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Former NHLer Brandon Prust opens fitness centre in London



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Brandon Prust knows what it took to build a 10-year NHL career when he did not have elite-level scoring skills.

It was all about hard work.

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Now, the Londoner wants to instil that same work ethic in the next generation of young athletes as well as offer a new training experience for every level of fitness enthusiast.

Prust has opened BP8 Fitness on Blue Heron Drive, a gym and fitness centre offering daily classes for all levels, as well as training for athletes and sports teams.

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“I am trying to build something unique, where people will want to come and work out,” he said. “A lot of people need guidance” in the gym, Prust said.

BP8 is a “hybrid gym” offering daily fitness classes for all and team training in the evenings. Having opened late in October, it already has about 100 members and trains a dozen teams.

“You have to reach kids. You may not be a first-line centre, but they can find a role, a purpose,” said Prust about his gym’s focus.

“It is about hard work. It is in some kids but others, you have to push them a bit, help them figure it out.”

Prust, who played for the London Knights from 2002 to 2005, was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 2004 draft. He also played for the New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks. He won a Memorial Cup with the Knights in 2005.

Brandon Prust helps out at a London Knights practice in November 2017. He was a member of the 2005 Knights squad that won a Memorial Cup, then went on to a solid career in the National Hockey League. (File photo)

BP8 is next door to the Hockey Studio, an ice pad, and it was a few years ago that Prust was skating there with his nephew when he saw the vacant space for lease. He had been thinking of opening a gym and it was an ideal site, he said.

“I happened to skate there one day and I saw a for lease sign. It snowballed from there. It is good we are next to each other. We will feed off each other,” Prust said of the hockey pad.

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He retired from the NHL after the 2017 season with Vancouver, although he spent a year in Europe after that. Prust worked with a financial services business in London, but missed the world of sports.

“At that time, I was thinking of hockey training, of passing down my knowledge. That is something I always wanted to do.”

Dave Moore is a trainer at BP8 and has worked with Prust for more than 20 years. He believes the new gym offers something different in London for fitness enthusiasts.

“Things have started to take off and the athletic development piece is unique, focusing on developing young athletes is a big piece of what we do,” Moore said.

The classes include lessons laid out on large video screens with participants moving to different screens through their sessions, overseen by a trainer, he said.

“That has proven to be very popular,” Moore said.

Prust said he is considering opening a summer hockey school in London that will focus on both on-ice and off-ice training.

“I want to help kids reach their full potential and help them improve in every aspect.”

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