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Well-Oiled Machine

by Deborah Lew / Los Angeles Kings

Considering he suffered two broken legs from an automobile accident that nearly ended his hockey career just before it started, Robyn Regehr is pretty well put-together fella.

Drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Regehr has played for the Calgary Flames, the Buffalo Sabres, and is in his second season with the Los Angeles Kings. The Brazilian-born Canadian defenseman has also represented Team Canada at the World Junior and Senior Championships, the World Cup of Hockey, as well as the Winter Olympics.

Regehr’s reliability and strong defensive play have not only given him an impressive career in hockey, but it was actually through his hockey career that he found passion and success away from the ice.

During the lockout season of 2005, while Regehr was playing in Calgary, he attended a charity event where he agreed to donate some personal time to the highest bidder in an auction.

A potential recipe for disaster? Perhaps.

A gentleman named Doyle Townsend, a firefighter who also owns a company that provides safety services to oil drilling locations in parts of Canada, earned himself a nice tax write-off along with the opportunity to get to know the Flames defenseman.

Prior to arriving in Calgary, Regehr had no interest and very little knowledge of the oil drilling industry, but because Calgary is widely regarded as the oil drilling hub of Canada, that quickly changed.

“Most of the people I met through different events all worked for oil and gas companies,” admits Regehr. “You learn a little bit more about it as you talk to those people.”

As it turns out, the auction investment had quite a payoff for Townsend, as he and Regehr became close friends, and eventually partnered to open a business in the oil drilling industry.

BlueLine Oilfield Rentals was established, which specializes in renting equipment to companies that are drilling wells.

“It’s a lot of fun because the challenges are very different than what the challenges are in playing hockey,” says Regehr, also a husband and father of two. “It’s a whole different animal.”

Despite the differences, there is some crossover between Regehr’s jobs, and the fact that the term ‘BlueLine’ is a play on Regehr’s position as a defenseman is one of them.

BlueLine experienced the economic decline early in their existence, and Regehr believes that going through the hardship was beneficial.

“Going through that taught us a lot of very valuable lessons, much like in hockey when you lose a game or you fail in doing something you learn more about yourself and about your teammates and you learn more in general than just having successes all the time because you analyze ‘what can I do to get better?’ and ‘how can I get through this?’” Regehr explains.

Another direct hockey contribution came during a conversation with fellow Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell.

Both Mitchell and Regehr have a previous teammate in common, Brendan Morrison. Morrison played with Mitchell in Vancouver, and Regehr in Calgary, and he happened to come up in conversation when Mitchell mentioned that he now sells oil rig matting, which is a product BlueLine needed to acquire.

It doesn’t take a drilling engineer to figure out what happened next.

Since the 2011 trade that sent Regehr to Buffalo, he hasn’t had the privilege of being on site for the daily operations and face-to-face meetings that running a business requires, so Townsend has taken care of those aspects, and the two stay in contact on a near-daily basis.

“Now it’s a matter of keeping very open communication,” describes Regehr. “What’s going on, if there are any issues, how we deal with problems and successes and where we want to go, and to make sure we are both on the same page in where we want to go.”

Part of what fuels Regehr’s passion to succeed in the oil industry comes from his interest in energy sources.

“Energy is something that we need on a daily basis, and we’re not anywhere near getting to the point where we can sustainably use renewables to power all of our energy,” Regehr says.

Having BlueLine in addition to his hockey career has allowed Regehr to cultivate other interests and skill sets, as well as have something to look forward to when his playing days are over.

“I’ve been playing hockey for pretty much my entire life, so when that ends, it’s going to be a big change,” Regehr admits. “But the way I’m looking at it is I have these other challenges that I can then put some of that energy and time into and see if that’s right for me.”

“I don’t know how it’s going to work out,” continues Regehr. “It’s been really fun because of the new challenges, and having a bit of variety like that, I enjoy that.”

With such a firm grasp on what it takes to succeed and enjoy life on different levels, Regehr is surely the definition of a well-oiled machine.

Pun intended.

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