October | Toba Centre Winnipeg
October is Child Abuse Awareness Month and for the month of October we are excited to partner and support the on-going efforts of the @tobacentremb.
From October 1, 2022 to October 31, 2022 We will be donating 25% of all online proceeds while using our platform to share some information on the centre’s vision and child advocacy in Manitoba over on our instagram.
To support this campaign we teamed up with Toba Centre ambassador and Winnipeg Jet, Adam Lowry, on some visual content that can be viewed in its entirety here.
Join us as we support the centre’s We Will Capital Campaign by shopping voaksportswear.com or join in by using the #GoBlueToba on social to stand in solidarity with, and honour the resiliency of, all those who have been impacted by child abuse.
2022 VOAK SPORTSWEAR CLASSIC RECAP VIDEO
2022 Voak Sportswear Classic | Aaron Jones A & A All the Way
We are pleased to announce the 2nd annual Voak Sportswear Classic golf tournament taking place July 11th, 2022 at Bridges Golf Course in Starbuck, Manitoba.
As the Voak Sportswear brand continues to evolve our emphasis and commitment to customer experience, community building and support both local and international charities remains a focal point.
In 2021 we launched the Voak Sportswear Classic, our re-interpretation of the charity golf tournament. Each year the event partners with a different partner athlete in primary support of their foundation or partner foundation. Our inaugural event, in partnership with Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler, raised $40,000 for CancerCare PROFYLE while also investing over $10,000 towards other initiatives including Josh Morrissey’s Glass Half Full Foundation, CJ Suess’s mental health initiative SWYFT, The Dream Factory, Jump Start and the Falk Fehr Foundation.
We are excited to announce we are back for round two, this year in partnership with NFL rising star and Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year nominee, Aaron Jones. The Green Bay Packer running back will be joining us for the July 11th event as we roll out the red carpet and offer up some Manitoba hospitality.
This year’s event will be proceeded by a 7-day online sports memorabilia and experience auction that will be once again accessible to all and will kicking-off July 4, 2022 at givergy.ca/voaksportswearclassic
Foursomes for this year’s event go on sale June 3, 2022 right here at voaksportswear.com.
Thanks to our friends at Handcraft Creative for the visuals again this year. O
For more information on this year’s event check out voaksportswearclassic.com and follow us on social @voaksportswearclassic.
Voak Sportswear Classic | Writing Cheques
A giant thank you to the Voak Sportswear community and those who invested their time and resources into our inaugural Voak Sportswear Classic charity golf tournament. Thanks to you guys we had the pleasure in presenting a cheque yesterday in the amount of $40,000 in support of CancerCare PROFYLE.
Short for PRecision Oncology For Young peopLE, this initiative gives children, adolescents and young adults who are out of conventional treatment options another chance to beat cancer. PROFYLE is bringing together the entire pediatric and young adult national clinical and research expertise in precision medicine in a way that has never before been done in Canada and it was a pleasure to play a very small role in the support of their meaningful work.
Our sincere gratitude to Blake, Sam and the Wheeler family for their continued support of CancerCare PROFYLE. To Blake and our supporting cast of athletes who let us auction their participation in the event to the highest bids, and to our partners and participants who made the investment in the event.
Along with the $40,000 we will be making donations of $1,800 to each of our athlete partner foundations including SWYFT, Glass Half Full Foundation, The Dream Factory, Jumpstart, Make-A-Wish, and the Falk Fehr Foundation to help them continue the incredible work they do for the community. Thanks Mark, CJ, Travis, Seth, Carson, Eric, and Madison.
This is the floor, excited to see where you and I can take this event. We are currently plotting next year’s event.
Bias opinion, we highly suggest a @voaksportswearclassic follow.
2021 Voak Sportswear Classic Recap Video
Winnipeg Thunder | WBL Collection
Wednesday we are releasing our WBL Winnipeg Thunder New Era Capsule Collection. The collection features two 59Fifty fitted (Navy and Maroon) as well as two 9Fifty snapbacks (Seaweed and Camel) in limited quantities.
The Winnipeg Thunder were a minor league, professional basketball franchise, that called Winnipeg, Manitoba home from 1992 to 1994. The Thunder played their inaugural season as an expansion franchise of the WBL (World Basketball League). The World Basketball League was a pro basketball circuit funded by Mickey Monus and probably best know for their height limit of 6’7”.
The league had 10 teams scattered haphazardly across Canada and the US from Calgary to South Florida. The WBL folded before the schedule of the Thunder’s inaugural season concluded. Turns out Mickey Monus had been funding his basketball hobby with millions embezzled from Phar-Mor.
In the summer of 1993, the Thunder re-grouped in the all-Canadian National Basketball League along with former WBL clubs from Halifax, Hamilton and Saskatchewan. In July of 1994 the league closed its doors without completing its regular season schedule.
Though the tenure for the Winnipeg Thunder franchise was short lived, the nostalgia carries on. Voak Sportswear is excited to partner with the former ownership group on this collection of headwear produced alongside New Era.
Both the fitted and snapbacks drop September 1st at 10am CST at voaksportswear.com/shop
1st Annual Voak Sportswear Classic | Photo Recap
Huge thank you to Simeon Rusnak for the event day photos.
And if you jumped infront of the camera belonging to Ally Papko Photography you can eye your team photo here.
Voak Sportswear Classic Awards and Prizing
The moment you have all been waiting for!
Congratulations to Jesse Peters, Addison Herosian, Nick Hagidiakow, Sean Phillips and Travis Sanheim for putting up yesterday’s low number of 58 (-14) narrowly edging out Branden Keast, Mike Keast, Ash Modha, Raif Richardson and Blake Wheeler. If you see your name below you will be contacted by the end of the day. If you don’t, please reach out at email@example.com.
1st Place -14 (58)
Prize: 5 Custom Tailored EPH Apparel Voak Sportswear Classic Blazers, Beam Suntory Whisky Package, Golf for 4 at Clear Lake Golf Course
Runner-Up – 12 (60)
Prize: Beam Suntory Whisky Package, Golf for 4 with cart at Bridges Golf Course
Honest Score Mike McIntyre and the Winnipeg Free Press
Prize: Golf for 4 with cart at Bridges Golf Course
Prize: Beam Suntory cPrize Package
Winner: Eric Venn
Prize: True Stick
Hole 1 Payworks Men’s Long Drive
Prize Signed Blake Wheeler Heritage Jersey
Winner: CJ Suess
Hole 2 Barn Hammer Brewing Closest to the Keg
Prize: 10L Keg of Barn Hammer Beer
Winner: Kyle Parker
Hole 3 Jesse Peters Remax Longest Marshmallow Drive
Prize: Blake Wheeler True Catalyst 9X stick
Winner: Jeff Pinchin
Hole 4 Wiens Furniture Closest to the Pin
Prize: Stearns and Foster 175th Anniversary Queen Mattress
Winner: Chad Cunningham
Draw for Table and Signed Carey Price Puck
Winner: Scott Marohn
Hole 5 On the Rocks Longest Putt
Prize: Chantal Dubois
Winner: On the Rocks Gift Basket
Hole 6 Joe Daley Draw
Prize: Signed Connor Hellebuyck Prize Package and Chaz Lucius Game Used Stick
Winner: Dane Crowley
Hole 7 $50,000 Audi Winnipeg presented by Lakeview Insurance
Hole 8 Miller’s Meat Closest to the Target
Prize: Miller’s Meat hoodie, cap and jerky package.
Winner: Kevin Brugger
Hole 9 Mondetta Look and Vice Golf Bag
Prize: Mondetta Dress Like Blake
Winner: Kyle Wight
Hole 10 Lakehouse Women’s Long Drive
Prize: Signed Zach Collaros Jersey and SALT Sunglasses
Winner: Sara Fournier
Hole 11 Signature Homes
1st Prize Brandon Wheat Kings Package and Google Home – Scott Marohn 14B (Pattison Group)
2nd Prize Google Home – Adam Hughesman 5B
3rd Prize Google Home – Eton Harris 18A
Hole 13 $15,000 Headingley Sport Shop presented by Lakeview Insurance
Hole 14 2UNDR
Prizes awarded at event
Hole 15 $99,000 Voak Sportswear presented by Lakeview Insurance
Hole 16 RBC Package
Prize: RBC Prize Package and signed Flags
Hole 17 Harris Builders
Prize: Odyssey 2-Ball
Hole 18 Men’s and Women’s Straightest Drive
Prize: His and Hers Blundstones courtesy of Quark Shoes/Urban Trail
Winner: Geoff Smith / Chantal Freynet-Hawthorn
Voak Sportswear Classic | Limited Edition Water Bottles
Earlier this month we announced the first annual Voak Sportswear Classic golf tournament taking place at Bridges Golf Course. This year’s feature athlete is Winnipeg’s own Blake Wheeler who will be playing in support of CancerCare PROFYLE.
We are excited to partner with friends of the brand and event partners Corpell’s Water as well as Blake Wheeler on these limited edition water bottles to keep you hydrated through this Stanley Cup play-off run and right through the dog days of summer.
Cases and bottles will be hitting shelves across Manitoba on Tuesday. Cases will be available for order online at voaksportswear.com as well as the Corpell’s Water location on Pembina. Corpell’s will provide free of charge doorstep delivery on all orders. Cases will be $16 with $2 from each case donated to Cancer Care PROFYLE.
Each bottle has a scan-to-win QR code where you will be able to enter to win signed jerseys and prints. Winners will be contacted September 1, 2021.
We don’t take lightly the environmental impact of single use plastics and one of the reason we continually put emphasis on reusable stainless and Nalgene bottles in our seasonal collections.
We are excited to use this packaging platform to share the story of CancerCare and support PROFYLE. In the same breath we encourage you to be intentional with the recycling of this product.
Thanks to initiatives like Recycle Everywhere, Manitoba boosts a 70 percent beverage container recycling rate but it would be great to see that number rise. We encourage you to support the cause while focusing on recycling beverage containers so that they can lead to new products, fewer non-renewable resources being mined and a greener province.
Jets in 6. Let’s Go!
Post Game Book Club | Contest
Winner announced May 31, 2021 at 10pm CST.
Enter at @postgamebookclub.
The Post Game Book Club | Fear Is a Choice by James Conner and Tiffany Yecke Brooks
We are very excited to announce our partnership with Arizona Cardinal’s running back James Conner and his book, Fear Is A Choice: Tackling Life’s Challenges with Dignity, Faith, and Determination co-written with Tiffany Yecke Brooks, for our next @postgamebookclub feature.
What is the Post Game Book Club?
The Post Game Book Club sets out to explores the profound, humorous and sometimes tragic stories in sport in partnership with the athlete who lived and wrote them. Over the course of the month we will dive in James’ book posting excerpts and visuals that document the journey. During the read period James’ will be active in the comments answering any questions you have pertaining to the book and his story.
Anyone can participate. Simply grab a copy of the book from your local book story and follow along @postgamebookclub feature.
From fighting for his life to pursuing a career in the NFL, ACC Player of the Year and star Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner has lived a story offering wisdom and advice for anyone who has faced adversity.
During his first two years at the University of Pittsburgh, running back James Conner became one of the Panthers’ biggest stars, breaking records and winning the adoration of fans. Then, in the first game of his junior year, disaster struck in the form of a torn MCL. During rehab, James’s health continued to inexplicably deteriorate until a chest X-ray and biopsy confirmed the unthinkable: a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Suddenly, it wasn’t just the dream of an NFL career that was in jeopardy; it was James’s life. Yet when he shared the news of his diagnosis publicly, James rallied family, friends, and fans, with his message of hope and courage: “Fear is a choice. I choose not to fear cancer.” In just ten words, James defined his own journey on his own terms and refused to back down from one of the most dreaded diseases known to man.
