Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Game over for iconic store

Couple retires after 33 years

  • Print
Christine O'Connor (above) and her husband, Cavan, will close the Sweat Shack, at 3 St. Anne's Rd., today.

JESSICA BURTNICK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Christine O'Connor (above) and her husband, Cavan, will close the Sweat Shack, at 3 St. Anne's Rd., today. Photo Store

After 33 years, Sweat Shack will close its doors tonight for the last time.

The owners of the iconic soccer store, Christine and Cavan O'Connor, are retiring.

The store at 3 St. Anne's Road, a cornerstone of Winnipeg's soccer community, will open for one more day: today from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Today is also their 43rd wedding anniversary.

"We came here and all we wanted was to build a good life and I think we've done that," said Christine, 61. Cavan turned 65 last week. "We've enjoyed our lives here to the fullest and truly enjoyed the journey."

The couple moved to Winnipeg from Manchester, England, in 1974 with 13 pieces of luggage, their two-year-old son and a dream.

Soccer became their business, their recreation and part of the family along with their three sons, Brad, 41, Adam, 35, and Dylan, 22.

All three boys played the game. Cavan coached for more than 30 years, including the Sweat Shack women's team that Christine managed and the store sponsored. Christine was the first administrator of Canada's national women's soccer team when it formed in 1986 and served in numerous volunteer and administrative roles during the past 30 years. In 2010, Christine became the first woman to serve as president of the Manitoba Soccer Association and was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame as a builder.

"Everybody has been so nice, coming in to see us, one guy even cried," she said.

The store has been a meeting place and one of the best places in the province to get custom-made uniforms. When Winnipeg hosted the 1999 Pan Am Games, Sweat Shack was awarded the contract to make the Team Canada's uniforms, 6,000 pieces of which were worn to the opening and closing ceremonies.

Christine said friends and customers often gathered in the store to watch soccer on the store's many televisions.

"I remember during the 1986 World Cup I rented a big TV and had it set up in the store so I wouldn't miss any games and everybody came and brought their chairs and sat around," she said, laughing.

The couple had planned to retire later in the summer so they put the Sweat Shack building up for sale in mid-April. It sold in three weeks, expediting the retirement plans.

The new owner, a lawyer, wanted a quick possession, which is Friday.

"We accepted the offer quickly, before I changed my mind," Christine said, noting Cavan wanted to retire last year but she wasn't ready. "This last winter was so long, I just said to Cavan in February 'What are we doing? We could be away for the winter.' He said, 'Didn't I tell you that?' "

The couple will head to Florida for two weeks after Father's Day and then spend quality time this summer with their grandchildren: Keanna, 7, Axton, 6 and Finn, 2 1/2.

Left in the store is still about $40,000 inventory -- mostly fabric, shirts and pants -- which is being donated to the Red Road Lodge, Siloam Mission, a women's shelter and several other organizations.

"When you donate to something, you give bits of yourself away," Christine said. "This is kind of like we are giving little bits of Sweat Shack away all over the city."

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 13, 2013 A2

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Doug Speirs trains for role in Nutcracker

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Two baby tigers were unveiled at the Assiniboine Park Zoo this morning, October 3rd, 2011. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(  Standup photo)-    A butterfly looks for nector on a lily Tuesday afternoon in Wolseley-JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- June 22, 2010

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think it's a good idea for Theresa Oswald to enter NDP leadership race?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google