Behind an unassuming home in Victoria there’s a custom-made hockey paradise that’s gathered international attention.
Kenn Shaw and his neighbour Jordie Oberg worked for eight years to create the “Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave,” decked out with eight TVs, two bars, a coaches’ corner, a floor hockey rink, and every kind of hockey paraphernalia available, prompting neighbours and the Victoria hockey community to ask “are you caving tonight?”
“This is a building we created because we got tired of paying the high cost to go over to catch a Canucks game,” Shaw said. “So, we decided to bring the game to us.”
Shaw won tickets to a Chicago Blackhawks game in Vancouver in 2011, but the trip still ended up costing him over $1,000 for the ferry ride and accommodations for himself and his family. So, as a lifetime hockey player and avid Blackhawks fan, having his own hockey cave seemed like a worthwhile investment.
Now, the space can hold 35 people, each in awe of Shaw’s unique ability to build anything out of hockey gear.
“I look at things when I’m driving down the road and I go, ‘Why not make it out of hockey sticks?’” Shaw said.
He’s made everything from chairs, mailboxes, picture frames and coffee tables out of hockey sticks. Even the entire floor of his cave is made of over 1,700 hockey stick shafts.
“Anything you can think of, really,” Shaw said. “Hockey stick crutches, hockey stick canes…”
“Even giant hockey sticks out of hockey sticks,” quipped Oberg.
Hockey helmets are used for chip bowls and bar lights, while jerseys, posters and life-size cutouts of Don Cherry and Stanley Cup replicas line the walls.
“That one has 97 NHL signatures on it,” Shaw said, noting the very first person to sign the replica was none other than Wayne Gretzky.
When Oberg first saw the cave he was starstruck.
“My first impression was that it was a basement suite with recliners and framed jerseys, kind of the stereotypical ‘man cave’ that you’d think of, but then I walked into the back yard… I was overwhelmed, I was shocked. I was really speechless.”
Oberg asked Shaw if he’d ever thought about putting it online, and that’s when they started working together.
“No one else has this, and I thought it would be fun,” Oberg said.
Since then, the cave has built a wide social media following, and was even featured in a Netflix show called Amazing Interiors (it’s episode 4).
Shaw and Oberg created a hockey podcast, hosted from their own coaches’ corner called Cave Talk and are now launching their own products.
In November they began selling Blade Shades – sunglasses with hockey sticks for arms – and the product took off, with nearly 10,000 pairs selling in the first four months. So far the duo have a partnership with the local business Kirby’s Source For Sports, and are ironing out additional partnerships with larger sports chains.
“It’s kind of funny, because we came up with our brand first and then our product, but it works,” Oberg said, adding that more ideas are on their way.
Despite the cave’s growing fame, it’s still open to anyone interested, including neighbours and tourists alike.
“We don’t want it to be a ‘man cave’, it’s a fan cave, ” Oberg said. “Sometimes we have cruise ship passengers contact us asking if they can see it, and it’s no problem.”
The best night to check it out is obviously Saturday, Shaw said, especially during the playoffs.
“All you gotta do is wear a hockey jersey or hockey T-shirt, represent your team and bring your own beer and it’s game on,” Shaw said.
For more information, you can visit ultimatehockeyfancave.com.