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Linden's new endeavor

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

Trevor Linden’s new office, like his new business endeavor, is a work in progress.

While half of his fourth floor South Granville office is ceiling-to-floor windows, the other half is bare walls. No pictures, no posters, just white. Not what you’d expect from a Vancouver Canucks legend that could plaster every inch of blank nothingness with keepsakes of unforgettable Canucks moments that he played a direct part in.

Linden isn’t ignoring his hockey legacy by any means; all his attention these days is simply devoted to something new: Club 16 – Trevor Linden Fitness.

This is new Linden. He’s sleek in beige slacks and a collared white shirt, tucked-in – you know, the kind that fits the manikin perfectly but isn’t complementary on you or I. He’s drinking a Starbucks at his desk as if it were a Corona on the beach. Not a care in the world. Or so it seems.

Truth be told, Linden is bubbling inside with a mixture of genuine child-like enthusiasm and grown-up anxiety. Opening a fitness club with your stamp of approval on it can do that.

Linden, alongside business partner Chuck Lawson, a 23-year veteran in the fitness industry and owner of She’s Fit! health clubs, announced Wednesday they are entering the fitness ring with the pair’s first location opening this winter in Coquitlam and negotiations on a second location already taking place.

With Linden being Linden and every move he makes, including dabbling in real estate development, still in the public eye, he has to be cautious using the Linden brand. He’s been approached with business ventures before, but Lawson’s proposal just hit the bullseye too well to pass up.

“I thought it was going to be a quick meeting and an easy thanks, but no thanks, but the more we talked, the more strongly I felt about this opportunity,” said Linden, surrounded by reporters as if in front of his #16 locker having just stepped off the ice after scoring the game-winning goal. “I just felt the synergies between us were very good. The more we talked, the more things developed and made sense.”

What makes sense for potential customers is the ridiculous monthly fee.

At Club 16, a membership grants you access to 20,000 square feet of workout space that includes over 100 pieces of cardio equipment with personal flat screen TVs on each, a free weights and strength machine area with over 240 stations, three 30-minute circuits for circuit training, four sun tanning studios, full locker and shower facilities, over 260 parking spaces and a private ladies only entrance.

All this for a monthly cost of just $15, the lowest average membership price in the industry.

And no, it’s not an introductory price. As long as Club 16 is in business, it’s $15 a month.

Again, ridiculous. Think one week without coffee and your membership is paid for. Workout every day and it’s 50 cents per session. You could afford that from the change sprinkled between crumbs in your couch cushions.

Lawson said functioning at this price point is completely doable as his 10 B.C. based She’s Fit! locations have thrived with a registration fee of $14.99.

A lower monthly cost means Club 16 will be accessible to more people and with, according to Linden, only 15 per cent of the North American population working out regularly, that’s important.

“The fitness industry is something I feel very strongly about, I think it’s very important in all our lives as not only a health thing, but a mental health thing as well,” said Linden, “I know that’s how I am, I feel much better when I’m working out and have those positive endorphins flowing.

“I feel very strongly about it and we really want to appeal to a wide variety of people in a very unintimidating type of place where they can feel very comfortable and have an opportunity to be fit at whatever level they may be.”

Zooming in on what consumers actually want in a fitness facility is another advantage Lawson believes Club 16 has over its competition. He’s the pro, but he’s soaking up the knowledge Linden has to offer. After all, he did spend the better part of 20 years keeping his body a lean, mean, hockey machine.

“There’s lots of things out there like hot yoga, you’ve got spinning, you’ve got all these different things,” explained Lawson. “But when you really go into a fitness club, you’ll find that a very small percentage of people are using those specialty items, but everybody wants to be on the treadmill, everybody wants to be on the elliptical, everybody wants to circuit train, so we’re going to keep it to the basics and give people a lot of it.”

Linden had a lot of input into what workout machines were featured and in the general layout of Club 16, among other things, and Lawson couldn’t be happier to have such a vocal partner. Actually, he couldn’t be happier to have Linden as a partner period.

“It’s huge. What else can you say about Trevor, you guys have been around him for years and there’s never a poor or mean word ever said about him. He’s real, what you see is what you get. And the thing that really impressed me, when I first approached Trevor we talked about how much would be involved and he wanted to be really involved.”

Once January rolls around and Club 16 opens its doors, expect Linden’s office walls to become cluttered as he maps out new locations to sink his teeth and name into.

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