A barber, a band and a bubble: How an Edmonton hairdresser ended up in the NHL’s hub at Rogers Place

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A barber, a band and a bubble: How an Edmonton hairdresser ended up inside Rogers Place
WATCH ABOVE: With hockey hair growing out of control in Edmonton's NHL bubble — a hero was needed. After an unexpected recommendation from popular Canadian band Arkells, the "bubble barber" stepped in to help. Jessica Robb introduces us to the man behind the chair – Sep 11, 2020

Craig Boa wasn’t expecting to set foot inside the Edmonton NHL bubble — let alone set up shop.

The local hairdresser spent five days last week cleaning up the playoff hair that had been growing in the bubble for just under seven weeks. His services, and presence, was appreciated.

“Even some people who don’t want cuts, I think [it’s] literally… something to pass the time. They’re like, ‘OK, I’ll go get a haircut,’ says Boa.

READ MORE: Maintaining mental health key to living in Edmonton’s NHL bubble 

Boa owns Weekly Trim True. He set up on the concourse of Rogers Place for what was supposed to be three days. Demand was so high, that quickly changed.

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“They extended me another day, then another day after that,” he says. “So currently, I’ve done five days and I’m going in for what they said is my final day next Monday.”

Hairdresser Craig Boa wasn’t expecting to set foot inside the Edmonton NHL bubble — let alone set up shop. Julien Fournier/ Global News

He has been setting up shop from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., giving haircuts every 30 to 45 minutes and completed 10 to 12 cuts a day.

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Boa was tested for the coronavirus three times prior to going in and then every day while inside. The hairdresser was almost unrecognizable under all the PPE he was wearing.

“As far as the getup, I had like a full hazmat suit – mask, shield, gloves, surgical gown, and sanitizer between every client kind of thing,” he says.

But the people who recommended his services to the NHL were able to recognize Boa’s “soft, sweet voice” under all the protective gear.

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READ MORE: Alberta couple’s food truck serves NHL stars inside bubble

About five years ago, the Canadian rock group The Arkells stopped in Edmonton while on tour. Frontman Max Kerman was in search of a haircut before the show. A quick Yelp search led him to the Mercer building in downtown Edmonton, which he lovingly describes as “a beautiful, century[-old] brick palace.” Inside was Weekly Trim True, where Kerman settled into Boa’s chair — again and again.

“The band has timed our haircuts so we are the appropriate length for a haircut when we’re going through Edmonton on a tour,” says Kerman.

The singer has a friend who has been working in the NHL bubble in Edmonton for the past couple months. While texting one day, Kerman threw out the idea of a haircut.

“We said, ‘Hey Steve, if you need a haircut, we have a guy for you. He’s the best guy and he’s the kind of guy that will get along with everybody.'”

Within days, Boa was in.

He’s thankful for the unique opportunity of setting foot inside Rogers Place while it’s home to the Western Conference playoff teams.

“It’s weird being in a place like Rogers Place without being shoulder to shoulder with a whole bunch of random people,” says Boa.

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But the game-day feel is still there.

“They do everything like you’re still at a game,” Boa says. “They announce the players like they’re announcing it for the fans.”

Boa watched a couple of games from the bar while inside. He says the 12-second delay was the strangest part. Each team has their own goal horns, which he heard on the rink seconds before hearing it on the TV he was watching the game on – which was only steps away from the action on the ice.

The best part for Boa was getting to interact with a wide range of people from all over the world and outside of his usual cohort.

“You kind of get pigeonholed, especially now that you can’t travel, in your own… you can’t use the word bubble now because that’s a thing now, but in your own little city.”

Kerman believes Boa was the hairdresser hero the Edmonton bubble needed.

“He’s sort of the perfect guy I think,” he says. “He’s so handsome, he’s so sweet and kind and talented — he’s a small business owner, and he treats everybody equally and like a million bucks.”

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