Drawing strength from his faith in God and the support of his community and loved ones, James underwent treatment but continued to practice with his team despite the intense physical toll of chemotherapy. He was declared cancer-free within a year. Returning to the field in 2016, he finished his college career with a record-breaking 3,733 rushing yards and 56 touchdowns. Entering the NFL draft early, his success continued. Selected in the third round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, he quickly became one of the most beloved rookies in the league.
In Fear is a Choice, James candidly shares his experiences during his battle with cancer and beyond, encouraging readers and illustrating the spiritual truths and personal principles that got him through his darkest days. James Conner is an inspiration for everyone who wants to learn how to tackle life’s problems with dignity, faith, and determination.
We’ve put our spin on your prototypical gym short and we did it right here in our own backyard alongside one of Winnipeg’s longest running, generational family owned, sportswear manufacturers.
Inspired by days that start in the gym and end with a late night grocery store run, our Everyday short is equipped for everything your day throws your way.
The Everyday short is constructed of a dual layer 100% polyester mid-weight mesh, designed with side seam entry hand pockets, elasticized waistband and accented wth a silicone tip drawstring. The four colour collection is accented by both our VS icon and our arc logo.
These shorts are a modern tailored fit that fall above the knee. We recommend you size one size up from your normal size. Free local pick-up available at checkout.
Available in Forest Green, Burgundy, Navy and Black. Available Friday 10am CST at voaksportswear.com/shop.
Introducing the Voak Sportswear Classic
2021 Voak Sportswear Classic in partnership with Blake Wheeler from Voak Sportswear on Vimeo.
For further details head to voaksportswearclassic.com and @voaksportswearclassic.
Pedro Martinez x Montreal Expos | 1997
We are excited to announce the “1997” Capsule Collection. “1997” is a partnership with MLB, New Era, Hillerich & Bradsby Company and Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez that releases this Saturday, January 9th at 10am CST at voaksportswear.com and select retail partner, Momentum.
Over the course of the last few months, fans of the game have collectively been reading Pedro’s self-titled memoir through Voak Sportswear’s extension of community, The Post Game Book Club. The Post Game Book Club concept evolved from the pandemic and was born of the desire to connect people while sharing in the profound, humorous, and sometimes tragic stories in sport with the athletes who lived and breathed them. To commemorate this and to support the on-going work of The Pedro Martinez Foundation, we will be releasing the “1997” Capsule Collection in collaboration with Pedro Martinez as Voak Sportswear commemorates the year of Pedro Martinez’s first of three Cy Young Awards.
From the scorching days in the Dominican Republic, to the brown sandy mounds of Major League Baseball, to a final stop in the halls of Coopertown, “1997” commemorates what Pedro calls “a pivotal and formative year in my career”.
We elected to utilize the classic 59Fifty fitted cap from New Era as the foundation for two very limited Expos colorways that draw in palettes synonymous with the Montreal Expos. Each cap features a tonal Voak Sportswear logo with the iconic silhouette of one of the greatest and controversial pitchers ever to grace the mound. Along with the collection of caps we worked alongside the archive department of Louisville Slugger’s parent company Hillerich & Bradsby Co to re-create, to specification, Pedro’s bat from his 1997 Cy Young year. To round out the collection we tapped sports portrait artist Ryan Simpson to capture Pedro in the blue, white and red on 11”x 14”, that Pedro has signed and inscribed with HOF.
With your support, 50% of net proceeds will be donated to support the continued work the foundation does in the Dominican Republic to improve the lives of at-risk youth and their families.
Concierge Service | (431) 831-8331
As we do our best to adapt our business and evolve, we are excited to introduce our new concierge service.
Voak Sportswear is now in the palm of your hand as we give you the ability to connect with us direct, in real time, through text.
With this text direct service we can answer any product specific questions you may have while also introducing a new order pick-up program that will allow Winnipeg based orders to select a free local pick-up option at checkout without required coupon code. Upon order simply text us and schedule your order pick-up time.
Let’s connect (431) 831-8331.
The Masters | The Power of 1997
It’s that time again. What usually is an annual pilgrimage to Augusta National in April is now a November love affair. This year the players won’t be met with the whispering commentary that sweeps over blooming magnolias. No, instead this year the event will kick off with a weather delay, in November, in front of the same size live audience I pull when I make dinner.
For most golf lovers we can pinpoint the exact moment the Masters become a cornerstone of our DNA. For me it was a family vacation in April of 1997 in Palm Springs. The house that my parents had rented had a small pool that backed on to a golf course. We ended up spending most of the afternoons that week poolside. As a 10 year old there weren’t many better places to be. As we got into Thursday my Dad decided to jury-rig the rental house tube TV, the cord through the sliding glass door, out to the veranda. We jiggled an antenna’s until Tiger emerged through the static, appearing on screen on his way to re-writing history. It was hard to believe that it was just a mere 8 or 9 months prior that our family dinner discussion had been in regards to my Dad reading of a young golfer signing a lucrative deal with Nike worth $40 million dollars over five years. And his name was Tiger. I remember thinking how silly that name was and wondering how Nike had so much money. Now, here we were, less than a year later watching this 21-year-old, not only win one of golfs most prestigious tournaments but utterly dominate.
What I think a lot of people forget about those 4 days of destiny was Tiger’s early round struggles turning in 4-over-par 40 on his first front 9 and then making the turn, picking up four birdies and an eagle to give himself a 6-under-par 30 on the back nine for a 70. From there he would take sole possession of the lead Friday with an eagle on 13 and never look back.
Every time I think about this 1997 accomplishment I can’t help but wonder what the state of golf would be if Tiger hadn’t literally pounced on the scene. Tiger single handily reshaped the entire landscape on which the PGA Tour had been built. His win impacted the reach, the style and culture of golf. He literally changed the sport forever that week in Augusta.
One of the greatest accomplishment from that week was probably diversifying the sport at a club that had long had the reputation of exclusivity. The club’s co-founder, Clifford Roberts, once infamously said, “as long as I’m alive, golfers will be white, and caddies will be black.”
No black golfer played the Masters until Lee Elder in 1975 and only Jim Thorpe and Calvin Peete followed in the next two decades. Until 1982, all of the caddies in the tournament were black. And here we were watching a slender, 21-year-old, fist pumping on the sacred grounds of August National becoming the first minority golfer to win a major championship.
The impact Tiger had on our generation really can’t be described.
A few weeks back, as we were pandemic tight in our house, I was rummaging our basement. I’v been on a mission to toss out junk (likely only to make room for more junk), but as I was, I stumbled across my Tiger Woods scrapbook. I began “scrapbooking”, compiling clippings, swing diagrams, and commentary on Tiger the day after that monumentous win, having my parents stop at gas stations and convenience stores on the way to the airport the Monday after the final round.
I don’t know who taught me to cut at the age of 10 but I know this moment in history peaked my interest in a sport that I am still very average at today. Without a doubt that display of will and skill is the sole reason that the sport of golf landed on my radar. That summer my Uncle offered me a set of golf clubs. Five sticks – Driver, 5 iron, 7 iron, wedge and a putter. My parents, wanting to instil pride of ownership and the power of earning something, encouraged me to save up for them and to purchase them at the negotiated price. My uncle came at me with $50, I am sure expecting a counter, but $50 sounded like a bargain to follow the lead of a Tiger. He couldn’t wait to give me the clubs so he handed over the vinyl blue bag of clubs and told me he would accept a payment plan which was essential just pay me what you have saved between seeing each other. I started to save loonies and toonies in one of those 8 slot plastic coin holders paying of the debt as quickly as I could shake loonies from the couch, slanging original pieces of art to family and neighbours and I am sure raiding my parents change draw at some point.
Here is a look back at 1997.
He came into the week having shot 59 at his home club
Woods and Mark O’Meara – Woods’ good friend who would go on to win the Masters himself the following year – played a casual round together at Isleworth Country Club the Friday before the ’97 event in which Tiger shot a course-record 13-under-par 59.
As legend has it, the two played again the next day. This time, with Woods already 5-under after 10 holes, he proceeded to make a hole-in-one on 11. As the story goes, O’Meara gave Woods $100 on the spot and drove his cart home in disbelief without saying another word to Woods.
He shot 22-under for his last 63 holes
After Woods’ opening nine struggles, he would go on to shoot -22 after that, firing 66-65-69 over his final three rounds. He would make just three total bogeys in Rounds 2 through 4, at one point going 38-straight holes without a bogey.
On Augusta’s tricky greens, he didn’t three-putt all week
This was Woods’ first time playing Augusta National as a professional, and the fact that he didn’t have a single three-putt over the 72 holes remains one of the most mind-boggling stats from the week.
He averaged 323 yards off the tee for the week… in 1997
Some golfers at the 1997 Masters were still using persimmon drivers, but Woods had already started to use technology to his advantage. His average of 323 yards off the tee during the week was 23 yards more than the next-longest driver (only Scott Hoch also averaged more than 300 yards a pop that week, and just barely, at 300.3). The longest hitter for the season in 1997 was John Daly, who was the lone golfer to average more than 300 yards per drive. (Woods was second in ’97, averaging 294.8 yards).
He was the first minority golfer to win a major championship
Woods calls himself ‘Cablinasian’, a mix of his parents’ ethnicities – Caucasian, Black, Indian (Native American), and Asian, and given Augusta National’s treatment of minorities in the past and Woods’ own admission of experiencing racism growing up, the win was an important feat (beyond just golf).
He ate at Arbys every single night that week
Unveiled in Woods’ recent book on the 1997 Masters, he and his friends ate at Arbys, the fast-food chain in the U.S. – every night after his round was done. Although he ate either chicken or steak before the tournament for dinner, his superstitious friends made a point of stopping at Arbys after every round because he was playing well.
He played the Quad City DJs (loudly) driving down Magnolia Lane after he won
Another interesting nugget from Woods’ book: after his victory, and late on Sunday, he and his friends rolled down the window of his Cadillac courtesy car and blasted “C’mon N’ Ride It (The Train)” out of the stereo. Although unconfirmed, it’s likely this is the first time the Quad City DJs were played from a car stereo so loudly down Magnolia Lane.
He fell asleep fully clothed, clutching the Green Jacket like a blanket
After Woods’ champions dinner Sunday night, his drive down Magnolia Lane with his friends (and the stop at Arbys) the party continued into the wee hours of Monday morning where Woods fielded calls from U.S. President Bill Clinton and was visited by Nike President and CEO Phil Knight. The party concluded when no one could find the Masters champion. He had retreated to a bedroom, holding the Green Jacket over most of his upper body, and was fast asleep.
The Journey | Chris Streveler
This week we had a chance to catch up with the Derrick Henry of quarterbacks, Chris Streveler, to chat South Dakota Coyotes, his unconventional journey to the NFL and how the pandemic robbed us of seeing a bunch of little Chris Streveler parading around our neighbourhoods in jorts and a minx coat this Halloween season.
How’s it going Chris?
I’m good man. Just standing on my balcony…it’s warm. How’s the weather there? (chuckles)
I’m jumping right into this. You were a Golden Gopher for three years. You had moments at wide receiver, running back and tight end. You decided to transfer to South Dakota where you were able to compete and win the starting quarterback job. Once taking the helm, you thrived, ending your time throwing for 6,081 yards and 54 touchdowns. You were hailed with accolades earning a MVFC Offensive Player of the Year award in 2017 and was the runner-up for the Walter Payton award. I feel like your story and career to date has been a combination of some really incredible decision making on your part and a little bit of luck. Is that a fair assessment? And what was making that decision to transfer like for you?
Ya. It was a tough decision. I loved my time at Minnesota. I loved my teammates. It just came down to not getting an opportunity. My first two years I was playing quarterback and then, going into my third year, I was still the back-up. Being a big athletic guy I was kind of just trying to do whatever I could to get on the field. Long story short, it didn’t end up happening that season. I was playing receiver that spring and I spoke with the coaches. I wasn’t going to get my opportunity so I decided I would pursue going somewhere else.
