Riff: The Hockey Lounge, OlyWA (2000-200x)

The Hockey Lounge, OlyWA / tab board (still mostly not paid despite super cheap for best beer)

Around 2000 in Olympia Washington, my colleagues and I sold a renegade pioneering Internet service provider (OlyWa.net) to an (evidently) evil national corporation (ATG) who quickly imploded allowing me the sensation of losing *big paper money* before i hit 30 – ugh .Anyhow, I managed to put a down-payment on a house – which had a semi-finished basement (and was also stumbling distance to downtown bars) which is the reason for this riff.

The Hockey Lounge, OlyWA / Dave inspecting the proceedings

The aforementioned basement was rapidly converted into “the Hockey Lounge” a speakeasy/smoke easy/crash space for touring rock ‘n’ roll bands as well as a resource library for Hemp Lobby activities.

As the name applied, this was about watching hockey games as, in Washington state at the time, the sport was not popular and bars were filled with cigarette smoke an early season baseball games instead of pungent herb and Stanley Cup playoffs. The Hockey Lounge rectified these conundrums.

So, with a couple of first generation time-shifting devices, two satellite dishes and a cable feed and other electronics cobble together by brother Dan – who also procured couch, bar, fridge etc. from various auctions – and extensive hockey and punk rock artifacts decorations, a conversion of the fridge into a 2 tap keg-e-rator, the eventual addition of a toilet, wiring the house with ethernet connected to redundant broadband connections (note this was early 2000s) this became the scene of much frivolity.

The Hockey Lounge, OlyWA / the noted 2 tap-handle keg-er-ator with room for a 3rd on storage (with freezer for glasses)

There were rules:

  • Wash your glass (everyone had their designated glass which was store in the freezer compartment) 
  • Pay your tab (note beer was always top-end craft from a brewery in exchange for making a website, we were on the regular route for a beer delivery and well let’s just say people drink more than they paid for.
  • No cell phones, camera etc. / no talking about other shit besides hockey and music

and these rules were not followed very well unfortunately.

Occasionally we would host various contest/pools during the playoffs or Olympics in which everyone would enter with a high-quality six pack (they were sent away and shunned if the quality was not sufficient) and winner would take most, second place slightly more than they pitched in, and third place their ante back.

Several times noted touring rock bands crashed out but most memorable was my hometown heroes DOA, who i sang BTO’s “takin’ care of business” onstage (at 4th Ave Tav) while wearing a Canucks jersey.  The band – including now-Burnaby city councillor Joey “Shithead” Keithley, now deceased hard drinking storyteller Randy Rampage and the road manager (who was so happy about the high-speed Internet) and roadie who, years later, i met his brother coincidentally in Granada, Spain – all watched Canucks playoffs time-shifted and told tales into the night, signed my Hardcore 81 album, tidied up after themselves. 

The Hockey Lounge, OlyWA / wall of grand decorations

Of course, many travelling friends crashed out and enjoyed the space including Maddog Mike of Pacifica who destroyed so much Grand Crü beer and was still up early for his business meeting in Portland, Dane came by too (who i think took these photos), we had a “hippie on the couch” from CT or CO for a long time, others who came by at all hours expecting the place to be open like it was there own clubhouse, some disrespect, some sloppiness, some heat started to outweigh the frivolity. A lot of dishes to wash, but also a lot of fun backyard bocce games.

Of course there was the infamous High Times photo shoot in which many regional growers and vendors came by with copious amounts of wares in hopes of being featured in the magazine. Many were, i was rewarded with a massive mess to clean up and a photo/write up in the article which well… caused some community angst and notoriety (possibly covered elsewhere in this archive).

Epilogue: As it goes, economic situations changed with the *great collapse*, I couldn’t find work in any form, and then domestic situations changed with people moving in, people moving out, various tenants and domestic intrigue, then renters, a sewage flood and then a renovation and what not. [I had tried to finish some college, start a new business and relationship and hard to do all of that i suppose.]

The Hockey Lounge, OlyWA / brother Dan behind the bar

In amongst much of this transition, aforementioned brother Dan became their “sole proprietor” of hockey lounge as it became his apartment. As things descended into malaise,  various pieces and parts were sold off for cash to pay the mortgage, eventually the house sold, and I headed north and continued hockey culture with the Canucks Outsider podcast, then Dan later heading north as well to attend UBC engineering school. The Hockey Lounge still lives in the way/spirit at his current abode. 

There is scant photographic evidence of this era though the legends live on throughout the streets of Olympia (or so I tell myself) plus at Olympic Plaza in SLC, and oh yeah if you’re reading this pay your fcking tab – this means you!

Hockey Lounge 4:20 24/7 / commemorative brick at Olympic Plaza in Salt Lake City (2002)

Whatcha think?