Interview: Meet Shane from Topaz Hockey

Interview: Meet Shane from Topaz Hockey
Photo Attribution: 
Topaz Hockey

Meet Shane from Topaz Hockey

After meeting Shane at the Run For Tomorrow fundraising event, A Night of Healthy Living, I just knew I had to interview him.  His energy and enthusiasm was contagious!

The next day I contacted Shane and set up an interview with him. We met at Sitka and Shane started to tell me about Topaz Hockey and how The Topaz Box Revitalization Project is coming to the attention of City of Victoria Parks and Rec.

While attending Lansdowne Middle School, Shane met his friend James Mallach and became close with a tight-knit group of friends.  The group started a floor hockey program during lunch period. This tradition continued through high school and extended into weekends at Topaz Park.  In 2007, Shane created Sunday Hockey (changed to Topaz Hockey in 2009) with the support of his long-time friend James and many others.

“I give all the credit to my friends that helped create Topaz Hockey, and who continue to help and support or play.  They are the ones that make Topaz Hockey what it is – I am appreciative for their help.  It was definitely a team effort,” says Shane.

Meet Topaz Hockey!

BG: What is Topaz Hockey?

TH:  Topaz Hockey is an organized ball hockey group with a passion for hockey, and giving back to the local community. We are community-driven group.

BG: When was Topaz Hockey Created?

TH: It has been seven years since the organization was created, and we continue to treat Topaz as our home away from home. Over the years we have grown and the demand for good organized ball hockey in Victoria has been apparent; we have seen a consistent number of players each week over the last seven years. Seeing the power and strength that a small group can have, we continue to help the local community and make it a healthy strong community.

BG: Is Topaz Hockey a Non-Profit Organization?

TH:  Topaz Hockey is a non-profit ball hockey group that purchases a parks permit for the lacrosse/hockey box to guarantee play time at Topaz Park. It was created because we have passion and love for the sport of hockey, and most of us have always had a dream of playing hockey. We know what it is like to be that young kid dreaming of one day being in the NHL. We have created a mini hockey league environment for those kids, with members of the surrounding community coming out to play hockey each weekend.BG: How old can you be to play with Topaz Ball Hockey Group?

BG: How old do you have to be to play?

TH: The Adult League consists of mixed age levels (19-50) and mixed skill levels, coming from different parts of Greater Victoria, all with one thing in common - passion for hockey.

BG: Do you have to register?

TH: There are two options to join: Full-Time and Drop-In. Full-Time players play a onetime $60 fee for the season and are given guaranteed play time from April to October. Because we have to pay for the permit; we have structured the season into a mini-league. We also encourage players from the surrounding communities to drop-in and play for $3, if spots are available.

BG: When and where can you play?

TH:  All year round, every Sunday at Topaz Park. We play from 1pm – 5pm - 4 hours of hockey for a cost $3. Is a great deal, costs are low as we are non-profit. The best price and best quality of hockey in town, guaranteed!

BG:  What happens with the organization’s financial proceeds?

TH: Any profits are put directly back into the group. In past we have purchased new NHL full-size nets, goalie gear, a score clock, club banner, balls, and more. We have also incorporated stats, which means we have purchased awards and club trophies to give out at our annual Year End Celebration and Awards Ceremony. It has come a long way.

BG: Tell us about your fundraising efforts

TH: The biggest one that is dearest to our hearts is Five Hole For Food, which helps the local Mustard Seed Food Bank.  We started out just to play hockey, but realized that as a small group we could help.  We care about giving back to the community; Topaz Hockey’s goal is to have as much passion for hockey as we do have for helping the local community. Over the years we have helped by participating in charity events to help benefit the local community.

BG: Why the Mustard Seed Food Bank?
As a teen, I had personally benefited from the Mustard Seed Food Bank in times of need.  I feel strongly about giving back to the community.

BG: What is Five Hole For Food?

TH: Five Hole For Food: Five Hole for Food event which spans across Canada annually, and stops here in Victoria. Five Hole for Food, plays hockey while raising food and money donations for the local food bank in that city. Topaz Hockey helps organize when Five Hole For Food come to Victoria, we are the City Champions! 

Five Hole for Food raise 1,900 lbs of food for the Mustard Seed Food Bank. Event was held at Topaz Park lacrosse box. Victoria Salmon Kings came out and Marty the Marmot. 

Topaz Hockey participated and helped raise 3,900 lbs of Food for the Mustard Seed Food Bank. Event was held at Save-on-foods parking lot. Royals came out with marty the marmot.

2012 Topaz Hockey has teamed up with Five Hole for Food and helped raised in Victoria 8,300 lbs of food for the Mustard Seed Food Bank. Event was held at Save-on-foods parking lot. Royals with Marty the Marmot! 

2013 Raised over 7,100 lbs of food for the Mustard Seed.

2014 Raised over 8,000 lbs of food for the Mustard Seed.

Other Events:

Victoria Hospital Foundation: Topaz Hockey helped with a 4 on 4 tourney at Uptown, and helped raise over $2,000 for the Vancouver Island Hospital Foundation. We had 4 of the 8 teams entered with Topaz Players and Goalies!