The transfer process for me was interesting because there were a couple bigger schools that wanted me to actually continue playing receiver and a couple smaller schools that wanted me to play quarterback. South Dakota was the first school I visited. They wanted me to play quarterback and when I thought about that opportunity I had to jump at it. The coaching staff was really excited about adding me and I was really excited about the second chance to play quarterback again. I ended up making the call and that was the only visit I took.
Is it a fair assessment to say this was a breathe of new life into football for you?
That decision absolutely was a breathe of new life into football for me. That’s how I viewed it. It was a second chance at my career. I knew if I stayed at Minnesota my career would be over. I could have potentially become a special teams player and rod off into the sunset and been done. But I felt like I had more to offer and owed it to myself to give it a fair chance. If I don’t give it a chance I’m probably going to look back, down the road, and say damn I wished I had explored all the options. Going to South Dakota changed my entire outlook. When I moved there, well I wasn’t really supposed to be there, my career is supposed to be over. So I am going in with the mindset of giving this everything I have. I am not going to worry about making it to the next level. I am just going to go as hard as I can and try to help this program head in the right direction and win some football games. And that’s kind of what happened.
Isn’t that a crazy thing to look back on now, seeing where you find yourself today, a few years removed?
No, it’s so crazy. When I got down here to Arizona I had a little time to reflect. There were so many decisions that could have gone in a different direction that would have changed me being here. I am thankful that I have sort of made all the right decisions and had people around me pushing me in the right direction and giving me sound advice. It really is crazy, thinking back to that time where I am probably done playing football to here I am on bye week with the Arizona Cardinals. Crazy I guess, how things have panned out.
Do you think your time playing an array of positions at Minnesota sharpened the skillset?
Maybe not the skillset but it gave me a different perspective of the game. When you play quarterback pretty much your whole life you see the game from that perspective. Once you go out to receiver and you’re press coverage it’s a little different, when you’re at tight end or playing fullback and you have to go block a middle linebacker, you’re looking at life a little differently. It just gave me a different appreciation for what my teammates have to do on a daily basis
I think what a lot of people might not realize is that your Pro Day, that featured Dallas Goedert and Jake Wieneke, was attended by all 32 NFL teams. And your performance at your pro day would have put you atop of the QB class in all categories. You ran a 4.45 40, 125 broad and 38 1/2 vertical which outperformed a QB class that included Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold and Josh Allen. Your 40 would have actually put you ahead of teammate Christian Kirk by .02 seconds. What was your pro-day experience like? What was the pressure of that like?
I was juiced up for my pro day. I was excited to be there just because I hadn’t heard a lot from NFL teams. I was just hungry for that opportunity and it was an outstanding opportunity because Dallas went to South Dakota State and we all just combined for one pro day. Myself and some of my teammates were just excited to go out there one more time and do what we could. You’ve put in your time and work to that point so there is no point stressing about it. You just have to go out there and try to enjoy the moment. Leaving that day I felt pretty positive about it. I didn’t know where it was going to go from there but I was happy with the on-field performance.
What was your experience and knowledge with the CFL prior to coming to Winnipeg and what in your mind made this the best fit for you at the time?
I started to learn about it that December. I got a call from LaPo (Paul LaPolice). He introduced himself and told me about the Bombers and that I was on their neg list. At that point I googled Winnipeg. Determined it was 8 hours North of South Dakota, a straight shot up I-29. The reason I ended up by-passing a couple NFL training camps and mini camps was I knew it would just be an uphill battle, and not that I wasn’t willing to fight for it, I just knew I had another great opportunity with Winnipeg. That was just the best opportunity to get a fair chance and the way that ended up panning out, I couldn’t have made a better decision.
Did you view that as an opportunity to start a pro-career and carry on football or did you see it as a stepping stone to the NFL?
Not at all. For me, it was I get to play professional football for my job and from that point forward I was all in on that. I wasn’t thinking of the NFL. I was just worried about being the best CFL player I could be. I was just really excited to get that opportunity.
You signed with Winnipeg 7 days prior to Darian Durant announcing his retirement which essentially opened a door for you in terms of opportunity to compete for the back-up job off the bat. Maybe that is some of the luck. You would win this which ultimately lead to a week 1 start after injury. What was it like to be thrown into the fire and play the Canadian game week 1?
Yah, that was probably one of the craziest situations of my career in general. Just because coming up to Winnipeg, I’ve been there for 3 weeks and played in 2 preseason games and then Matt gets hurt the last practice of camp. I end up getting the call to start week 1. It was a whirlwind, trial by fire, just like you said, I wasn’t super comfortable with the game at that point. I didn’t necessarily know all the rules. I was kind of just out there relying on my teammates. Luckily, a lot of great veteran guys in the locker room that helped me through that process. And then try to have as much fun with it as I could, be myself.
There would be a number of plays that will stick with Bomber fans as case studies on why you were so beloved here in Winnipeg during your short tenure. The one that sticks to me is the is the West Semi-Final. You were the game’s leading rusher with 82 yards that included a 24 yard touchdown on what was a fracture in the ankle and a severe high-ankle sprain. What sticks out to you as the highlight moment on the field here in Winnipeg?
Ya, that’s my favourite play from my whole career, any level. For me it was just coming back form that injury when I was supposed to be out, supposed to be out for the season. To play in that game and score a touchdown late, it just meant so much to me to be out there with my teammates and getting that opportunity and being able to capitalize. I can’t really put it into words. A feeling I’ve never really have and I was just extremely proud to be out there with those guys and getting the win.
That and the Banjo Bowl at home against Sask. Getting to start that game was awesome. And obviously the Grey Cup and getting to play an interesting role, throwing a couple passes, catching a couple passes, getting in on the run, and getting to throw a touchdown.
That parade was a big thing for the city of Winnipeg. It was a celebration of that monkey off the back, ending the drought. What sticks out to you from that day?
It was an awesome day. One of the most enjoyable days I have ever had for sure. What I really remember, two things, number one just getting to be there and celebrate with my teammates and having another day with them. Especially being on that float I was on with just the QB’s. You go through a lot with those guys and we had a really tight knit group. We’d come in early every morning and meet. At the end of the day we were friends which isn’t always the case. Number two, was just the energy from the fans and the people there. Being on the truck with the Grey Cup people were jumping in the truck, people were bringing you beers, it was mayhem. There was a group of people that were just following us the whole way, that along with the people lining the streets. Pulling into the Forks you could see people as far as your eyes could see. That’s what made that day so special.
It’s really a shame that we are living in this pandemic world because I feel like we’d be handing out candy to a ton of little Chris Strevelers. One of those go to costumes. The jackets still in the closet?
I never even thought of that (laughing). I actually don’t have the jacket. It is still with my girlfriends mom up in Winnipeg. Didn’t make the trip down to AZ but I did come across the cowboy hat and the sunglasses the other day when I was moving. Collector’s items at this point. I got to hang on to these.
There seems to be a few connecting points to Winnipeg in Arizona. You have Kliff Kingsbury who held a spot on the QB depth chart for a season. You also have Cardinals QB coach Tom Clements who lead the Bombers to a Grey Cup in 1984. Has that common ground at all helped with the transition?
100% it has helped the transition. First thing that was brought up when I met Kliff was Winnipeg. He came up and we started chatting about how we liked to go to Earls when we were playing. That common ground makes for an easy conversation starter. He kind of brings it up a lot. Always bringing up the weather. It is cool to play for someone who understands where you came from. Not a lot of people down here have that knowledge of the CFL or respect for the CFL. But I, I do, having been up there. So playing for someone who knows what its like, has that respect for it, it’s refreshing.
Kliff only has had glowing things to say too, “I think I blacked that whole era of my life out. I retired immediately after my season there. I’ve never been that cold in my life. Great people, great football organization, and people were passionate about it, but I probably won’t be making any return trips.” haha. Hey Kliff. Come up here in summer. Golf is on us.
In week 1 you became the first CFL QB to register an NFL statistic in over a decade. The last being Jeff Garcia who recorded 3 carries for -2 and a fumble. What was that moment like for you to get the call and first step field?
I knew going into the game there was the potential for that to happen and to have that opportunity. For me, you try not to make the moment too big. Just focus on the task at hand. and what you have to do. Eerily similar to what would happen in the CFL. It’s 3rd and 1 and you get the “Hey Strevy, you’re in, QB sneak”. Pretty simple play, nothing too crazy, but obviously you still want to execute. Go out there and get the first down and keep the drive moving. That’s all I kind of put into that.
What’s it been like playing in empty stadiums for the most part?
It’s different. Its just one less outside factor. Bring your own juice. It’s your guys and it’s their guys and let’s line it up and play.
Arizona boasts an incredibly talented WR core that includes DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, and future Hall of Famer, Larry Fitzgerald. What has it like the first time meeting and throwing to those guys
Ya, getting to throw to those guys is awesome. I mean Fitz is a legend. They way he works on a daily basis, it’s just incredible. I have so much respect for that. Hop just makes every single play when the ball is thrown his way. And we have a lot of other guys that make a lot of plays as well. I try to make the most of every opportunity I get to throw with them. I take it as a challenge to try and put the ball right on the money. Any time I over throw Fitz. I’m just pissed because that’s the GOAT right there and I just wasted that rep for him. I want to make those reps count for those guys and help them as much as I can. They bring a lot of energy and leadership to the team and it’s fun.
Do you feel like you have had a “Welcome to the NFL” moment yet?
I don’t know if I have a welcome to the NFL moment. I haven’t played too much in games but the one kind of story I do have when I found out I made the team. we were coming in the next day for a lift and they kind of start cutting guys. At that point I kind of knew I made the team. The frist guy I saw when I sat down to eat breakfast was Fitz. Fitz goes “Hey Strevy, just want to be the first to congratulate you on making the team” and kind of dapped me up. That was kind of cool. Year 17 for Fitz. He’s a beast and he didn’t need to do that but I meant a lot to me. One of the cooler moments up to this point. Hopefully I have a few more.
Let’s say you get to do a jersey swap with one currently player in the NFL. Who would it be?
Interesting question. I’d have to say Tom Brady. Another GOAT. Someone I looked up to as a little kid and he’s still doing it at such a high level at that age. I have a lot of respect for him.
Favourite player growing up was Tom?
I had a couple. I always liked Reggie Bush growing up too. I was kind of an athletic little kid. I’d do my little Reggie Bush flip into the endzone in Pee Wee Football because I thought I had some juice back then.
You got your ring start of October. What was that moment like and who’d you get to share it with?
My girlfriend brought it down with her when she came down to Arizona. So I got to share it with her. I called some people. You know, it was so cool, when I put it on, I’ve never really worn jewelry. But when I put it on I was talking to her and I am acting totally different. Like you don’t even know this guy right now (chuckles). I was giving her a hard time. But to open that and reflect on the season and the guys it was pretty special.
Thanks for the time and all the best this season Strev. I think it is safe to say Winnipeg is pulling for you
P/C Derrick Spencer
Aaron Jones x Voak Sportswear
It’s not everyday one of the NFL’s brightest, up-and-coming, stars walks into your Winnipeg studio space for an afternoon chat. But he did, and after 45 minutes of talking football, entrepreneurship, El Paso and Winnipeg, Aaron cruised our racks and walked away with some of his favourite pieces. It was a humbling experience to see someone care, as much as we do, about our quality and attention to detail.
We didn’t hold a lot of expectation when he left but we kept in touch, and over the course of the 2019 season, Aaron incorporated a number of our pieces into his 2019 game day fits. A season that consisted of 1,558 all purpose yards and 19, yes 19, touchdowns.
Take a minute to digest this – out of all the players to have scored 19 touchdowns in a season: Earl Campbell, Jamaal Charles, Todd Gurley, Abner Haynes, Larry Johnson, Christian McCaffrey, Chuck Munice, Emmitt Smith and Jim Taylor, 7 were 1st round draft picks and the latest pick out of the group, Aaron Jones, in the fifth round 182nd overall. The 19th running back off the board that year. If that doesn’t motivate you I am not sure what will.
