Spring brings change.
And change is on the way for Kevin “Chevy” Cheveldave, and the hockey community in Salmon Arm.
In April, Cheveldave will be closing and selling Chevy Sports, located in the Shaw Centre.
“It’s difficult to come to grips with it, but it’s time for a change,” says Cheveldave.
Chevy Sports has become an institution within the community, known as the “hockey shop” in town.
Cheveldave’s father, Peter, purchased the Jock Shop 30 years ago on Alexander Street across from the Salmar Classic and turned their shop into a family affair and a labour of love.
They sold everything from bikes to skis, to camping and fishing gear and everything in between.
“This has been the biggest part of my life – it will be a culture shock not coming into work everyday.”
Cheveldave fondly describes working along his father’s side for 18 years in the shop, which also moved to Lakeshore before finding a permanent home at the Shaw Centre for the past 16 years.
Over the years, six of his nephews have also worked at the shop.
“My mom still drives out at least two times a week from Sicamous and visits me at the shop, probably to clean up after me,” chuckles Cheveldave.
“Chevy” stresses he will miss his loyal customers and those who work at the Shaw Centre. He adds the friendships formed over the years have been the best part of the job.
Passing the store window during the height of the hockey season, you would be hard pressed not to find Cheveldave talking with a group of friends before, after or between their kids’ games.
“He’s the kind of guy who would always be there when ever you needed something or just wanted to talk. He is a avid listener and incredibly honest person,” says Kelly Moores, a friend of Cheveldave’s for 15 years.
Chevy Sports has many second generation customers, something Moores attributes to Cheveldave’s character.
“I’ve helped kids gear up – watched them grow up, and now I am gearing up their kids,” says Cheveldave.
One such customer, Mike Lewis, makes it a habit to have Cheveldave sharpen his skates or his son’s skates when they are in town from Terrace for camps or tournaments.
One thing that could always cheer up Cheveldave after a Boston Bruins loss is a child’s reaction to getting their first pair of skates, helmet or shin pads.
“Chevy loved that part of his job, he would tell me many stories how cute the kid’s reaction was getting new equipment. I think he was just as excited as the kids,” says Moores.
Cheveldave is also know for his coaching history with Salmon Arm Minor Hockey and various junior B clubs.
“To me, Chevy is an outstanding minor hockey coach; we are lucky to have had his service…,” said Salmon Arm Minor Hockey Association administrator Roy Sakaki with a broad smile.
Sakaki describes Cheveldave as a tough but fair coach, who was respected by his players and always got the best out of his teams.
Cheveldave led multiple minor hockey teams to provincial finals and took the Sicamous Eagles to the to the Mowat Cup finals in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.
Sakaki says Cheveldave’s influence on the hockey community will be sorely missed, whether it is as a coach or the man behind the counter of Chevy Sports.
“I am hopeful that someone will come in and pick up where Chevy left off, because he was great for all hockey in Salmon Arm,” says Sakaki.
Cheveldave says he is cautiously optimistic about the future, and he is not entirely sure what he will do after closing the shop.
A farewell has been planed for Cheveldave and will be held at the SASCU rec centre on May 2. For more info, call Ellie Campbell at 250-253-5890.