One Day: Topaz Hockey has also helped with the One Day event that was held at Topaz Park, which celebrates the community living and the achievements of people living with disabilities. We organized a hockey game.
Angels for Hannah: BBQ & Car Wash Fundraiser at Canadian Tire parking lot to help raise funds for little Hannah to beat Cancer as she was diagnosed with Cancer at the age of 3 and helped raise over $6200. 
Cops for Cancer: Cops for Cancer fundraiser event at the Glen Lake Inn and Western Speedway where we helped raise over $7,763 for Cops for Cancer, Tour de Rock.

2013: We teamed up with Island Summer Games to help host their 4-4 street hockey tourney! and raise money for the Mustard Seed! 

2014: We continue to help with our Community presence. Five Hole For Food, Play-On tourney, Island Summer Games, One Day event, and the Worlds Longest Hockey game to beat the Guinness World Record of 105 hours and 17 minutes.

The Evolution of Topaz Hockey

Players speak, the group speaks, we create, and we evolve.

The Early Years: Some of the players have played here since we were kids, some started when we were teenagers. Some of us have played at Topaz Park well before it was taken to an organized approach. Back then you just showed up and wished someone was there playing hockey on a Saturday or a Sunday.


Sunday Hockey: Back then was originally called Sunday Hockey, but was changed to Topaz Hockey in 2009.

Founded and Organized: by Shane Nicholls and James Mallach and friends.

Bare Minimum: We started out with low-quality plastic nets and low-end goalie gear, but had passion for hockey and a bunch of members of the community dropping in to play. (No park permit, at this time and charging no money).


1st Sign-up (Registration) Sheets: we took a new approach and organized sign-in sheets which we printed off for people to sign up and join our group. (Still, with no permit at this time and charging no money).


Permit: After having to deal with sharing the court and playing time with Lacrosse teams and also the occasional bike polo games on Sundays at the park, we talked as a group and decided to guarantee our play time. Our group purchased our first permit calling Topaz Park Lacrosse/Hockey Box home.

Name Change: from Sunday Hockey to Topaz Hockey.

Fulltime Registration & Drop-in Fees: We made our first league structure, and made Registration forms again and encouraged the players that have played for the last two years to buy into the permit and register as “fulltime members”. The reward to the players paying upfront, we would guarantee their playtime. All the guys chipped in and we purchased our first permit. Players were cool, paying for a portion each to cover the costs.

Park Permit Fees Raised: Permit fees were raised from last year.
Social Media: We are linked to social media and network, set up events and plan hockey games on Facebook and even have a Twitter account.

Store Sponsor: Got a Kirby’s Source for Sports 10% discount for all fulltime registered players.

Jerseys: Teamed up with player and local graphic designer, Kevin Cave at Fuse Creative and made our first logos and submitted our first Jersey Order from Hometown.

Nets: Purchased New Nets. (since they are not provided by the Parks and Recreation in this municipality)

Meeting with City of Victoria, Parks and Recreation: We had a meeting set up to show the damages of the lacrosse/hockey box, so they would repair the box and also to talk about possible revitalization of the box. We were later told that it was not in the budget; however they would make several repairs to keep it minimally safe. 

Year End: There was some talk amongst the guys about getting the group together for a Year End gathering. So we created the first ever Year End Celebration.

Five Hole for Food 2010: Attended first annual Five Hole for Food event, which spans across Canada annually, and stops here in Victoria. Five Hole for Food, plays hockey while raising food and money donations for the Mustard Seed Food Bank.

Score Sheet: We created a score sheet template to have at the bench to record, goals, assists and game information.

Stats Web Page & Year End Awards Ceremony:
For ALL players to track their progress each week with points (goals and assists) and also update their player profiles. (See Link Below)
Awards and Trophies: Since we were recording stat, and we had a Year End Celebration, why not organize some Awards and Trophies to give out at the Year End Celebration. So we bought ‘Club’ trophies which remain in the club, players name is engraved on it and can hold on to it during the duration of the season, ad must hand it to new winner the following year.

Door Prizes: We created a letter asking for support from the local community businesses to donate door prizes for the Year End. The response was amazing, thank you everyone! After we sent out Thank You Letters to businesses.
Community Involvement: Started to help the community more with Events.

Score Clock: was designed and manufactured and donated by Phil Horwood.
Banner: of Topaz Logo was created by Graphic FX.
Talked to City of Victoria Parks and Recreation: Again I got the same story from Parks and Recreation regarding the status of the Revitalization of the box. Time to take my own action.

Rule Book Written: players have been asking to have rules written so there is no controversy as to when something happens with the ball or play.
Topaz Box Revitalization Project: Created in the end of February, this new project hopes to shed light on the deteriorating lacrosse/hockey box located at Topaz Park and Revitalize it for the community and its members that use it.

2014: Pushing the Topaz Box Revitalization Project to the City of Victoria Parks and Recreation, working on a proposal to present to them looking to revialze the lacrosse/hockey box for the community! And continue with our Community presence. Five Hole For Food, Play-On tourney, Island Summer Games, One Day event, and the Worlds Longest Hockey game to beat the Guinness World Record of 105 hours and 17 minutes.

Good Books