We ended up doing a few custom pieces for him and when the opportunity presented itself to carry on the game day fit tradition this year we jumped at the opportunity.
We are excited to collaborate with Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones on this limited edition Lambeau International Speedway long sleeve and tee that was a part of Aaron’s Week 7 fit at Houston. Every good running back is like a good race car driver: they have vision, are fearless, a fire in the gut to win, a calm and confident demeanour, never afraid to take calculate chances and fast, real fast. Aaron fits that bill.
We will be offering both a tee and longsleeve featuring a the same graphic he sported for this weeks game.These items will be offered as a presale that will run for 33 hours online at voaksportswear.com/shop. 50% of net proceeds from every sale will benefit the A & A All The Way Foundation founded by Alvin and Aaron Jones that launched earlier this week dedicating itself to impacting the lives of the nations youth through initiatives that inspire, educate and promote unity and diversity as well as charitable giving.
The Henderson Crew
Properly naming a product, at times, feels like as much work as the development of the product itself. That was the case with what would become the Henderson crew.
Growing up one of the first hockey books I owned was a hand-me-down from my father. A vintage, 96 page, slightly yellowed, but otherwise in excellent condition, copy of Face Off of the Century – 1972 Summit Series Program – Canada vs. USSR. I studied that book front to back but, for whatever reason, it wasn’t the iconic, series clinching, Yvon Cournoyer Paul Henderson embrace that stuck with me. Rather it was the image on page 64 that depicted Paul Henderson’s game 5 goal. The goal came at 4:56 into the 3rd period. What the photo doesn’t show, is that with 29 seconds left in the 2nd period, Henderson crashed hard into the boards and lay motionless for sometime. He had suffered a concussion, but refused to listen to the doctor’s and team advice to sit the rest of the game and instead came back for the 3rd only to score on his very next shift. Canada would end up losing game 5 but I can’t help but think that added fuel to the fire (though with what we know now about concussions…).
It is funny to me that this book and image still resonate with me 20 some years later. Oddly, even more impressive, is that I still have this book in my possession, stumbling across it a number of months back, a few days after approving our pre-production sample of our crewneck. The Henderson seemed like an appropriate name for this article of clothing. Paul Henderson’s impact on a nation and sport is still talked about, recollected and shared over cold beverages almost 50 years later. His impact and accomplishment is one that has transcended time itself and that is something we strive to do with our products. Each garment we bring to market is not only a reflection of our own tastes and expectations in a garment but we strive to craft product that is built and designed to last, much like the Paul Henderson story. You might not get 50 years out of it but if you take care of it, it will take care of you.
Sidenote: Paul Henderson should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame and this sweater should be in your closet.
The Henderson crewneck sweater is available Friday, October 16th at voaksportswear.com/shop.
The Post Game Book Club | Pedro by Pedro Martinez and Michael Silverman
We are excited to announce Pedro by Pedro Martinez and Michael Silverman as the first Post Game Book Club feature. We are also excited to announce our official partnership with Pedro Martinez. Over the course of the next month we will indulge in his bold, no-holds-barred memoir that lifts the curtain on one of the games most dominant and dynamic pitchers to ever play.
Before Pedro Martinez was the eight-time All Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner, and World Series champion, before stadiums full of fans chanted his name, he was just a little kid from the Dominican Republic who sat under a mango tree and dreamed of playing pro ball. Now in Pedro, the charismatic and always colorful pitcher opens up for the first time to tell his remarkable story.
Martinez entered the big leagues a scrawny power pitcher with a lightning arm who they said wasn’t “durable” enough, who they said was a punk. But what they underestimated about Pedro Martinez was the intensity of the fire inside. Like no one before or since, Martinez willed himself to become one of the most intimidating pitchers to have ever played the game.
In Pedro we relive it all in Technicolor brightness, from his hardscrabble days in the minor leagues clawing for respect; to his early formative years Montreal, where he first struggled with the reputation of being a headhunter; to his legendary run with the Red Sox when start after start he dazzled with his pitching genius; to his twilight years on the mound as he put the finishing touches on a body of work that made him an icon.
Bold, outspoken, intimate in its details, and grand in ego and ambition, this memoir by one of baseball’s most enigmatic figures will be sure to captivate sports fans alike.
Through our partnership with Pedro we will be offering a unique opportunity to get your copy of the book. Starting Friday (August 28, 10am CST) you can purchase a paperback copy of Pedro alongside a limited edition (numbered of 45) signed and inscribed print. Purchase of the book through the site is not a prerequisite for participation but each sale supports the Pedro Martinez Foundation and the ongoing work of Pedro and Carolina Martinez. But track down a copy any way you desire and jump in with us.
Book Club starts September 11th allowing ample time for delivery of your book and will conclude October 11th.
Any questions hit us up on social or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Launch of The Post Game Book Club
Over the years I have slowly began to compile a small library of athlete memoirs. It started four or five years ago when I decided to make a valid effort to read more. I have always enjoyed the autobiography and decided to go to the local book store without an agenda. I was rummaging through the discount book section and stumbled across a copy of Mike Tyson’s Undisputed Truth. I figured the 608 page book could at least serve as a fixture on the book shelf if it didn’t work out. However, it turned out to be a pretty interesting read that pulled back the curtain on a life that depicted a journey spanning the heights of stardom to the pitfalls of crime, substance abuse and infamy. I walked away from the book with an unexpected appreciation for Iron Mike’s ability to harness pain and neglect and turn it into fuel to rise to the pinnacle of his sport, all while trying to manage a life that was on its way to self-destruction.
Over the next few years the books began to pile up; Phil Jackson’s Eleven Rings, R.A. Dickey’s Wherever I Wind Up, Theoren Fleury’s Playing with Fire, Kobe Bryant’s The Mamba Mentality, Julian Edelman’s Relentless…the books began to occupy space but as I was plugging away on the creation of Voak Sportswear in 2018 it sparked an idea.
For those who have followed our brand journey over the past 10 years who may have entered our previous retail space. That space manifested a lot of relationships, connected us to people in the city, country and continent that today we would consider good friends. The space and the brand had created space to connect with people on a personal level. Get to know the people who had made connection to the brand and hear their stories. Conversations that spanned literally hours in the shop laid the foundation for friendships years after it closed. We miss that, I miss that connection so the The Post Game Book Club is going to be our first initiative to rekindle that connection.
The book club was not only born out of this interest to re-kindle authentic community but also as a hope to engage people beyond the brand. We have been fortunate enough to have collaborated and worked with a number of great athletes over the years and in conversation a common thread was the interest in reading. Reading in downtime, reading on long road trips and from this it sparked the idea for The Post Game Book Club.
The Post Game Book Club will set out to explores the profound, humorous and sometimes tragic stories in sport and become an extension of the Voak Sportswear community.
How does it work?
Over the course of year we will put forth a handful of books that will be part of The Post Game Book Club but each will come with a little twist and for that twist you will just have to stay tuned. To be in the know follow @voaksportswear and @postgamebookclub.
How to participate?
Each book will be offered on our website for a 2-3 week period where it can be purchased and shipped to you direct. If you have the book already, have a library card or want to support your local book store, that’s great too. Just get yourself a copy and follow our social accounts to ensure you get connected. We will post the designated read period on The Post Game Book Club account with an end date in which we will announce the wrap up social get together.
We will share excerpts and stories on the social account over the course of the read and hopefully great some opportunities for you as well along the way. Share the experience throw posts using the hashtag #PostGameBookClub on social and bring a friend along for the ride.
Who can participate?
Anyone and everyone.
What’s the first read?
Announcement coming tomorrow so make sure you are connected here, here and here. We are beyond excited about our first read.
Creative Direct Collection
The CDC (Creative Direct Collection) is live and giving you the opportunity to grab hold of the creative reigns.
We are giving you an opportunity to flex your creative skills by opening up access to a pair of graphics that are strongly rooted in our brand history as well as our core foundational pieces to create a very unique product.
Create your own colourway of our Maroons Road or Winnipeg Thunder graphic on any or our Rival tees, Coliseum long sleeves or Conference hoodies.
This opportunity runs for one week ending June 29th. This is a made to order product and as a result please allow 2-3 weeks from time of purchase.
All sales final. SHOP
The Print Project in Support of Local Winnipeg Business
There hasn’t been anything easy about the past number weeks.
This was the conversation we were having via text the other day – between a game of mini sticks, LEGO building and overall child management as we play our reoccurring roles as referee. We were chatting about life in isolation here in Winnipeg and how we both just craved warmer days, face-to-face interaction and to get back to business as usual. As we chatted the conversation shifted to local business and some of the ramifications this pandemic will have on some of our favourite establishments and businesses here in the city.
In light of the current situation we wanted to play a small role in supporting and encouraging the support of local business. We have partnered with sports artist, and friend of the Voak Sportswear brand, Ryan Simpson to collaborate on a limited run of prints. These prints will be available for purchase starting Friday, May 1st, at voaksportswear.com. They will come personally signed with the option for custom inscription giving you a head start on Father’s Day. 100% of the proceeds after covering costs will be immediately invested into local business here in Winnipeg in the form of gift card purchases, donations and a few small random acts for deserving people. We will be sharing some of these things with you in the coming weeks.
A number of these gift cards will be randomly included in with orders, so not only will you get a pretty unique piece of art/sports memorabilia but you might just get a gift card for one of our favourite Winnipeg businesses.
Support local business, take care of one another and let’s work together to get back to daily life,
Blake Wheeler Chris Watchorn
***Each 11″ x 14″ print will be signed in sharpie by Blake. If custom inscription is selected please ensure message to be inscribed is left in comments at checkout and proper spelling is provided. Inscriptions will be done exactly as shown. Blake has the right of refusal on inscriptions that are deemed offensive and/or inappropriate. All sales are final. Sale, gift card and coupon codes are excluded for use on this item with the exception of DROP at checkout for free doorstep delivery for Winnipeg orders. Gift cards included in with orders are random and may vary in price range of $40 to $200. They have no cash value and can only be redeemed for the amount on card with the specific business once reopen. They will ship in approximately 1 in 5 shipments. Please allow 7-14 days for delivery.
Self Isolation Capsule Collection
When we took the initiative to follow suit and self isolate on March 16 we decided to spend the first couple days holed up and try to foster some creativity. We rummage old ‘inspo’ folders and conducted an exercise of uncharted creativity over the course of a few days to see what would surface. We didn’t have any expectations of the exercise but what came of it were some pretty fun concepts, visuals and narrative. For a brand that’s primary focus is timeless premium Canadian made basics, graphic based pieces don’t have a big roll in what we do on a regular basis.
As the realization set-in that this might be a longer than anticipated stay inside we began toying with the idea of putting some of these concepts out into the world as a small capsule collection. This capsule would allow us to support some of our manufactures and the local economy during a time it is needed most. With over 90% of our product made here in Canada our vendors survival is integral to our stability and future.
As a result we have decided to release the SIC Collection (Self Isolation Capsule Collection) during the duration of self isolation. Each piece will be in very limited quantities. This capsule allowed us to directly support a handful of designers, embroiderers, screen printers and our primary manufactures so know that your support not only helps us weather the storm but those integral to our success. Each release is printed on some of our favourite foundational pieces like our Rival tees and Coliseum long sleeve.
Spring/Summer 2020 | Versus Collection
The Versus collection was heavily influenced by our past, present and future. Inspired by the nature of competition – to be the best. The collection was inspired by those defying the odds. Those who come from nothing. Those not looking for a hand out but a hand up. For those who have yet to see their hard work and dedication pay off. For those who are resilient and wired to persevere. Those who have had their back against a wall and written their way out. For those who have used every bone in their body to define their destiny. Those who let their game do the talking for them. Those who won’t let their dreams be dashed by a ’no’ or ‘can’t’. Those who have been put in a a box but mustered their way out. Those who have conquered, defeated and overcome. It’s for those who have reached their limit and found the reserve tanks. Those who have stayed in their lane and those who have taken the road less traveled.
