After 45 years, the Saanich Braves have a room of their own.
Last Friday (Jan. 11) Braves players walked out of their brand new dressing room onto the ice of George R. Pearkes Arena. Albeit, the Westshore Wolves put a damper on it by beating the Braves 3-1.
But it’s still a clean slate for the Braves, who hope to use the room to turn things around during the team’s current mini-slide. Last Thursday the Braves lost to the Victoria Cougars 4-2. The Braves hope to turn it around tonight (Jan. 16) against the Wolves at Bear Mountain Arena.
Procuring the new dressing room has been co-owner Norm Kelly’s baby for much of the past few months. Among his research was a visit to Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre to see the Royals’ room.
The Braves dressing room is a former storage area, and it isn’t as big as the Royals’ room. But Kelly’s one proud papa nonetheless.
“It changes everything for the guys,” Kelly said. “They come in, take their stuff off, and go home.”
Until last week the Braves players took their gear home with them after games, which is typical for most players on the 39 junior-B teams throughout B.C. Now they leave can leave it in a secure room where it can dry.
“No need (for players) to cart their gear to and from the rink anymore. No need to bring their own towel,” Kelly said.
Each stall is designed the same with a place for everything. Elbow pads go on top. Skates hang on either side. Running gear and others go under the seat, which airs out with holes.
The Braves had a little help to make it feasible. Slegg Lumber provided the wood with finishing done by woodworker Adam Boocock. Custom metal hooks for hanging the gear was done by Bill Bell. Skate friendly rubber is installed from Pacific Flooring. Saanich kicked in with the electrical, and Insight Home Solutions showed up to mount the team’s brand new 48-inch TV atop the stalls, with the coaches’ wall-mounted computer soon to be attached below. Speakers are spread around the room, which is lined with the red, black and white colours of the team.
Each stall also comes with a clip for dirty laundry game and practice jerseys, and socks, can be delivered and picked up from neighbouring Tillicum Laundromat and Dry Cleaning.
It’s big league stuff. Now the Braves just hope to to live up to it.
The Braves visit the Peninsula Panthers tonight (Jan. 18), 7:30 p.m. at Panorama Recreation Center, are at Campbell River tomorrow, and back at Panorama Tuesday vs. the Panthers at 7:30 p.m.