lived in Powell River.

And Red, refereeing the game that night and wearing a microphone, told the crowd how great our place was.

On another night I closed the doors and drank beer and talked until early morning with Jeff and Steve Carlson of the Hanson brothers who were in town for a promotional thing at the rink. (The third member of the notorious trio, Dave Hanson, stopped by for just a few minutes).

Not only did the Carlson’s  fill me in on what life was like after Slap Shot, but they also told me what a great guy co-star Paul Newman was, along with plenty of stories from their mostly minor-league playing days.

The three us drank a lot of the day’s profits that night.

We had closed circuit boxing, hockey parties, soccer teams coming in early to watch big games from overseas, and the local junior team aired post-game radio shows out of our place.

And on Saturdays we put out peanuts and encouraged folks to throw the shells on the floor.

I was new in Powell River but because of the pub it didn’t take long before I was on first-name basis with much of the town.

There was also a silver lining from having this little place. The publisher of the local newspaper was a regular and asked me to write a regular column for his paper. And because my name was out there from the pub and the newspaper, I was eventually hired by BC Ferries because they knew I had a good relationship with the public.

It was a great experience, but all in all, unless you’ve got a ton of dough and don’t have to be there all the time like we were, I’d suggest sticking with a job where you actually get paid.

Running a pub is more work than you can imagine. I was exhausted, broke, and completely stressed. While people watched the big games on the TVs, I didn’t have time because I was running all over the place. The bills never stopped coming in. My partner and I had begun to quarrel. I wasn’t sleeping properly, and because I had unlimited access to the beer dispenser, I was drinking too much after hours.

All in all though, it was a tremendous experience. But I wouldn’t do it again.

A Night To Remember

The 2014 Winter Auction is coming up soon at Classic Auctions, and one of the lots we’re putting up are the three Charlestown Chiefs jerseys worn by the Hanson brothers in the movie Slap Shot.

There should be a fair amount of buzz about this.

And mentioning the auction is a good way of getting to my Hanson brothers story.

The Hansons came to Powell River in the late-1990s to do their schtick before a Powell River Kings/BCHL game, towing along the back of the zamboni, pretending to be unruly, and generally being very amusing for the fans.

Before they went up to the arena, they came into the little sports bar my friend and I owned, all decked out with their taped hands, horn-rimmed glasses, and Charlestown Chiefs jerseys, and ranted about “old time hockey”.

It was prearranged and they did it for free.

After the game, two of the three Hansons (Jeff and Steve Carlson), came back to the pub, I locked the door, and the three us sat at the bar and drank beer and talked hockey until 5 am. They were both tremendously friendly guys, completely down to earth, and I remember them talking a lot about how they thought Jaromir Jagr was such a great player and how Paul Newman was a wonderful guy.

We drank a lot of beer that night, I had to open the bar a few hours later with a hangover, and the Hanson brothers left town for another gig in another town. All in all, a fine night indeed.

I might be talking to them on the phone soon, and if so, I’m going to ask if they remember that night in Powell River. Maybe they won’t.

But I’m hoping they do.

Hey, You’ve Got Our Expos. What More Do You Want?

I hope you didn’t shave today. It’s playoff time. If you did, what were you thinking?

The goalies are set – Halak and Theodore – and the hockey world waits for the Washington slaughter of the Habs to begin. It’s not going to be the least bit fair, no it’s not. The Caps are too big, too slick, too many points in the regular season. Barack Obama cheers for them. They’re perfect. They’re not human. What a team.

Why don’t they just give the Stanley Cup to the Washington Capitals and be done with it?

But the Montreal Canadiens and fans have other plans. Like winning the series, for instance. It’s just going to take some firsts.

They need to win the first faceoff of the game and get the puck into the Caps end and start the momentum. They need the first big hit and the first goal. They need to win the first period, the first fight, and all the races to the puck in corners. And a win in the first game would be lovely although a win in game two would be almost as good. Maybe as good.

They also need to send a 90 mile-an-hour puck into Alex Ovechkin’s teeth.

And about the fights? Be careful with Alexander Semin. He plays the bongos.

Habs can win.  Montreal has the aura, the CH, and the best-looking women in North America. Washington enjoys our Expos and had George Bush living there. 

And yes, I know what you’re saying. The game is played on the ice so forget about the women and George Bush. But the Canadiens are not the worst team in the history of the world, and the Capitals are not the best. It’s closer than what many think. The Habs have good scorers who haven’t scored lately. That’s the biggest problem. If the scorers can get it together, things become much different.

And about Alex Ovechkin. One man has never made a hockey team. Please refer to the 2010 Russian Olympic hockey team.

Detroit didn’t win every year because they had Gordie Howe. Or Boston with Orr, Hull with Chicago, Gretzky in LA, Newman with the Charlestown Chiefs. A lot is made about Ovechkin, but it’s a team sport. He’s a guy who has to be watched carefully, checked hard, trash-talked to, get him off his game. Toe Blake told Claude Provost to shadow Bobby Hull, so whenever Hull jumped on the ice, so did Provost. If Hull was out of the play, Provost stayed with him. When Hull went back to the bench, Provost escorted him. If he would’ve been allowed, Provost probably would have followed him down the hall when the period ended.

Just don’t let Ovechkin get wound up, and fire a few 90 mile an hour pucks near his gap-toothed grin.

If Montreal can gain even a split in Washington, everything changes. The Habs will have new-found confidence, the Caps will see some of their’s disappear, and TV analysts will begin to sing a different tune. The odds in Vegas will change slightly, and Habs fans will believe even more.

It’s game day. I’m ready. Gaston’s going to watch it with me. Dishonest John will have his lucky shirt, I’m sure. Danno will have the Victory shirt ready to go. And I didn’t shave today.

I’m ready, you’re ready. We’re all ready. GO HABS!

For those of you who haven't been introduced, this is Gaston. We go back a long way. He'll be watching the game tonight.