Hockey gear wizard remembered
Celebration of life for Ralph Beavis set for Friday at the Buckhorn Community Centre
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.
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.