Nfld. & Labrador

Meet the Bonavista duo with a furniture idea that really sticks

Tristan Gray, a young hockey player, finds the sticks. Bob Strickland builds the furniture.

One finds discarded hockey sticks, the other turns it into something useful and fun

Bob Strickland, right, has been making furniture out of hockey sticks for Tristan Gray, left. (Melissa Tobin/CBC)

Bob Strickland opened up the door to his shed in Bonavista one day a few years ago and found a pile of sticks.

Hockey sticks, to be exact.

"And it just escalated from there," Strickland said.

His daughter, Victoria, had told him that her boyfriend, Tristan Gray, a Junior A hockey player with the Campbellton Tigers in New Brunswick, wanted him to make him a chair.

Out of all those hockey sticks.

Tristan Gray has got it made. By his girlfriend's dad. Out of hockey sticks. (Melissa Tobin/CBC)

Since then, Strickland has made Gray a whole suite of furniture from hockey sticks: two chairs, a table, a garbage can and most recently, a shelf to hold all of Gray's trophies and medals.

"The hardest part of doing it is getting enough sticks," Strickland said. "And that's all on Tristan."

'I wonder what that guy's doing now?'

Gray said he started playing hockey when he was three years old. Over the years, he said he's collected about 100 hockey sticks. He gets broken sticks from friends and teammates, and he's even gone to the manager of the arena in Bonavista and asked if there were any around.

"When they know what I'm doing with them they don't mind as much giving them to me."

This chair is made with a pair of Gray's old goalie pads. (Melissa Tobin/CBC)

Ultimately, broken hockey sticks just get thrown out, he said.

"Instead of seeing so many sticks go to waste, it's better to reuse them and make cool tables and chairs."

The furniture means a lot to him, he said, and not just because it keeps him surrounded by the sport he loves so much. Most of the sticks have belonged to players he's known and admired.

"It's cool to look back and think, 'I wonder what that guy's doing now?'"

Some of his own equipment has been used in the furniture construction, too: a pair of the goalie pads he wore when he was a junior player in Bonavista were used to make a comfy lounge chair.

Well, "as comfortable as it gets for a pair of goalie pads," he said.

Strickland likes to make sure all the brand names on the sticks are facing outward and in the right direction. (Melissa Tobin/CBC)

It's the chair he likes to sit in while he watches the game or plays his guitar.

Would preferred the Leafs

Speaking of Gray's guitar, the latest project he has Strickland stickhandling is a guitar stand.

"There's a lot of thinking done," Strickland said, laughing. "There's a bit more to it than one main stick."

He's up for the challenge though, he said. After all, he's already figured out how to work with modern hockey sticks, which aren't often made of solid wood but of composites of carbon fibre, Kevlar and fibreglass.

"Working with wood is a lot easier, but the composite sticks are a bit nicer to look at," he said.

This shelf holds all of Gray's trophies and medals. (Melissa Tobin/CBC)

He pays close attention to the details. He likes to make sure the pieces he uses have the brand name on them, and he puts the pieces together so the names are always readable and facing the same way.

His favourite creation so far is the table, he says.

"I would have liked to do have done it in the Toronto Maple Leafs symbol, but Tristan is [a] Montreal Canadiens fan."

Gray said Strickland wants to make a coffee table next, which will take a lot of sticks.

"I better start collecting," Gray said.

With files from Melissa Tobin

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