It’s for those whose only opponent is themselves.
It’s a part of our brand DNA.
Our first pieces drop Friday with the release of our New Era headwear collection. The range consists of 3 New Era 59Fifty fitted caps and one of their newer silhouettes the casual classics. The casual classics is the epitome of comfort constructed from lightweight, heavy-washed cotton with cloth strap closure. Relaxed fit for days at home in your new basement home office. All four caps are extremely limited.
The Social Distance Gifting Project
The landscape of day-to-day life has changed and it appears more change will come before life retreats back to convention. The home office, spare bedroom, kitchen island or rarely used basement corner has become our new anti-social work place and daily social engagement is on the back burner. Our communication and engagement with friends, co-workers and family has been limited to FaceTime sessions, Houseparty meet-ups and phone calls.
The Social Distance Gifting Project gives you the chance to gift Voak Sportswear to a friend, sibling, father-in-law, grandfather, health care professional or someone making a difference in your community.
Here is how it works.
Starting now and running until Sunday 10pm CST all orders made at voaksportswear.com will quality you for an equal match gift for a friend. Buy a Rival tee and gift a Rival tee, snag a Conference hoodie and send a Conference hoodie, for FREE, we handle the packing and shipping.
Simply purchase an item(s) for yourself online and then enter a size and colour for the gifted item (if required) in the order notes at checkout along with a mailing address and personalized message (if you like) and we will ship the gifted item to the person on your mind on your behalf.
***One item per transaction qualifies to be gifted. Please specify which item in order notes at checkout. If item is a sized item with different colour options please specify your gift item in detail or else same item will be shipped. Gifted items can be shipped within North America only. Excludes gift cards. Not valid with any other promotions. All sales are final though exchanges can be arranged within Winnipeg at a later date if required.
Thank you to everyone who has supported our business during these last few weeks. Although the economic impacts of COVID-19 are difficult for us and small businesses alike, we will make it through. Our team is working remote to do our part, while still dispatching all orders on-time daily via Canada Post and FedEx who are deemed essential services, so at this time we do not expect any delays in delivery.
And for those who are able – stay at home so we can get back outside.
The landscape of day-to-day life has changed and it appears more change will come before life retreats back to convention. For small business and brand owners, like ourselves, we have been presented with a hurdle and some opportunity. We have been tasked with the ability to adapt. Though our primary task is curbing corna our equally important one is how do we stay relevant and viable during this time of limitation and constraint. Fortunately for us, we enjoy these challenges but the harsh reality is that life will change for a number of entrepreneurs when the dust settles in all of this. So I will go on a tangent and say support local business during this time if and when you can. Amazon is great. I use it regularly. But I don’t when I have the opportunity to put those dollars into my immediate community. I encourage you to do the same.
I also encourage you to capitalize on this opportunity when it comes to time.
Over the last week or so we, in North America, have ventured out into a bit of an unknown daze. Life that was once routine has become uncharted territory. The home office, spare bedroom, kitchen island or rarely used basement corner has become our new anti-social work place. Our new focus is the practice of social distancing and review of community mitigation strategies. We have canceled first dates, weekly dinner parties and morning gym sessions in the name of slowing the spread – a very important practice to ensure we limit the spread of COVID-19. Not just as a practice for self but for other’s who might not have the same health luxuries that we might. We all need to buy into this if we can get back to life as we knew it.
The new daily challenges for us are how to stay healthy and active, connected, entertained and creative within our four walls. Most of us aren’t use to this self isolation and free time. We have long found comfort in packing our lives from sunrise to sunset. For some of us, we are still conducting business as usual form our home, others will find themselves with an abundance of free time. Whether you are just saving the time of the morning and evening rush hour commute or find yourself with 8 hours at your disposal – we have been presented with the opportunity of uninterrupted time and an opportunity for self.
For everyone this opportunity will look different, but at the core, it is very rare opportunity for personal fulfillment. A window of time where we can dust off that nightstand notepad with a growing list of personal resolutions or re-visit that long forgotten project. Maybe jotted down was a desire to write a business plan, apply for funding or enroll in an online course and learn a new skill. A desire to write more, read more, play more. To pick-up that camera you got for Christmas or that guitar that has been collecting dust under your bed. Maybe it was for some much needed mental or physical self care (which is probably something we all should be scheduling in). Or maybe it is as simple as building that LinkedIn page to network and reasses a career goal.
If any of that resonates. I am happy for you. Now it is just about getting started and breaking ground on your new found opportunity. I encourage you to refrain from procrastination or worse to just shutter into decreased productivity. That Netflix binge or IG catch-up can, and most likely will, quickly send you down a mindless worm hole and eat into this valuable time allotment we have been granted.
Netflix will still be there when the dust settles.
This time, won’t.
The Dream Factory Wrap-Up
We didn’t spend the money on a big fancy photo-op cheque today but today was a special day for us as we were able to present The Dream Factory with a cheque for $10,000.
This past year we put our heads together with Josh Morrissey of the Winnipeg Jets. Josh is a proud ambassador of The Dream Factory here in Winnipeg and goes above and beyond to support the work of the foundation. We wanted to find a way to creatively fulfill the dream of a much deserving child here in Manitoba. After some conversation we decided to go a bit off the board and create a necktie, something Josh could work into his daily game day attire as a sign of support and a reminder of the many children and families here in Manitoba who were dealt a hand that no family should have to face.
The Dream Factory’s mission is pretty straight forward: to make dreams come true for kids in Manitoba battling life-threatening illnesses. They exist to be a source of joy, laughter and hope for kids and families in our province going through an incredibly difficult experience. Their belief is that sometimes kids deserve to be carried away. For children battling life-threatening illnesses, their dreams are what help lift their spirits and carry them to a place where things aren’t so difficult. That could be a far-off adventure, a meeting with their hero, or simply time spent laughing with their family.
Thanks to the backing of TNSE on the project we were able to include the tie amongst our holiday collaborative product and reach our goal. Josh, myself and The Dream Factory all want to extend our sincere gratitude to everyone who purchased the tie and gifted it over the holiday season. There are still a handful of these ties in Jets Gear store and we would love to have them clear out of there so we can explore opportunities like this again in the future to support other Winnipeg and Canadian based organizations.
A Reflection | Kobe Bryant
It was early 2004 and I found myself suspiciously walking a corridor of the HealthSouth Center in El Segundo, California. Day one’s anticipation of meeting Luc Robitaille had quickly shifted when I caught a glimpse of the Big Aristotle headed towards the Lakers gated asphalt.
The corridor was a rarely used Kings entrance to the Lakers gated lot that was home to a fleet of unattainable luxury. At the time, the King’s all parked in the sister lot out front of the building, but the Lakers, the Lakers were royalty. They were one year removed from their 3 consecutive titles of the early 2000’s and would be on their way back to another finals appearance later that season.
I popped my head out of the door into the Lakers lot, locked in on Shaq, and began walking with a demeanour that I belonged in that lot. I was approaching 10 feet when a security guard, who had been chatting with Shaq, took quick notice of the 155 lb 5’11” Waldo in the lot and intercepted my path, asking to see some credentials. I had credentials but not of the purple and gold variety and was promptly ask to return to the King’s portion of the facility.
I bought myself some time and the brief attention of Shaq, “Is this not where the King’s park? I am supposed to grab something for Sean from his car”. Sean being Sean Avery, the first person that had come to mind as blood pumped through my veins with the excitement that I might just meet Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq chuckled and made his way to the driver side of his Superman adorned Escalade.
“No sir, this is the Laker’s only parking. Head back through that door, down the hall and out the main doors on the left, you’ll find his vehicle there”, as he directed me back to my place of origin. I had bought myself just enough time to hear a fan yell through the fence to Shaq. “Yo Shaq, where Kobe at?”
“Kobe, never leaves the gym bro”.
Though I exhausted every effort, I never did caught a glimpse of the Black Mamba on that trip but I was reminded of Shaq’s insight into the work ethic of one of the greatest players to play the game when the news of yesterday’s tragedy flooded the feeds.
Yesterday served as a sobering reminder of the fragile and temporary nature of life. A reminder that we can do our best to strategically plan out our future, carefully attempt to script out each chapter and rehearse the game plan over and over until it becomes second nature. But the harsh reality, we don’t know how it ends. We can’t control or prepare for our last breath, our last conversation or our last goodbye.
What this tragedy has brought to light is the scope and impact that Kobe had on a worldwide audience. As Phil Jackson simply put it, “Kobe was special in many ways to many people”. Like all of us, he wasn’t perfect. But his work ethic, determination, dedication to his craft and family mixed with an inability to accept mediocrity in his life resonated with a large audience.
It’s disheartening that we will never get to see how this Mamba Mentality will translate to Kobe’s second act of life as an author, creator, mentor, coach and father but what we can take from it I think is of incredible value. Sports are full of cliche, the exact opposite of what Kobe stood for, but I think this story, The Kobe Story, serves as a cliche reminder that life is short. You get from this life what you put into it and each day presents us with an opportunity to be or make a difference. Though Kobe and Gianna are no longer with us we still have the opportunity to define our legacy.
Rest in peace Gianna and Kobe Bryant, John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah and Payton Chester and Ara Zobayan. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kobe’s greatest loves – Vanessa and the girls – the Bryant family and those who considered Kobe a friend, peer or inspiration.
The Fit | Aaron Jones
Green Bay running back Aaron Jones has had a season. Week 14 was a monster rushing for a season-high 134 on just 16 carries and hauling in six passes for 58 yards and a TD. Impressive stat line on his way to his third 100-yard rushing game of the season.
He followed that up in week 15 with 51 yards on 13 attempts and rushing for 2 TDs on the way to the Packers third win in a row. Not too shabby.
We were stoked to see Aaron stroll into Lambeau in week 14 and 15 repping a little Voak Sportswear. First in our Conference hoodie and Sideline jogger with a custom 1 of 1 tee we put together that of course had to feature imagery of the week 5 “$10,000 wave”. He followed it up with our Prospect hoodie in week 15.
Photos Evan Siegle
Voak Sportswear x The Winnipeg Jets
We are excited to announce our partnership with the Winnipeg Jets on a Heritage Capsule Collection for Holiday 2019.
The collection consists of two New Era 9Fifty snapbacks, two of our 400GSM Canadian milled and manufactured Hafford hoodies accented with full tonal twill appliqué and embroidery crest and a Canadian made 100% acrylic toque with matching tonal embroidered logo.
All product goes on sale December 12th at Jets Gear store locations.
The Dream Factory Necktie
When we first had the chance to chat with Josh about the tie there were a few things we set as design parameters. The first, and most important for us, was how we were going to use the concept of a tie to reach a goal of $10,000 raised in support of the Dream Factory. $10,000 is the average cost to fulfill a dream for a very deserving child and we wanted to use the project and opportunity to do just that. Just as important for us was to create a tie that was going to be accessible to everyone from a cost and availability perspective.
After thorough fabric exploration and review of a handful of tangible samples we had our winner. The tie we proceeded with is a fairly standard 3.5″ width silhouette that is a textured 100% silk weave. The tie is refined and subtle but intricate and thought out in detail. Unlike some of the wool/silk blends we explored, we felt the silk allowed the tie to be a year round staple associating with smart suiting and formal sophisticaton while working equally as well with a more casual wardrobe. A hardworking tie with subtle detailing that includes a premium interlining fabrication, J.M.44 woven label loop and a Voak branded tipping fabric done in The Dream Factory colours.
The Voak Sportswear x Josh Morrissey necktie is bound to become an indispensable part of your sartorial repertoire. The tie is limited to 300 pieces and will be available at all Jets Gear locations beginning later this week. The tie will retail for $59.99.
Bring your proof of purchase to our pop-up at 232 Main St between December 10th and 21st to be entered to win a signed Josh Morrissey Jersey as well as a signed Josh Morrissey game used stick. 2 winners announced on December 22nd.
