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.

Photo by Terry Roberts/The Com­pass

He­ber McGurk of Car­bon­ear has fond mem­o­ries of his days as a rink rat at the old Ju­bilee Rink.

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