Keith Seabrook is what you might call an overachiever. But when you’re drafted into the National Hockey League at 17 years old, you’re likely to have some high expectations for yourself. The former power forward journeyed throughout the NHL and American Hockey League – slicing the ice everywhere from Calgary to San Antonio to Europe.
But during a pro stint in Italy in 2012, Seabrook made the transformative decision to hang up his skates and venture out on his own. “I’ve always wanted to own my own business, but playing hockey is what made me who I am today. That's just how my life was since I was three years old. That's all I did for the first 20 years of my life. I was ready for a new challenge,” he explains.
What followed was an arguably-unexpected career change: in 2013 he opened up fine jewelry shop Cavalier in Vancouver with his childhood friend (and pro lacrosse player, naturally) Dane Stevens. Their plan was genius in its necessity – an ethical jewelry store perfectly designed for nerve-addled young men getting ready to pop the big question. Cold beer, a comfy couch and two guys to talk sports with help settle any jitters. “We understand that for a younger guy, jewelry can be super expensive. We can relate to a lot of our customers that way,” he explains.
Going from stick handling to diamond inspection was a steep learning curve, but one that Seabrook took on with the hyper-focus of an athlete. “We hit the ground running. It was full-on business planning while I got my lab certificates for diamonds, gems, pearls and precious metals – learning about what they are and where they come from, which regions are mined and how to determine if a stone is real or not. But there's only so much you can learn in a classroom.”
The life of a retired professional athlete can be wrought with indecision and a loss of identity, but with the help of his friends and family (and a little meditation), Seabrook’s career as a businessman has defied the odds.
Meet Keith Seabrook
Cycling around UBC
“I grew up training five days a week in the summer and sweating. If I don't sweat throughout my day, then I'm out of whack.”
Client appointments at Cavalier
“My business partner Dane and I have been close friends since we were three years old when we played lacrosse together. His family is in the gem industry. I come from an entrepreneurial family – my parents have run their business for just about 30 years now.”
“It's such a positive industry to be in because you are dealing with super happy people all the time. You get to be a big part of some of the biggest decisions in people's lives.”
Leaving Gastown to go for a workout
“Quality is important, especially when you work with such high‑quality jewelry all day. I like to think my style helps people trust me when I'm giving them pointers on what looks good and what doesn't.”
Working out at Factory Hockey
“It's really tough to be an athlete – it demands a lot of people. But I’ve learned to not really let things get to me as much as I used to. I've gone through that. I’m on the other side now.”
Happy hour at Bambudda
“I like to have a full day and be efficient. I like when I go from A to B to C to D and when my work day is done, I can go have a drink with some friends and my girlfriend.”
See more from Seabrook at cavaliergastown.com.