Hockey gear wiz­ard re­mem­bered

Cel­e­bra­tion of life for Ralph Beavis set for Fri­day at the Buck­horn Com­mu­nity Cen­tre

The Peterborough Examiner - - Sports - MIKE DAVIES Ex­am­iner Sports Di­rec­tor mike.davies @pe­ter­bor­ough­daily.com

There aren’t many equip­ment man­agers in the NHL, mi­nor pros, ju­nior or col­lege hockey ranks who don’t know Ralph Beavis and Nash Sports.

Mr. Beavis was a sales­man for McCain Foods and One Thirty Court Frozen Foods when he started re­pair­ing the palms of hockey gloves for his adult hockey bud­dies.

He started dab­bling in other things like fix­ing straps for goalie pads. Be­fore he knew it he and his wife Tracey were get­ting so much work they moved their op­er­a­tion from their base­ment into their cat­tle barn on their Buck­horn prop­erty. They re­mod­elled the barn to cre­ate a sec­ond-floor work­shop.

Of­fi­cially founded as Nash Sports in 1993, the com­pany is now known within the hockey world for selling, distribut­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing and re­pair­ing many of the small de­tail items re­quired for hockey gear like leathers for gloves and pads, straps, laces, socks, tape and lit­er­ally the nuts and bolts for equip­ment.

Last Satur­day, Mr. Beavis died un­ex­pect­edly of a heart at­tack at his cot­tage.

“You re­al­ize it now that he’s gone just how many peo­ple re­spected him and how many peo­ple he helped out in the hockey in­dus­try,” said his daugh­ter Alyssa Banks, who took over op­er­a­tion of the busi­ness in re­cent years as her father moved into semi-retirement.

Land­ing an early con­tract with Vaughn Hockey, one of the in­dus­try’s lead­ing hockey gear man­u­fac­tur­ers, helped es­tab­lish the busi­ness. Nash Sports has 11 em­ploy­ees.

“Sales and peo­ple were his forte,” Banks said. “(Hockey) was a pas­sion­ate sub­ject of his and he flew with it.

“In the be­gin­ning, all we did was sew palms for hockey gloves and cut straps for goalie pads.

“From there, as the busi­ness got big­ger and we moved into the barn, we started do­ing a lot of re­tail prod­ucts and knick-knack stuff. The hockey in­dus­try is al­ways chang­ing and you have to keep up.

“From there we got peo­ple in Que­bec and the United States who wanted to dis­trib­ute our prod­uct and now we’re widely known as a man­u­fac­turer and sup­plier to pro shops and NHL teams all across the board.”

Mr. Beavis’s at­ten­tion to de­tail made him a valu­able re­source for equip­ment man­agers.

“He took the time to pay at­ten­tion and lis­ten to what peo­ple needed,” Banks said.

“Nowa­days, in the equip­ment man­ager and re­pairs world, hockey play­ers are ex­cep­tion­ally picky. He was able to re­pair things to make it work for them.”

Peter­bor­ough Petes trainer Brian Miller de­vel­oped the Op­tion B Vel­cro straps for skates as an al­ter­na­tive to laces. Nash Sports man­u­fac­tures and dis­trib­utes the straps.

“Ral­phie was a very hard work­ing in­di­vid­ual, very knowl­edge­able about the prod­ucts and hockey gear,” Miller said.

“He was a great re­source. He was a very hon­est, straight­for­ward gen­tle­men.

“He was great to have a con­ver­sa­tion with whether it was busi­ness or so­cial. He’d help out who­ever he could when­ever he could.”

Miller said Mr. Beavis’s obit­u­ary was posted on the NHL train- ers web­site.

“He deals with hockey teams at ev­ery level,” Miller said. “NHL, AHL, col­lege, ju­nior. A large ma­jor­ity of equip­ment man­agers in all those leagues dealt with Nash Sports.”

A cel­e­bra­tion of life will be held at the Buck­horn Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, 1782 Lake­hurst Rd., Buck­horn, on Fri­day from 2 to 6 p.m. Mem­o­ries will be shared at 5 p.m.

Memo­rial do­na­tions can be made to Lake­field and Dis­trict Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion as ex­pres­sions of sym­pa­thy and may be made by con­tact­ing Hen­dren Fu­neral Homes in Lake­field on­line at www.hen­dren­fu­ner­al­home.com or by call­ing 705-652-3355.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Ralph Beavis founded Nash Sports in the base­ment of his Buck­horn home and later moved it to a work­shop in his cat­tle barn. Since 1993 it's be­come well known in the hockey in­dus­try for re­pair­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing and distribut­ing hockey gear. Mr. Beavis died Oct. 6 at age 64.

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