Memories of a Carbonear rink rat
In the early 1950s, for three winters, I worked as the old Jubilee Rink in Carbonear as a rink rat. We would start in October getting things ready to make ice on the rink.
At the north end of the rink there was a well. This well was five-feet by five-feet by two-feet deep. At the first snowfall we would haul in boxes of snow on a sled through a four-foot door on the east side of the rink. The snow was then packed down with shovels.
Water was then poured on the snow and levelled off.
The rink shutters were opened all night, as the nights were very cold and frosty. Many times we would get cold, our hands would be frost-bitten and our feet wet. Making the ice was only one stage. The next was after each hockey game and between the periods, the ice was cleared with wooden scrapers, and then swept with birch brooms.
The birch brooms were bought off Uncle Gus Clarke and sons Nath and Pleaman of Victoria for 20 cents each.
Other rink rats were Clyde and Wilson Howell, Gordon McGurk, Graham Butt, Les Moores and others. The head rink rats were Ben Snow, Cyril Pike, John C. Butt and William Penney.
We would work all day and all night until we got a good ice surface. Some nights we would cook up a scoff. Some of the boys would bring in vegetables, the occasional piece of fresh meat, pork and sometimes a chicken would disappear from a nearby hen house.
Going down the lane used to be very slippery, and Butt’s kitchen window was close to the ground. One night Clyde Mahoney slipped down and fell right through the window. He landed down in the kitchen by the table. Mrs. Butt asked him if he was hurt. In his witty way, he said, “No, Mrs. Butt. What’s for breakfast?”
The Jubilee was the only closed-in rink in Conception Bay at the time. When the ice was ready the games would start. Team at that time were: Brigus Bruins, Coley’s Point Pointers, Shearstown Tigers, Bay Roberts Rovers, Harbour Grace Seniors, and the Carbonear Seniors.
There would be hockey every night. In addition to the senior teams, there were intermediate, junior and air cadet teams.
The Carbonear team consisted of the following: Jack Hogan, Jack Keneally, John Goff, Eph Laing, Jack Penney, Walt Earle, Tom Earle, George Garland, Bill Penney, Calvin Powell, Frazer Morgan and Ron Quinn, and coaches John T. Pike, Moses Parsons, George W. Janes, Ira Parsons and George Long. Goalies were Don Parsons, Lloyd Laing and Tom Quinn. Tom also played for the intermediate team. He was the last goalie to play in the Jubilee Rink.
There were other teams from the region as well: Upper Island Cove, Freshwater, Salmon Cove, Harbour Grace and Victoria. Most of those teams had their own cheerleaders. And their own chant.
Coley’s Point had, “Go, Pointers, Go.” Bay Roberts had: “Hockey on the harbour, hockey on the shore, come on Bay Roberts, score one more.”
A group of girls from Victoria made up their own, which was very unique. It went like this:
“Go back, go back, go back to the woods,/ you haven’t, you haven’t, you haven’t the goods,/ you haven’t the rhythm, you haven’t the jazz,/ you haven’t the team Victoria has./ Go, Victoria, Go!”
When hockey would be over, general skating would start. The Blue Skirt Waltz was played over and over on the loud speakers.
Then, when the weather got warmer, water built up on the ice. Sometimes up to four inches deep in some areas. Many times we would get wet playing in the water.
I do not remember all the members of the other teams. And if I missed anyone, you will have to put me in the penalty box.
Heber McGurk of Carbonear has fond memories of his days as a rink rat at the old Jubilee Rink.