Ross Maxwell was minding his own business a few weeks ago when the Vancouver Canucks Puck Luck contest hijacked his day.
Maxwell, a former movie and TV stuntman, is a street performer who stands at the corner of Granville and West Georgia in Vancouver as a hockey player, silver from helmet to skates.
Dressed in full silver hockey gear, including gloves and a stick, with his face also painted silver, the resident of Gibsons, BC, holds his ground until someone drops a coin into his bucket. He’ll then pose for a photo, regular or zany, before returning to a petrified state.
On Tuesday, May 3rd, we hid the final three pucks around Vancouver, sending out clues to their whereabouts on Canucks.com, through @VanCanucks on Twitter and on the Canucks Facebook Page. The 10th and final puck, which gave the finder a 1-in-10 chance of winning tickets to Game 5 of the Western Conference Semi-Final, was hidden under a bench in front of a food stand near the corner of Granville and West Georgia.
When puck seekers spotted the silver hockey player in the same area, they naturally thought he was part of the contest.
Again, wrong place, wrong time.
“I have a puck screwed on to the stick I hold and they were trying to take the puck right off,” laughed Maxwell. “One girl was actually trying to unscrew it.”
Noticing that the silver hockey guy was being harassed, I quickly apologized and explained the situation. Then I realized I was talking to a man dressed as a hockey player, covered in silver, standing on a street corner, and questions filled my mind like traffic during rush hour.
Who is he? Why is he doing this? Does he ever eat? When does he go to the washroom? Is that paint difficult to remove? How much money does he make?
I gave Maxwell a business card, we spoke shortly after and I found out the story of how the silver hockey guy on the corner of Granville and West Georgia came to be.
Six years ago Maxwell left the stuntman business, which had him featured in TV series such as The Outer Limits, Stargate SG-1 and The X Files, for the Sunshine Coast, where he started his own home renovation business.
Work was slow during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, so Maxwell spent a lot of time taking in the spectacle and he grew fond of a bronze street performer dressed as a cowgirl. That spawned Maxwell’s first street character, a gold hockey player who took to the streets after Team Canada ended the 2010 Olympics with a bang by beating Team USA for gold.
Throughout the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, Maxwell traded his true identity for that of a golden hockey player and the spectators loved it.
“I thought it was a cool idea and it really turned out to be a lot cooler than I expected,” said Maxwell, who created the costume in just three days.
“Once I got down there and started doing it, I couldn’t believe all the attention I got from it.”
He made a few bucks as well, which didn’t hurt anything.
With home renovations slow again this spring, he thought he’d revive his golden idea, but give himself a silver look to reflect Vancouver’s hunt for the Stanley Cup.
“I thought this was a great way to promote hockey and promote the spirit of the game and the spirit of the playoffs and it’s been pretty good. The only thing that is keeping me from being out there more is the weather.”
Maxwell won’t melt in the rain or anything, but the crowds aren’t out in full force compared to when the sun is shining.
When it is, Maxwell makes the trip in to Vancouver with a hockey bag, gets himself ready in a public washroom and heads out to stand his ground for as long as he can.
He once went six hours, without any washroom breaks. That was unusual though, Maxwell typically works four to five hours, during which time he pauses to answer nature’s call, stretch and eat.
If this doesn’t glamorous, it’s because it isn’t. But Maxwell enjoys it and he enjoys that others enjoy it.
“I get into it, I play with it, I have fun with people and it makes it more enjoyable for everyone.
“It’s all about keeping the spirit of hockey alive and well in Vancouver and spreading it around as much as possible.”
Maxwell, aka silver hockey guy, is scheduled to be at the Party on the Plaza from 4 to 6 p.m. prior to Game 2 of the Western Conference Final Wednesday night.
If you see him, smile, say hello and get your picture taken with him.
Whatever you do, just don’t try to steal the puck from his stick. The Puck Luck contest is long over.
Maxwell has been added to the mosaic at Thisiswhatwelivefor.com, can you find him?