Tag Archives: Steve Carlson

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.

The Powell River Barn

The local rink is primed, shined, and ready to go. In fact, when I was there taking this picture, about thirty teenage guys, fresh and alive, with all their hair and before divorce and bills ravage their souls, were gathered about in some sort of organized confusion. Many wore white shirts and ties, and it appeared to be only one thing. That the Powell River Kings, a powerhouse, elite club in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), are about to start things up soon.

It’s great hockey, although I admit I haven’t been up there in awhile. And I know I’ve been missing something special because the Kings are good. Real good. In fact, this club is presently one of the top Tier 2 junior clubs in Canada.

The Powell River Regals make this their home too, and anyone who follows senior hockey has probably heard of the Regals, winners of three Allan Cups in the past 15 years and finalists once. They dominate most teams they play, and only seem to lose when several of their key guys are unavailable because of jobs and such. They’re going through some rebuilding right now and it may take awhile to find their former glory. But I have faith they will. They’ve always managed before.

It’s a cool building, with a beautiful swimming pool, weight room and concert hall etc, and replaced the old arena in 1975, which of course old-timers felt tinges of sadness about. People still talk about the big Regals and Quebec’s Val d’Or clash for the Hardy Cup in 1970 when the Regals won the five-game series on home ice in the old barn, and they talk about it with chests swelled. It was a big moment in Powell River, and I’ve heard that some fans watched from precarious perches in the rafters with the place bursting at the seams. But the old arena ran its course, and the new one took over.

This fine building is now called the Hap Parker Arena, which suits me much better than the original name, The Recreational Complex, and it’s a fitting tribute to Parker, now deceased, who was a mover and shaker in Powell River hockey circles for decades. He was THE man behind much of the rich history of the Regals and I was lucky enough to visit him once in his home where he showed me clippings and photos of Powell River hockey from over the years. I also stood beside Hap and legendary NHL goalie Glenn Hall during an Allan Cup game when they argued over the quality of the officiating.

For a short time myself and a buddy owned a sports bar in Powell River, and we had a board sign exactly where you see the RONA sign in the photo. And it was here that the great old NHL referee Red Storey, while on the ice at an old-timers game, announced to the full house with his microphone that Kane’s Pub served excellent spaghetti.

And this is the place where the Hanson brothers did their schtick on skates, and then two of them, Steve and Jeff Carlson, came back to my pub, I locked the doors, and we drank beer and talked hockey all night.

The Little Sports Bar

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

At least we were proud of it when we weren’t losing our minds.

It all began when I was living in Calgary and happened to visit my old friend Steve in Powell River after my marriage had exploded into smithereens. At one point during a beer and wine session while sitting at his kitchen table, we found ourselves talking about how we could do a few things differently in our lives. I mentioned that I had this great sports collection that would probably look mighty fine in a sports bar, and he looked at me and I looked at him, and light bulbs went on in our heads.

Shortly after our little kitchen table talk, we were eating in a little restaurant nearby and I said to my friend that this cozy little place would be perfect for a sports bar. We looked around, nodded out heads, and that was it. I went back to Calgary to drive truck 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, was cheap like borscht, 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. It was his idea to call it Kane’s, and so it began. Originally it was Kane’s Sports Bar but with the BC archaic liquor laws, 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. We had no idea. Unfortunately, the old adage that says 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 big highlights. 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 lives in Powell River. On another night I closed the doors and drank beer and talked until early morning with Jeff and Steve Carlson of the Hanson brothers. We had closed-circuit boxing matches, 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.

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

It’s still going. The owner moved it to another place, asked if she could keep the name which I agreed to, and so Kane’s Sports Bistro in Powell River carries on. Minus all of my collection, which I took back home with me, of course.

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 then 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 and broke. Completely stressed. While people watched the big games on the TV’s, 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.

Other than these little things though, it was great.