Josh Morrissey x Voak Sportswear In Support of The Dream Factory
We take great pride in the city of Winnipeg. We also feel this same sense of pride when we see individuals using their talents, skills, and platforms for the betterment of those who call this city home. Winnipeg has a lot of talent and creativity and we get to witness it every day.
When we launched Voak Sportswear, we wanted to make it a mandate to be a part of this positive push and to give back to the community, a community that has support us over the past number of years. This season we were presented with the opportunity to collaborate with the Winnipeg Jets in celebration of the Heritage Classic and 2019/20 season. We saw this as a chance to use the platform for something special and unique.
We are pretty diehard sports fans, and aside from enjoying games on field, court, and ice, we also enjoy the component of game day attire and the personal expression it has become for athletes. One of which, that has stuck out to us, has been Josh Morrissey. Josh’s approach to game day attire has often caught our eye, whether it was a perfectly tailored overcoat spotted on his way to the rink or a bespoke suit and tie pairing for a post-game chat with media. We also hold admiration for his active involvement in the community as a hands-on ambassador of The Dream Factory and this sparked the necktie project.
At first, a necktie design may appear to be out of the ordinary for a brand like Voak Sportswear, who specializes in Canadian fleece and casual athletics but hold that thought.
We reached out to Josh and pitched him on a collaborative necktie. Fortunately, Josh resonated with our idea of the necktie and the mission behind it and we immediately began combing through reference material to create a tie that reflected Josh’s style and aesthetic. Each detail of the tie has been meticulously mulled over from top to bottom. From the sihouette of the tie, interlining weight, and tipping fabric, right down to the JM44 siganture logo that came over text after a session reviewing fabrics.
Our vision for the project is to raise $10,000 for The Dream Factory; the equivalent of one dream fulfilled for a very deserving child. At The Dream Factory, the mission is quite clear: to make dreams come true for kids in Manitoba battling life-threatening illnesses. They exist to be a source of joy, laughter and hope for kids and families in our province going through an incredibly difficult experience. All of the funds raised stay in this province to help local children. Everything they do is focused on helping sick kids and their families.
“Everything that we do starts with the belief that sometimes kids deserve to get carried away. For children battling life-threatening illnesses, their dreams are what help lift their spirits and carry them to a place where things aren’t so difficult. That could be a far-off adventure, a meeting with their hero, or simply time spent laughing with their family.” – The Dream Factory
Thanks in part to TNSE and the Winnipeg Jets the tie will be available exclusively at Jets Gear Stores across the city middle of December. With their wholesale commitment to the project and additional donation of a portion of their sales we will be able to achieve and hopefully exceed our $10,000 goal by years end. With that said, a pre-order will be up on the site next week allowing you local pick-up at our pop-up ensuring you access to the tie. Tune in next week to our social for more info on the tie itself and make sure to sign up to our mailing list for information on when the tie pre-order goes live.
Josh and I want to extend our sincere gratitude for your support of The Dream Factory through the purchase of the collaborative product. Welcome to the Dream Factory family.
A special thanks to Simeon Rusnak and the Co-Pilot family, Reid Valmestad and Austin MacKay, for their donations of time and skillsets in bringing the visuals of the project to life. Ryan Pollard for access to the Fortune Building to give these visuals context. Anders Strome and Dan Suga at TNSE. And Howard Koks, Andrew Kussy and the staff and volunteers at The Dream Factory for their continued work.
Winnipeg Holiday Pop-Up
Earlier this year the Pollard family completed their extensive, almost three year, restoration of the Fortune and McDonald Blocks. For years the prominent heritage building sat unoccupied and in disarray, in need of significant time, money and energy to return it to its glory days. The Fortune Block had been vacant, the heat shut off to the 2nd and 3rd floors for almost 50 years, the only inhabitants; pigeons and mice.
The building itself has a storied history. The city was 10 years old and had a population of 7,900 when Mark Fortune completed the Fortune building. Upon completion, he immediately sold it to Alexander McDonald (one of the founder of the Manitoba Free Press, president of A. Macdonald & Co. grocers, president of Great-West Life Assurance Company, president of the White Star Manufacturing Company and president of the Canada Free Trade League). In 1910, Macdonald was listed as one of Winnipeg’s 19 millionaires.
Mark Fortune would go on to found the Winnipeg Real Estate Board and be a founding member of St. Charles Country Club before building 393 Wellington Crescent in 1911, the year before he lost his life upon the Titanic.
After our first walk through of the building we knew we had found a home for our showroom and studio space. We were excited to be the first tenants in the building and have been thrilled to see others join the space.
We will be posted up at 232 Main St within one of the Fortune Block’s retail/commericial spaces currently available for lease during the month of December. Come through, shop and check out the building (across the street from Earls on Main near the Forks).
Heritage Classic Weekend
We are excited to be a part of the Heritage Classic festivities in Regina, SK this weekend with a pop-up going on Thursday and wrapping up Saturday prior to puck drop.
For those unfamiliar with what exactly the Heritage Classic is, I will break it down for you.
The Heritage Classic is one of the outdoor games played as part of the NHL regular season schedule. The game is one of three outdoor games along with the Winter Classic and Stadium Series. The Heritage Classic is the infrequent of the three that has exclusively featured Canadian teams, with the first hosted by Edmonton at Commonwealth Stadium in 2003.
This years game is the first time the game will be played in a city other than one of the two participating teams. Though in Regina, the home team for the game will be Winnipeg, so get your red, white and blue on.
We have decided to take the liberty to map out your Saturday agenda.
9:00-10:00 – Coffee and Donuts at The Everyday Kitchen. Here’s why – Katie is the only maker of sourdough donuts in North America and they are game over delicious. Don’t sleep on the donuts. Solid chance they are sold out before noon. Great spot to hang-out and feel that local atmosphere in the popular Warehouse District.
9:00-10:00 – And while you’re loitering in the old Weston Bakery space, known as Local Market YQR walk five steps over and visit us at our pop-up and play some foosball. Challenge us to a first-to-three foosball game. If you end up on the winning side, which is very possible given the dust on our game, we will give you 15% off your purchase.
10:00-11:30 – Power nap. You’re going to be up late.
11:30-1:00 – Grab lunch at Avenue Restaurant and Bar. Avenue is run by Top Chef Canada winner, Dale MacKay, well known for his Saskatoon establishments Ayden Kitchen and Bar, Little Grouse on the Prairie, and Sticks and Stones. All incredible. Avenue is his first venture in the Queen City and sure to hit the spot. Guests can expect old-school dishes made with high-level techniques. MacKay said they will elevate classics like Beef Wellington, souffles and perogies. If you want something a little quicker the recommendation is Italian Star Deli.
2:00-5:00 – Lots of options for the afternoon window. You can grab a beverage at JC Lipon approved Cathedral Social Hall or head to Pile O’ Bones boasting just about every local beer on tap. Tucked inside of Pile O’ Bones is one of Regina’s best Mexican spots, Malinche. Malinche is an authentic Mexican food project started by Mariana Brito that broke ground as a backyard food pop-up and evolved into one of the cities top food trucks, and now also calls the brewery home. A great early afternoon snack or pre-game dinner.
Other afternoon recommended stops include:
District Brewing Company
Watch some Cougar action as the Regina Cougars take on Mount Royal Cougars.
5:00-6:00 Get back here to Local Market YQR and have some beverages courtesy of Paperback Bev Co., one of Regina’s top mixologist, and dig in to some food at their pop-up. Yesterday featured pulled pork and beef dip sandwiches that were both home runs. Leave the car and hop on a free shuttle offered just down the street to head over to the fan fest and the game.
6:00-7:30 – Take in the pre-game festival at Confederation Park (1700 Elphinstone St) next to Mosaic Stadium. No ticket or admission to participate. Make sure to check out the Stanley Cup, which will be on hand from 2:30pm to 6:30pm, and if you brought the kids make sure to hit the Upper Deck booth to have your very own trading card produced.
Thanks for having us Regina.
Regina Heritage Classic Pop-Up
We are excited to be packing up and heading West for our first ever pop-up in Regina to coincide with the Heritage Classic and festivities leading up to the big game between the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets at Mosaic Field.
We will be set-up October 24th through October 26th at Local Market YQR (1377 Hamilton St) a social hub in the Warehouse District of Regina minutes from downtown and Mosaic Stadium.
Thanks to Tourism Regina and Regina Warehouse District the space will be transformed into a hockey headquarters for the week and weekend by Tourism Regina and Regina Warehouse District with vintage arcade style hockey games and licensed on the Thursday and Friday evening prior to the outdoor game.
Come through and chop it up, shop it up and play some arcade style games over a few beverages. We will have some new product dropping at the pop-up so come through and shop F/W 19.
October 24th 10am-9pm
October 25th 10am-9pm
October 26th 9am-2pm
Inquiries can be directed to email@example.com
Time Out | JC Lipon
In light of the up-coming Heritage Classic festivities we linked up with Regina native and Winnipeg Jet prospect, JC Lipon, to chat Regina, the significance of #34 and life as a Jet.
Regina boasts a number of successful athletes – accomplished Olympians to celebrated hockey players. Compile a foursome of Regina born, past or present, athletes you would enjoy an afternoon on the water with.
I would go with athletes that grew up in the valley in the summer and who I’ve had some great memories with… Mcmorris brothers, Ashley Leugner (pro women’s rider) and Jamie Heward.
Theoretically, you’re hosting a few guys form your 2013 WJC team and doing a tour of local Regina food and beverage establishments. Who are you inviting down from the 2013 Canadian World Junior squad and where do you take the guys?
World juniors seems like a very long time ago. We had a very good team that lockout year, lots of talent. The four guys I would invite would be Mark Scheifele, Ty Rattie, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Boone Jenner. We would head to the Cathedral Social Hall.
And what story from that tournament in Russia or camp is the group most likely to hysterically reminisce over?
Lots of memories from that trip to Russia, but I would have to say the fact that Team Canada rented out a whole hotel for us and whenever we went to the rink, we got escorted by two cops cars… one car at each end of the bus.
During the summer you make the regular trips out to the family cottage out near Fort Qu’Appelle. What’s cued up on the playlist?
Music is a huge part of everything I do, and enjoy everything from rock to hip hop. However, a little Alan Jackson, or Travis Tritt.
I imagine going undrafted in 2012 motivated you and put a little chip on your shoulder. One year later you go in the 3rd round to Winnipeg. Where were you and who gave you the call to welcome you to the Winnipeg Jets?
I never had too many expectations at the time as my last two years of junior went a lot smoother then my first two. But the year I got drafted was a cool year because everything came together and I finally knew that I could play pro. I didn’t attend the draft, I just invited a crew out to the lake and had a regular day till my name was called, which was a dream come true.
You made your NHL debut against the Colorado Avalanche, that oddly enough, had you face-off against one of the owners of your former junior team (the Kamloops Blazers) in Jarome Iginla. What’s the first memory to come from that evening and getting the call from then coach Keith McCambridge?
That was definitely really cool, and we got to talk about it at the Kamloops Blazer golf Alumni Tournament, awesome moment. First call up, I was in Charlotte taking a nap before our game that evening and normally I don’t answer calls during my nap, but good thing I did. Had to pack up and head back to Winnipeg.
You’re an accomplished wakeboarder having competed at World’s in Reno, Nevada and having taken home a Canadian National Wakeboarding title over good friend and Regina born Mark McMorris (fact check me if I am wrong on this). How competitive do you Mark and Craig get behind the boat and who is most likely to come out on top these days?
I get behind the boat probably more then them in the summer, however my contract terms are a little different then there’s Lol. We would be pretty similar on the water, although, they’re still getting inverted on the daily so who knows.
We love good stories and I feel like any time spent with the McMorris’ result in that, good stories. What’s your fondest story – that you can share?
