Friday, September 12, 2008

Take your smoking area with you

You won’t find many smokers who are pleased about smoking bans. But two NHL veterans, Dave Andreychuk and Stan Neckar, who both appreciate a good cigar, had an idea to start a business based on smoking bans.

Andreychuk was one of the highest scoring left wingers to play in the NHL. He played for a number of teams in the league before ending his career with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2006. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Andreychuk won his only Stanley Cup ring with Tampa Bay in 2004. The city of Hamilton was proud enough of their native son to name a sports complex after him.

One of his team mates during that Stanley Cup year was Czech born Stan Neckar (pronounced nets-cash), who was drafted by the Ottawa Senators in 1994.

So what do two big time hockey stars do when it’s time to hang up their skates? Well, if you’re Andreychuk and Neckar, you look around for a lemon from which to make lemonade. And, most smokers would agree that smoking bans are about the biggest lemon to come down the pike in the last decade or so.

The pair was frustrated with the no smoking laws sweeping across the US. There was no place for them to enjoy a cigar in comfort at social events. Says Neckar of one evening after winning the Stanley Cup, “half the team was standing outside having celebratory cigars and I was thinking, there has got to be a better way.

So, he and Andreychuk set about to finding a solution. They found it in a silver Airstream travel trailer.

Together with another partner, Juan Guillen, a veteran of the cigar industry who actually conceived the plan, they formed a company called the Mobile Cigar Lounge. Uh-huh. They created a mobile smoking area for cigar aficionados who want to take their smoking area with them when attending social events.

A custom built classic Airstream was transformed into a luxury lounge complete with cherry wood cabinets, granite counters, hard wood floors, ostrich seating, 5 flat screen satellite TVs’; all the comforts of home and more.

The mobile lounge is available for rent for weddings, stags, poker games, etc. In fact it can be rented for just about any social or sporting event where cigar smokers might want to light up, away from the nuisance of non-smoking areas.

It’s the better way to enjoy a cigar when you’re out on the town. No need to stand huddled in the rain or sweltering in 100 degree heat. Just step outside to your air conditioned mobile cigar lounge, light up and relax.

Forgot your stogies? Don’t worry about it. The trailer comes with a pantry-sized humidor, with a range of cigars which can be purchased from a hostess. You can even have a drink, if you bring your own liquor. It’s the perfect spot for an after dinner brandy and cigar following a meal at that upscale restaurant which can’t allow you to light up because of the smoking ban.

Now, I’ve seen both these guys play. Both have taken a few hits during their careers; shots which would have addled the average Joe’s brain. But, there’s nothing addled about this concept. And, I’ll bet the anti-smoker nuts are tearing their hair out, wondering how they missed this possibility.

Of course, the fact that Neckar wouldn’t talk about the rental fee suggests it’s one of those “if you have to ask the price, don’t waste your time deals”.

But you could hitch up a trailer to get you and your friends to the local Legion hall or your favourite country bar. Imagine, you’d have your own personal smoking area in the parking lot, available anytime you might need that nicotine fix. Just don’t forget the designated driver rule.

Shit. It might just work.

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