|Norm Beaudin helps customers in the pro shop recently.
He’s retiring, but he will stay on for about a month
to sharpen skates and help with the transition.
So it should come as no surprise that former National Hockey League player Norm Beaudin knows the time is right to retire as the owner of Beaudin’s Hockey Zone, located inside the Tampa Bay Skating Academy in Oldsmar.
After 12 years as president of the hockey and figure skating retail store, and a lifetime of hockey, Norm, 71, officially handed over the pro shop earlier this week. He will stay on for about a month to help with the transition.
He passes it off to Nick Flaskay, the rink’s managing partner. The pro shop is called the Tampa Bay Skate Shop.
“I’ve known Norm for 14 years,” Flaskay says. “I got him into the pro shop business by working with him to establish a business that he developed quite successfully.”
In fact, Flaskay says, Norm’s ability to take a shot at success goes beyond hockey.
“Norm loves all sports, including golf,” Flaskay says. “He’s quite adept at hitting a golf slap shot that looks just like a hockey slap shot – he was, after all, an NHL player.”
The former pro hockey player has earned his spot in hockey history. To read more about his career, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norm_Beaudin
Norm’s retirement marks the end of an era at TBSA. So we sat down with him to find out, among other things, what’s next for him and his wife, Linda.
Q: What prompted the decision to retire?
Norm: Naturally, we’re getting older…and we weren’t feeling well so we decided to leave the business. I’ll be 72 in November. It’s time to retire.
Q: What are you going to do now?
Norm: I’m going to feel my way around active retirement. (He laughs.) In about a month, we’re visiting my daughter in Canada and celebrating our 50th anniversary on August 3 in Vancouver. (They hope all four of their kids, David, Nadine, Gregory and Carrie Lynn, will be there to celebrate with them.) It’s good timing because I can relax and not wonder how the store is doing. I also want to get back in better shape than I am so being retired maybe I’ll have more time to do that.
Q: What led you to move into the pro shop business?
Norm: I was the hockey director at TBSA in 2001. I went on vacation but got sick and ended up staying home. Nick called and asked, “How would you like to run the pro shop?” It was a little shock to me because I’d never been in retail, only in hockey. But then we expanded to Ellenton and CIA (Clearwater Ice Arena) and at one time I had three shops going. (His son, David, also helped run the shops.)
Q: What’s your hockey background?
|Norm played right wing.
His playing career ran
from 1967 to 1976.
Norm: I played for 15 years professionally. I played in the minor leagues, the National Hockey League, the World Hockey Association, for the Winnipeg Jets. I also played for the Minnesota North Stars and the St. Louis Blues. I played in the American Hockey League. And I went to Switzerland for three years as a player and coach where I had to learn German.
Q: Have you met any great hockey players?
Norm: I played with Bobby Hull. As far as I’m concerned, he’s the greatest player to play the game. Having the chance to play with Bobby was a dream and an honor.
Q: How did you end up in hockey?
Norm: I was born on a farm in Montmartre, Saskatchewan in Canada. Before you could walk you had skates on. Our first instinct is to go on the pond and go skating. There were 13 kids in my family so we had a hockey team. But I’m the only one who pursued a career in hockey.
Q: Are you going to stay connected to the sport?
Norm: Oh yeah. I’ll continue to play in the ’50’s and over’ league.
Q: Anything you’d like to say before you retire?
Norm: Linda and I would like to thank all the customers who supported us through hockey. We’ve tried to give good service because service is the key. I know this will continue.