Trading Rinks for Links: NHL-ers Take on Bear Mountain Golf Resort

What do you do if you’re a NHL player, or a former one, and getting a little antsy without a season? Get a few silver-bladed buddies together and line up the next best thing – a golf nirvana. Bear Mountain Golf Resort, a 20-minute drive from Victoria, B.C., is the brainchild of Len Barrie, an ex-Florida Panther.

The deal was put together long before the hockey strike (the first course opened in 2003) but certainly it was a welcome distraction with no-one to cheer for during those dragging months. Some of the partners he rounded up include Mike Vernon, Ray Whitney, Rob Niedermayer, Ryan Smyth, Greg Adams, and Rob Blake. Check out the parking lot and you’ll see their name plaques.

Set in the heart of Vancouver Island’s Bear Mountain Village, the 1,200-acre resort (recently franchised by Westin Hotels) comprises two championship golf courses (the second opens 2007), a hotel with 31 guestrooms, 34 luxury one-bedroom suites, 30 two-bedroom suite, the Bear’s Den Clubhouse and the Copper Rock Grill. This fall, a 10,000 square-foot pool and fitness center will be complete and next spring the second phase of the hotel will open. The160,000 square-foot facility features a towering west coast timber-beamed lobby and two-story waterfall, 91 guest rooms and suites, restaurant, bar, lounge, conference facility, pro shop, and spa.

This place is not your average resort. It’s a “lifestyle destination” with the potential for 2,500 residences. The 15-year plan includes hotels, cabins, retail, markets, coffee shops and restaurants. Real estate investment options include condos, homes, town houses and quarter-shares in resort suites.

Let’s not forget about the golf. The gorgeous Jack and Steve Nicklaus designed par 75 course actually has 19 holes (for those who just can’t get enough). Mountain top views compensate for any and all bad shots, especially No. 19 with its panoramic view of the Straight of Juan de Fuca, the Olympic Mountain range and the city of Victoria.


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