For Winnipeg’s Dale Weise, hockey has always been on the forefront. Since beginning his lofty career at Gateway Recreation Centre in 1995 in the U-9 house league, Weise’s focus on top performance and a high-quality, on-ice product has taken him from AAA hockey to the Western Hockey League, and now through the National Hockey League’s New York Rangers, Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens.
It has been a wild ride for the now 32-year-old, who was once the fourth round selection of the New York Rangers, back in 2008. Yet to sign a contract for the 2020-21 season, Weise remains in close contact with his agent as he continues to look for a new home in the coming months.
“I have actually spoken with a number of teams already,” Weise told Game On. “My agent and I have discussed some options and places that I would be interested in. His job is to go out and find a match for me. It’s a bit different than it was for me four years ago, when I was really anxious and had a lot of offers and a big contract coming for myself. It’s way different this time and I’ll gladly let the cards fall however they may. I’m back in the gym training here, but we will just have to wait and see what happens.”
While he waits, Weise has more than enough on his platter to which he can turn his attention. Now a father of four – including that of one-year-old twins – the 6-foot-2, 210-pound forward has been juggling life as a professional athlete, parenthood and business ownership, which would already seem like too much to most, right?
Wrong, according to Weise.
“So this past year I have jumped into the real estate market here in Winnipeg,” Weise said. “It has always been something that has really excited me. I have used my cabin up at Bird River as a bit of a rental the last few years and really started to see the benefits of that. So that gave me the idea of looking into this a bit deeper. To be quite honest, I’ve been really busy the past few years, but this pandemic pause has given me that little extra push to kind of gain more knowledge and eventually take the plunge here.”
Working in Weise’s favour is the fact that he has a solid working relationship with the owner of Paragon Design|Build – a local Winnipeg developer. After some persuasion, Paragon agreed to sell Weise an up-and-coming six-plex, in Winnipeg’s St. Boniface Neighbourhood. After tearing down an older duplex at the site of the build, the crew has since broken ground at 513 St. Jean Baptiste, to which the building’s frame has been erected.
“The great thing about real estate for someone who is in a situation like myself is that it’s not something that I need to physically be there for every day,” Weise said. “Obviously, I am going to be there along the way, but I won’t physically be the one pounding in nails. Once it’s fully built, I’ll have a property management company handling everything for me, so it somewhat of a passive investment for me. It’s not like I’m going to be going over there and changing light bulbs and cutting grass or anything like that. It’s just really a nice passive investment to which I will see myself continuing going forward.”
Although the current global pandemic has given Weise the ability to shift gears to this new focus, the former Swift Current Broncos star does plan on continuing with his true passion.
“Obviously, I will continue playing hockey as long as I can get a contract, so we will see how that goes the next couple of years here,” he added. But this is definitely something that I will transition to full-time when I’m done playing. This is just the first step of the process. There are a ton of things I would love to learn about the building process that I’m not as educated on. Of course you need to know what you’re doing and be sharp on the numbers when you’re first starting out with this. But I’m learning.”
Set to open spring of 2021, Weise’s infill apartment building is considered an upscale living residence. Six 1,100 square ft. suites comprised of two bedrooms and one bathroom will be highlighted by individual walk-out balconies, nine-foot ceilings, in-suite laundry, high-speed internet and cable, stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops and a covered surface parking lot. Situated just minutes from the Forks, the Exchange District and many parks surrounding the Seine River, 513 St. Jean Baptiste will certainly provide tenants with the many luxuries of a permanent stay-cation.
“The design is definitely higher-end,” Weise reflected. “It’s going to be a bit more comparable style-wise to what you might find in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver. That’s why Paragon is having so much success in Winnipeg. But it’s definitely not Vancouver or Toronto prices. It’s a little more higher end for Winnipeg on the average rental rate. But these are just really beautiful suites. I just look forward to getting the pictures out there and showing people.”
So why now?
According to Weise, this plan has been in the works for “many years”. As a firm believer in ultimate focus, the 10-year NHL veteran knows that hockey players – who have been trained to operate a certain way for the better portion of their entire lives – sometimes find themselves in a rut post-career… something he wants to avoid.
“If you’re going to be uber-successful in the world at whatever you do – whether it’s real estate or hockey – you have to be 100 percent focused on what you’re doing,” he said. “I think that’s a quality that hockey players can take outside of hockey and continue to find success. There are a ton of things that you learn being a professional athlete that you take outside in the business world, and sometimes hockey players just need a little push to find out what they’re interested in.”
“I know a lot of guys finish in their mid-thirties and have some cash stashed up, but they are sitting at home with their wives and are thinking, ‘what do I do now?’. You can’t sit at home and watch TV all day, obviously. You’ve been structured your whole life, so that is where some guys get in trouble. I’m just really excited because I got a lot of projects going and I’m passionate about them. Whenever hockey does end for me – hopefully not any time soon – I’ll be ready to jump into this full-steam and try to scale it as big as I can.”
Speaking of projects, Weise and his wife Lauren are already franchisees of the Brossard, QB. WowMoms World location – another endeavour altered by the ongoing spread of COVID-19.
“We partnered with the CEO of the company and franchised the location in Brossard, which is situated right by the Montreal practice rink, so we knew the area very well,” Weise said. “WowMoms World has a café, a play room for kids, miniature custom pools for young children – which helps develop motor skills – as well as gym classes, aesthetics, a spa for nails, hair and a laser machine for weight loss. Essentially, it’s a one-stop shop for families. And don’t worry, it might be called WowMoms World, but it’s not just for moms. Dads can come in as well, as we have treatments for men too.”
Set for a March 27, 2020 grand opening, WowMoms World, Brossard saw its festivities put on pause due to the pandemic, but the business – which is geared towards new-moms and families – is still under operation, and according to Weise, doing quite well.
“Unfortunately, the timing was not great with COVID,” Weise said. “But my wife and my partner are doing well, especially with the amount of cases that are happening in Quebec. We had everything all ready and set up for the grand opening, and obviously that couldn’t happen, but we have been open for about three months now. It’s a really cool concept, and maybe in the future it is something that I will bring over to Winnipeg.
With tenant waiting lists filling up on the daily, Weise’s sights have since shifted to yet another piece of property. But for now, Weise will stick to hockey and signing a new contract, while remaining fully attentive in his ongoing adventure of navigating Winnipeg’s real estate market. Stay tuned, Winnipeg.