I was skateboarding with my little brother and he was with his when we were around 8 at the lake and they approached us and first thing they said was… “Hey dude, can you do a kickflip?”. I did one, and we all became friends.
Best Regina hidden gem (food or drink)?
When and how did you inherit the nickname Gator and who is is responsible for claiming the chiclet from the JC Lipon smile?
I got the name when I was playing junior in my last year because my brother was playing with me. It got confusing hearing “Lippy” all the time. This movie had this gator reference in it and my roommate thought it was hilarious and started testing it out. Then I changed my twitter handle to Jgator, and then it went from there. And the tooth. This guy was playing against me in beer league, and didn’t really know the common courtesy of keeping your stick down… knocked it out. But I was playing with my dad, when we got home my mom was mad at my dad for some reason…
In 2006, the hockey community and Winnipeg hockey community lost Todd Davison after a long battle with Synovial Sarcoma. Over the course of your junior career and professional career you have worn number #34. What does that number mean to you?
It’s means the world to me. I was in my first year of bantam, when they called us and broke the news. At that time I was a good player but very tiny. Todd was also very small, but feared no one. I started to take hockey a lot more serious at that time, and both brothers motivated me a lot. I watched them play for Regina Pats and would always brag about them. Went on and made a career of it and got drafted to the city where the Davison family resides. His dad, Bob, has treated me like a son, takes me into his home during training camp, attends games when he can. So it’s pretty cool.
Range Rover or G-Wagon? Wake surfing or wakeboarding? Bass or Walleye fishing? Craven or Stampede? Spittin’ Chiclets or Joe Rogan? Wranger or Levi’s? Gordie Howe Hat Trick or regular season OT game winner?
Gwagon, Wakeboard, Walleye, Craven, Chiclets, Levi’s, Game Winner.
It’s October 17, 2005 and the dust from the ‘Malice at the Palace’ is yet to settle. The National Basketball Association is on damage control. The task at hand, repairing the image of the league and its players. Following the events in Auburn Hills Commissioner David Stern begins the process of PR image restoration. New league requirements are put in place: players are now required to sign autographs following pregame warm-ups and the NBA launches the NBA Cares Initiative. However, the most public alteration comes in the form of a mandatory dress code for all NBA and NBA Development League players. The first major professional sports league to implement a formal mandate.
Up until now the league and its players have worn a combination of baggy sweats, oversized throwbacks, Timberland boots and other early 2000 staples. Stern’s dress code bans nearly everything in the closets of some the leagues brightest superstars. In addition, t-shirts, jeans, jewelry and do-rags are axed as appropriate game day and official NBA event attire. The league officially adopts “business casual attire”.
• A long or short-sleeved dress shirt (collared or turtleneck), and/or a sweater.
• Dress slacks, khaki pants, or dress jeans.
• Appropriate shoes and socks, including dress shoes, dress boots, or other presentable shoes, but not including sneakers, sandals, flip-flops, or work boots.
It doesn’t take long for players to vocalize their discourse regarding the application of the dress code which strikes a nerve with a number of the Association’s African-American stars. At the root of the opposition is the view that the dress code is a deliberate attempt to distance the league from the hip-hop culture, a culture that is woven into the DNA of many of its players. Allen Iverson, that seasons points-per-game leader, declares it as a targeted attempt on his generation and the hip-hop generation, while Jason Richardson calls the dress code “kind of racist targeting blacks”.
The dress code rolls into effect for the 2005-06 NBA season. The first round of fines are issued on December 6th and include 13 players all popped for wearing shorts that exceed the 1″ above the knee mandate. The $10,000 short fine goes out to players that include Nate Robinson, Stephon Marbury, Kyle Krover, Jermaine O’Neal, Stephen Jackson, Jamaal Tinsley and the outspoken and opposed, Allen Iverson. On top of the individual fines each team is fined $50,000 for each violation. The Players Association appeals the fines.
As the seasons went on the dress code proved to be mutually beneficial and evolved. It didn’t take long for players to begin to embrace the change. A rule once despised, spawned competition amongst natural competitors and opened doors to new financial opportunities. Trends popped up over night thanks to game day tunnel walk from the likes of Russell Westbrook, James Harden, PJ Tucker, LeBron James, Chris Paul and D’Angelo Russell. The inner arena concrete runways began to be a nightly showcase of individuality and designer fashions from around the globe.
It’s inevitable that the NBA and its players would have transitioned to this sea of tastemakers we get to witness on weekly basis from October through April. Sure, it may have taken a bit longer or maybe wouldn’t have evolved to the state it is today. But I think we can all agree that the NBA is the most stylish league around.
I don’t know if we should credit Ron Artest for throwing bows at the Palace, David Stern with pulling out the PR life support paddles or Allen Iverson’s call for individuality and person expression. What I do know is the league and it’s players have made their mark on fashion and have added a level of game-day intrigue for fans of the sport and industry.
The Greatest Sport Prop to Grace the Big Screen
“To be honest. I was pretty scared. Actually really scared. So nervous in-fact, that on the day the movie came out and the whole Odyssey crew headed town to Del Mar to see the movie – I sat alone”. – Vikash Sanyal (Vice President Marketing Odyssey Sport Inc.)
Vikash Sanyal had his hand in many of Odyssey Sports day-to-day operations. Fresh out of University he was spending 50-60 hours a week implementing a marketing strategy from the ground up for Odyssey Golf. After checking the University job posting board he saw a small cue-card posting from a golf equipment manufacturer looking for a head of production. After a two-hour job interview the CEO, Michael Magerman, offered to create a marketing position for Viaksh. He recalls his early tasks included introducing demo days, telemarketing, public relations, hustling putters out on tour with a little product placement work. Years later, as he reminisces on this time at Odyssey Sport Inc., you can tell that the Gilmore putter is right up there with some of his fondest moments. Probably somewhere just beneath his role in growing the Odyssey brand to the point where Odyssey Sports Inc. was acquired by Callaway Golf for $130M.
The beginnings for Odyssey were lean and humble. So lean in fact that when Vikash joined Odyssey in 1990 him and founder Michael Magerman came to an agreement that Vikash’s would defer his salary for a year and a half in exchange Odyssey Golf would pay to cover his Masters education when he decided to go back to school.
Things weren’t just lean for golf start-up putter company. The budget for Tim Herlihy, Judd Apatow and Adam Sandler’s famous one-liner laced script – Happy Gilmore – was just as lean.
“We wanted Chris (McDonald) for shooter. He read it and was yeah, yeah, sure I’ll do it. His agent calls and says he can’t do it. So I call him and I go – I thought you wanted to do this movie? He goes on to say he just filmed two movies in a row, on location, and just couldn’t be away from the family again. I responded with something like – It’s summer. We will rent you a house (we had no money or authority to do this). We will rent you a house on the water for you and the family. It will be like a summer vacation. You play golf with Adam all day and you go back to your family at night.” – Dennis Dugan (Director – Happy Gilmore)
That’s how Director Dennis Dugan recalls them securing Christopher McDonald who most people still see on the street and yell out, “Shooter”. Dennis would also fulfill the role of Tour Commissioner Doug Thompson and it would be Dennis who would make the pitch to Odyssey’s Vikash Sanyal for a putter resembling a hockey stick.
Vikash requested a script to read through before making the pitch to his mentor and company President. Odyssey was a company built on innovation and technology and though this was a far call from a traditional golf movie, Odyssey had never been scared to think and market outside the box. After reading through the script it was evident that the movie would sit alongside titles like Caddy Shack and Vikash made the pitch.
“I have a faint memory of Vikash coming into my office and telling me about this opportunity to make a hockey stick putter for an Adam Sandler movie. At the end of our conversation I think I said something like we would do it if 1) we put an insert into the front of the blade like our existing product line 2) have the Odyssey logo and name on the back” – Michael Magerman (President Odyssey Sport Inc.)
Vikash worked alongside David Duffy, Production Manager of Odyssey, on the putter and sent a finished product away to Dennis. It would receive the green light and the team made 5.
“If I recall correct we made 3 of the putters for the movie and kept 2 in the office should something arise while filming” – Vikash Sanyal (Vice President Marketing Odyssey Sport Inc.)
Leading up to the release of the film Vikash recalls requesting a pre-screen or VHS of the movie in hopes of settling his nerves and confirming he made the right call. He wasn’t exactly sure how this would help but the nerves were alive and well on release day as the Odyssey team made the 20-25 minute drive south from the Carlsbad offices to the theatre in Del Mar.
“When the theatre lights came on I remember Michael coming over and giving me a big hug”. – Vikash Sanyal (Vice President Marketing Odyssey Sport Inc.)
Happy Gilmore hit theatres February 16, 1996 just 2 months prior to Nick Faldo’s 1996 Masters using the Odyssey Dual Force Rossie II mallet putter – the companies first major win on tour.
“We knew it was just a matter of time. We had several major championships on the Senior and LPGA tour; many PGA tour victories. We were confident it was just a matter of time. So much so that we had a full page advertisement already laid out and ready to run in the Wall Street Journal. We ran that ad when Nick won”. – Michael Magerman (President Odyssey Sport Inc.)
One year later Odyssey and Callaway reached an agreement on acquisition and the team parted ways. Fortunately, nothing arose during the filming of the movie and the two putters found new homes. Michael’s hangs out in his garage to this day while Vikash’s wenting missing during a house move a few years later. I can only assume it was Jesse’s Moving Co.
“Someone out there has a great keepsake. Fortunately, I got to hold on to the memories.” – Vikash Sanyal (Vice President Marketing Odyssey Sport Inc.)
If you’re in Winnipeg Happy Gilmore kicks off the Movies on Memorial festival on August 6th. If you have money to burn you can grab the putter off eBay now.
Afternoon Well Spent | The Game of Wolf
The sun is on the horizon, rays glistening off the dew perched on that creeping bentgrass. The phone buzzes and your squad has just rolled up in the driveway with the clubs, cooler and a wad of cash in the their back pockets. Tee time is at 9am and you’re ready to harness your inner 2000 Tiger Woods (a far cry from last weeks Charles Barkley performance).
The game today is Wolf.
Wolf is a strategic four player golf betting game that that creates a different team or match-up scenario on every hole of the course. On each hole one golfer takes on the title of Wolf and chooses whether to play the hole out in gutsy 1-vs-3 fashion, or to partner up and play 2-vs-2.
First, determine the hitting order for the day, one through four. If you get to the course early this can be determined by some sort of putting competition on the practice green or you can throw fists in some sort of rock, paper, scissors affair. Whatever the determined order is, it will remain the same and roll over during course of the round, alternating tee shots (so if you are 1st to tee off on 1 you will be 4th on hole 2, 3rd on hole 3, 2nd on hole 4 and pack at 1st on hole 5).
On each hole, the first to tee off is designated as the “Wolf”. He/she will hit their ball and then proceed to watch the other golfers hit their tee shots. The Wolf must decided after each tee shot is hit if he selects that person as his partner. Once the next person hits the previous person is not available as a partner.
If the Wolf doesn’t like any of the other drives or feels he has a good chance to win the hole out-right, on his/her own, they can go at it alone and face off against the other three golfers for that hole. The side with the better ball score wins the hole (single best hole score – if the Wolf scores 5 and the others put up respective scores of 5, 7 and 4 they would beat the wolf with a low score of 4).
Example: if player A (Wolf) hits his drive. Then player B proceeds to blast it into the rough. Player C is up next, and hits a bomb down the centre of the fairway the Wolf may decided to partner up with C before player D tees off. Once player D tees off, player C is not available as a partner. If the Wolf claims a partner on the hole, then it is 2-vs-2 match for the hole, the wolf and his claimed partner against the other two golfers.
On every hole, the side with the lowest better ball score wins the hole. If it is 2-vs-2 then the golfers on the winning side each win the betting unit. But if it is 1-vs-3, the Wolf wins double or loses double.
Example: Let’s say the betting unit is $1.
