Boxing club in search of new venue

2 Rivers Boxing Club 'Rumbles' outgrow Bouchie Lake; have trouble finding new home.

Wally Doern give Kyle Tessier a few tips before his bout at Bouchie lake

Wally Doern give Kyle Tessier a few tips before his bout at Bouchie lake

Having outgrown the Bouchie Lake Hall and their old home, the Seniors’ Centre, no longer an option, the 2 Rivers Boxing Club is currently searching for a new venue.

Two years ago, the 2 Rivers Boxing Club held their last rumble at the Seniors’ Centre. The centre’s president, Rae Daggit said the the centre created a ban against erecting forms in response to the damage the ring did to the floor.

Damages were paid to the centre to fix the floor.

The boxing club then moved to Bouchie Lake, where they have held competitions ever since. Though Coach Wally Doern and the club have felt at home at the hall, the club’s events are becoming too big, resulting in a crowded house. The distance to the hall is also somewhat prohibitive for parents of the boxers, Doern and the fans.

To alleviate these problems, Doern has been casting about for new places to host a bigger event and have it a bit closer to home.

The problem began in 2011 when the Seniors’ Centre passed a motion to ban events which ‘require any form of large equipment set up on the floor.’

Daggit said the group has spent a lot of money to create a great venue and doesn’t want to allow groups in who, they feel, will do damage to the building.

Doern said it was the first time the ring had caused any damage to the floor, saying that some younger volunteers, who shouldn’t have been helping, were trying to carry pieces of the ring that were too heavy for them and dropped them, damaging the floor.

The first incident happened during the initial run of events Doern put on at the hall. After hosting two events elsewhere, Doern decided to bring his third ‘rumble’ to the Seniors’ Centre in 1999. For about five years, during which he remembers hosting 10 one-day events and four two-day provincial events, Doern held his bouts at the Seniors’ Centre.

During an early rumble, ‘ZZ Top’ was scrawled on a bathroom door by an attendee, a problem which snowballed when Doern and the painter he hired mis-communicated, which ended in an unsatisfactory paint job that required all the stalls in the bathroom be re-painted. The stalls were repainted in a similar hue, but not with the baked-on enamel the stalls had previously been painted with because it would have been an an expense Doern could not afford.

In 2004 Doern took five years off from coaching, coming back in 2009, during which time the executive at the Seniors’ Centre changed. It was a year later, at Rumble 14, actually thirteen (the jump was, ironically, to avoid that dreaded unlucky number), that the floor was damaged.

After the damage, Doern appealed to the executive to allow him back, but they decided to ban all acts that included set-up equipment.

Daggit also told Doern that his security was lacking during his last event, saying there was no one watching the door so people, with or without tickets, could wander in at will even if they just wanted to use the washroom.

“If I want to let someone in for nothing, I’ll let them in; that’s our show,” Doern said.

“There’s no alcohol at the show and we’ve never had any behavioral problems at the show.”

Doern treasures the awards and recognitions he has from  the city and is happy to be a positive force in the community. He feels the community that once had his back, the one he has worked with for such a long time, has left him out in the cold, while acts that roll through town are welcomed.

“The money generated by the club goes back to the club and  stays in the community,” he said

“We’re not a country band that fills our pockets and leaves town.”

The Seniors’ Centre executive sees the centre as a poor fit for a boxing venue to begin with, preferring to host concerts and large scale get togethers as opposed to sporting events that may cause damage.

“It’s just not conducive to the building, to what we want to do,” Daggit said, adding later, “We have a lot of decoration, a lot of nice stuff and we want to keep this hall as a first class venue in town.”

Dwaine Sauve, a long time member of the community and a donor to both the boxing club and the Seniors’ Centre in it’s fledging stage envisions the Seniors’ Centre as a place that should be helping the community, saying he supports the boxing club because it gives underprivileged children and young adults, who can’t afford a sport like hockey, a place to go.

“I think the Seniors’ Centre was built to serve the community and the people and it should be rented out if for no other reason to help the kids,” he said.

He maintains that supporting clubs like these will help the community in the long run and the community needs to work to make that happen or no one will.

Currently the club is exploring opportunities to host events at Correlieu among other possibilities. The Twin Arenas are not being considered because Doern fears the required temperature to keep the ice cold will be unpleasant for his boxers, clothed only in shorts as they are.

Though Doern is hoping to find a new home for the next rumble, he is keeping his eye on the Bouchie Lake Hall as back up.

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