Coldstream couple sharpen up Kal Tire Place

Husband-and-wife team open up skate sharpening venture in Vernon arena

Blades of Glory is a 2007 movie comedy starring Will Ferrell and Jon Heder as two male figure skaters who team up for a pairs competition.

Blades of Lori is a real-life North Okanagan business venture starring the husband-and-wife pairing of Mike Caira and Lori Mcintosh who team up to provide skate sharpening services at Vernon’s Kal Tire Place arena, the first such venture since the facility opened.

Caira stars as “The Skate Guy” in the venture; Mcintosh plays “The Boss Lady.” Says so on the sleeves of their work shirts.

“We opened Oct. 15 and, right now, we’re not that well known, so it’s a trickle effect but we think this will be a convenience to all the user groups; minor hockey, ringette, figure skaters, oldtimers,” said Caira, a retired RCMP member. “We provide all the services.”

In 2016, the City of Vernon began the process of expanding Kal Tire Place to add a second ice surface — Kal Tire Place North — and advertised for expressions of interest from businesses interested in moving into the facility. Kal Tire Place, since its inception in 2001, has never had a skate sharpening business, which is what Caira and Mcintosh pitched.

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The duo was selected, entered into negotiations with the city and had their business approved by Vernon council Oct. 9.

“I have 23 years of skate sharpening experience from my time in Prince George (RCMP station),” said Caira. “I started in 1995. I played oldtimers hockey, rec hockey (was a goalie, so very familiar with goalie skate needs), my son was playing hockey and my daughter was figure skating. The opportunity to do skate sharpening came up in Prince George and continued on wherever I moved.

“I have portable machines so I was doing sharpening from home.”

Originally trained by a machinist millwright where edge-level control was the most critical element of skate sharpening, Caira fine-tuned his skills by taking a training course focusing on sharpening and profiling.

Blades of Lori is located at the northeast end of Kal Tire Place, in the former concession office/storage room. They’re open Tuesday to Friday, 2 to 8 p.m., and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday but will adjust hours for tournaments.

With a hockey academy housed in the new Kal Tire Place North, skate sharpening will be available year-round. And Blades of Lori will be giving back to the community.

“Each month, we’re going to have a user group that we do a fundraiser for,” said Mcintosh. “A day will be selected on a Saturday and from 9 to 5 that day, all proceeds, anything that comes in, will be donated to that user group. We’ll have one each month.”

The first one is Saturday, Nov. 17, with proceeds going to Greater Vernon Minor Hockey, and the second is slated for Dec. 8 with Greater Vernon Ringette Association the benefactor.

There’s a drop box located outside the door of Blades of Lori where people can enter their name and phone number for a free skate sharpening. A draw will be held once a month.

Multiple-pass cards are also available for purchase, good for hockey and figure skate sharpening.

The pair is in the process of creating a Facebook page for the business.

You can phone 250-540-8833 or e-mail bladesoflori@hotmail.com for more information.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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