The name Trevor Linden is synonymous with hockey excellence in Vancouver and BC. The accolades that Linden has collected over his 20-year career are prestigious and many: the Order of Canada, the Order of BC, and The King Clancy Memorial Trophy (for on-ice leadership and off-ice humanitarian contributions), to name but a few.
Four years into his retirement from the Vancouver Canucks, Linden is now in pursuit of a different kind of excellence: that of a successful entrepreneur.
The recent growth of Club16 Trevor Linden Fitness (with three locations and counting) has put Linden back into the public eye. His partnership with fitness impresario Chuck Lawson is just one of three enterprises that Linden has a stake in.
Having had a passion for real estate since joining the Canucks as a rookie, Linden has also partnered with the Airey Development Group to bring two residential/commercial projects to market, with a third on the way.
And the corporate arm of Linden’s endeavours involves speaking engagements and sponsorship opportunities with the likes of Clearly Contacts and Subway.
Make It Business magazine caught up with Trevor Linden recently to learn about the successes and challenges on his business journey so far.
There are some athletes who stay in the game when they’re done, and others choose a different route. What led you down the path of business?
I love the game and, to be honest, would have bet a lot that I would have stayed in the game. And people who knew me would have made that same bet. I liked the technical aspect of the game; I liked the business side of the game; I love talking about the game. But that opportunity didn’t present itself – not that I was banging down the door to keep in the game – and your path leads you the way it does.
There are a lot of things that I enjoy about not being in the game: a more flexible schedule, more time to pursue my passions, not having to run on a hockey schedule.
When I left the game I was kind of going to take a few years away and I wasn’t sure what options were available to me. I had a real-estate development I was planning in Victoria. When I retired in 2008, the world changed with the economic crash, so that kind of delayed that idea. I have some real-estate stuff going right now, but the main focus is the Club16 Fitness.
I never really planned to be in the fitness business, but I was presented with an opportunity that fit what I do and what I believe in. I think fitness should be a big part of everyone’s life. I love the concept of bringing affordable fitness to everyone. So, with the expertise of my partner, Chuck Lawson, and my brand, if you will, I thought it was a good fit.
What’s your position in Club16?
I don’t have an official title other than co-owner. As far as my day-to-day stuff, I’m working on locations, future locations, and some of the marketing. My partner has been in business for 30 years and he owns She’s Fit. He has a corporate head office and the infrastructure that takes care of the day-to-day operations of Club16.
What part of the business taps into Trevor Linden’s passions?
I love the challenge of winning, and figuring out ways of winning, and being successful in business. That rush you get when you score a goal or win a game is similar to the rush you get when you win in business, no matter how small the victory.
When we opened our first club in Coquitlam – that was a huge thrill. I remember the first person who bought a membership …
Did they get a signed jersey?
Well, yes, as a matter of fact, they did. I remember when Chuck initially approached me. I spent months deliberating and thinking of all the reasons why I shouldn’t get into the fitness business. And finally I came to the conclusion that there weren’t any definitive reasons to not to pursue it. And every step of the way has been very exciting. Establishing the second location, in Burnaby, was exciting.
And planning this new location at the Convention Centre – all the work it took to plan and construct, and then to open it, was extremely rewarding. You get that jolt of adrenaline that in some ways replaces the rush on the ice.