– If the Wolf partners, for a 2-vs-2 hole, then the golfers on the losing side both pay $1 to each of the golfers on the winning side. (We’re using $1 just because it’s easy, obviously Wolf winnings/losings can add up, so be careful where you set the bet.)
– If the Wolf plays the hole alone, then the Wolf wins $2 (double the bet) from each of the three golfers on the other side, or loses $2 to each of them.
If it’s 2-on-2, then the golfers on the winning side each win the betting unit. But if it’s 1-on-3, the Wolf wins double or loses double.
A tie score on a hole in Wolf is typically declared a wash—no winner, no loser, no carryover, no money changing hands.
Wolf strategy is as much about self-confidence as it is about faith in a partner. A good player will go it alone as often as possible, especially on par 3s and par 5s.
With four people in the playing group this would mean an unfair advance for holes 17 and 18 given the rotation can only go through part way. What do you do in Wolf with those two remaining holes?
From Chi Chi’s book: “Because the 17th and 18th holes are left over after four turns of the rotation, the player in last place is generally given the courtesy of teeing off first and being the wolf on the final two holes.”
Want to add a twist or two.
– Add the ‘Lone Wolf’. You can announce before anyone tees off on that hole that you are playing the hole 1-vs-3. This decision triples the bet.
– Along with each hole wager you can add an overall round wager or even front 9, back 9 wager. This forces you to monitor hole wins and adds another layer of strategy.
– If you’re not too in the bag you can have a side game of “Bingo Bango Bongo” going. This game is based on achievements and being the first to do something on each hole. The first player on the green gets a bingo. The closest to the pin when all four balls are on the green is a bango. The first in the hole is a bongo. Each one is worth a predetermined amount (maybe $1 each from each player). If one player does all three first, then that player wins double.
And most importantly. You will want to be using these.
S/S 19 Pop-Up
Join us for the launch of Spring/Summer 19 on May 3rd-5th at 807 Corydon Ave hosted by our friends at the Peg Authentic.
Friday, May 3 – 11am – 7pm
Saturday, May 4 – 11am – 5pm
Sunday, May 4 – 12pm – 5pm
The Humble Masterpiece | History of the Hoodie
The hooded sweatshirt is one of the most iconic menswear wardrobe staples ever created. For almost 100 years it has solidified itself as an essential participant in daily life. Accompanying our bodies on trips to the gym and grocery, our workplace and dressing down a social evening out with friends.
When asked to describe the hooded sweatshirt, Senior Design curator of MoMA Paola Antonelli, refers to the fashion staple as “the humble masterpiece”.
Like many utilitarian garments, the hoodie is very basic in its design but in this simplicity it has offered a canvas of unending possibilities. The hoodie has graced the high-fashion runways of Paris Fashion Week to the order forms of local high school athletic programs. Turn on the TV and you might catch Bill Belichick hiding under the dome of his chopped sleeve fleece or Kanye dodging the lenses of TMZ in his latest Yeezy creation.
The earliest “hoodies” can be dated back to ancient Greek and Rome. In medieval Europe Monks wore tunics with hoods (then known as “cowls”) and labourers wore capes with hoods known as “chaperon”. It is widely believed that the short cape (“capa”) was imported to England in the 12th Century during the Norman Conquest, as the cape was particularly common in Normandy. Interestingly enough the word “hood” derives from the Anglo-Saxon word “höd” which has the same root as the word “hat”.
During the 1930’s Rochester New York bothers Abraham and William Feinbloom found themselves at the helm of Knickerbocker Knitting Company (later to be known the world over as Champion Sportswear) attempting to develop a garment that would offer athletes and labourers protection from the elements. They would first take the crewneck and introduce elastic cuffs and waistband in an effort to trap and harness the heat. The next logical step, the attachment of a hood, would lead us to the modern day hoodie (though at that time referred to as the ‘side-line’ sweatshirt). The development of the hooded sweartshirt lead to an agreement with the Michigan Wolverines to produce uniforms for their teams. The hoodie would soon after be adopted by the US Military Academy to be used during training exercises and physical education classes.
In the mid 1970s and early 1980’s the hood would transition its associations, aligning itself within the inner circles of hip-hop and skate and be adopted by youth-driven communities. Depicted in the 1976 classic, Rocky, the hoodie became symbolic of hard knocks, work ethic and working class and enter into mainstream fashion.
The hoodie is a garment with unrivalled ability. For some it serves as a cloaking instrument, offering anonymity and concealment. For some it simply can be boiled down to comfort. For others it’s a pretence of protection. On the flip side of the spectrum, the hoodie has become an object associated with tragedy and instillment of fear. It has represented accomplishment and hard work and at the same time become a national symbol of injustice – early renderings of the unabomber to the tragedy of Trayvon Martin. In 2015, Oklahoma state representative Don Barrington went as far as to proposed a bill to criminalize wearing a “robe, mask or other disguise” in public that would “intentionally conceal the wearer’s identity”, a bill which was criticized as an attempt to criminalize the wearing of the hoodie.
And like many garment before it, it has been adopted and adapted. From traditional fits to the here and now trends of boxier silhouettes and over-sized fits made popular by a bounty of street style stars. It ranges from “how is that possible” Walmart prices of $9.99 (a comparable cost to a slice of pizza and drink) to emblazoned $3,0000 Gucci hoodies (the equivalent of a couple mortgage payments).
The person in power once wearing the suit is now the bodyguard and the person concealed to his right, dodging the bright lights under the cotton jersey with drawstrings pulled tight, the person of power.
Here’s our most recent take on this iconic silhouette.
Conference Hoodie | 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective
The 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Conference hoodie is available in Navy and Black 400gsm heavy-weight cross grain cut 100% cotton fleece. They are accented with a 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Voak logo on centre chest.
3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective is the pioneer in developing the science behind retroreflection and has been advancing the technology in new and groundbreaking ways for over 70 years.
Retroreflectivity helps the eye perceive objects in low-light conditions when illuminated by a light source. In more scientific terms, retroreflection occurs when light rays are returned in the direction from which they came. Retroreflective materials appear brightest to an observer located near the original light source. Since very little light is scattered when the light is returned, retroreflective materials enhance the contrast of the wearer for an observer located near the original light source.
It is available now for $160 exclusively on voaksportswear.com.
Time Out | Adam Lowry
We caught up with Winnipeg Jets forward, Adam Lowry, to chat his go to recipe in the kitchen, pre-game jam and his favourite memory growing up the son of long time NHL left winger, Dave Lowry. You can follow Adam at @adam.lowry.
Dinner with any athlete past or present.
Most memorable moment as a Winnipeg Jet.
Scoring my first NHL goal against Carolina.
Atop the bucket list.
A lot of places I want to visit – The UK and Mediterranean first though.
You know your way around the kitchen. Go to recipe.
The best mash potatoes ever recipe. Or sugar cookie bars.
Majority owner of any professional sports team.
New England Patriots.
Sum up your fantasy football season in 3 words.
Injuries screwed me.
Organize a concert with 5 acts.
I cheated and went with 6.
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Third Eye Blind
Favorite game day, drive to the rink song.
Best road trip playlist song.
Post game flight…Always Remember Us This Way – Lady Gaga.
Best read of 2018.
Sapiens – Yuval Noah Harari
Best going to work with Jungle Dave story.
Going on the ice with him after they won the Western Conference Final in 03/04 with the Flames.
Best Instagram follow.
Top 3 recipients of the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy
Joe Sakic, Jarome Iginla, Cam Ward.
Range Rover or G-Wagon? Aventador or 488 Spider? Nike or adidas? Barstool or Bardown? Happy Gilmore or Superbad? TSN or Sportsnet? Blue Jays or Cardinals? Worse – Broken wrist or mono?
Ranger Rover, Aventador, Both – oops, Barstool, Superbad, don’t make me pick haha. Mono.
Time Out | Colin Wilson
We caught up with Colorado Avalanche forward and Winnipegger, Colin Wilson, to chat bucket lists, playlists and his favourite James Neal story. You can follow Colin at @colinwilson89.
True or False: Your grandfather is largely credited for recruiting Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson from Sweden to the Winnipeg Jets during the WHA days?
True, he recruited them while practicing medicine in Sweden.
Most memorable moment from your time as a Terrier at BU.
Winning the National Championship, we were down 3-1 with 1-minute left, tied it up and won in OT.
Hardest you’ve laughed during your time in the NHL.
When Patrick Eaves bit it and went down in the corner during a shoot out.
Best James Neal story.
After every shift he would tell me how open he was, he was 7/11, always open.
The funniest chirp heard during a game.
A teammate told one of the Sedin brothers that his brother was extremely ugly.
Four best players in the NHL right now.
Best 7th overall pick since 2008: Nazem Kadri, Jeff Skinner, Mark Scheifele, Mat Dumba, Darnell Nurse, Clayton Keller?
A movie about the life and times of Colin Wilson hits theatres. It’s called what and you are played by who?
Kind of fast, not too furious, played by the late Paul Walker.
The gram would say you have a passion for travel and adventure. Where or what is atop your bucket list?
I plan to travel around the globe at the end of my career, my top spots are Peru, Patagonia, Norway, India, Bali and Japan.
Organize a concert with 5 acts
Best road trip playlist song.
Cocaine Jesus – Rainbow Kitten Surprise
Best read of 2018.
The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins
Best Instagram follow.
Best going to work with Carey story.
When he used to tell kids at the camp to play safe hockey by using a TPS Rubber (for people who remember that stick).
It’s #flowbackthursday and you have to be enshrined by one hair style. You chose: Monarchs curls, Hobey Baker Presentation Night finesse, Draft day frosted tips or 2017 Stanley Cup Finals flow?
Monarchs curls, any picture of my draft day frosted tips needs to be destroyed.
Video game rate yourself (0 to 100)
Beard game: 90
Culinary Skills: 10
Game Day Attire: 95
If you could interview any athlete who would it be.
Boxing Day Sale
One day only capitalize on our Boxing Day Sale.
For all orders of $100 receive a free script keychain
For all orders of $200 receive a free toque
For all orders of $300 receive both a toque and towel.
Must be before tax and excluding shipping. All orders of $200 or more qualify for free shipping within Canada and the US.
Please allow an addition 2-3 days for packing and shipping.
To commemorate the release of our inaugural collection we will be hosting a holiday pop-up at 300 Ross in the heart of the historic garment and manufacturing district.
Doors will open December 13th with the shop running through end of day on December 15th. Inside you will find the first collection in its entirety including our Canadian made offering. Come on out and browse the collection, stay for a visit or just loiter in the space. We are excited to share with you the items and products we have been meticulously working on for the better part of a year and share some stories from along the way.
December 13, 2018 – 11am-7pm
December 14, 2018 – 11am-7pm
December 15, 2018 – 10am-5pm
The pop-up is located next to Hut K in the Hut K Event Space with private entrance at 300 Ross Ave.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Voak Sportswear was founded in the spring of 2018 upon a foundation for creating wearable, well-considered, elevated basics. Each collection we bring to market is a reflection of our own ideals that are firmly influenced by the practicality of sportswear. Through our design process we strive to create timeless and versatile apparel that allow us, and you our customer, the ability to curate a comprehensive and effortless wardrobe.
Every garment and product exemplifies our commitment to exceptional workmanship, ingenuity and quality. Our garments and product offerings strive to be simplistic in nature, meticulous in detail and practical in functionality.
The core assortment of our collections are manufactured and sourced in Canada. From the cut and sew of our garments to the sourcing of our highly sought after fabrications like our heavy weight 400gsm fleece and versatile 200gsm 100% ring spun combed cotton, both proudly milled in Canada. By keeping the core of what we do in our own backyard we maintain the ability to be hands-on ensuring consistency, quality and fit. We are proud to be a part of the rich manufacturing history in Canada and partner with the skilled craftsmen and women that share the same core values, work ethic and integrity, that accompany us as creators, athletes and fathers.
It is a great pleasure to have you a part of the team as we set forth to tell a story that is uniquely ours.