Re­mem­ber­ing the old barn

The Compass - - SPORTS - Ni­cholas Mercer Ni­cholas Mercer is a reporter and pho­tog­ra­pher with The Com­pass. He lives in Bay Roberts and can be reached at nmercer@cbn­com­

As con­struc­tion at the peak of Jamie’s Way in Har­bour Grace ap­proaches its fin­ish date, the end of the S.W. Moores Me­mo­rial Sta­dium in Har­bour Grace draws closer.

Af­fec­tion­ately called “the old barn,” by many hockey pun­dits in the town and around the re­gion, the sta­dium has been a recre­ational fix­ture in Con­cep­tion Bay North for al­most 60 years.

It’s seen count­less ex­hi­bi­tions of mi­nor hockey, se­nior hockey, recre­ational hockey and fig­ure skat­ing in those five-plus decades.

Thou­sands of ath­letes and recre­ational skaters have taken to the ice in one form or an­other.

They’ve tied up their skates ei­ther in the thick blue dress­ing rooms or on the time tested bleach­ers.

The can­teen has moved over the years, but they still sell the same sta­dium fries.

You can get them in a rel­a­tively warm en­vi­ron­ment now, but back in my day you lined up in the cold and ate them in the cold. It was a part of the charm. Just men­tion the name S.W. Moores and peo­ple start shar­ing sto­ries.

They tell you of days when a chain link fence sur­rounded the ice sur­face and when the Faulkner brothers made se­nior hockey waves.

They tell you of count­less Herder Me­mo­rial tro­phies and sto­ried ri­val­ries be­tween As­cen­sion Col­le­giate, St. Fran­cis, the Bay Arena, CBN mi­nor, South­ern Shore and oth­er­wise.

Peo­ple re­mem­ber their he­roes. Play­ers like Jim Pen­ney and Joe Hunt. Ev­ery­day guys who prob­a­bly worked down the road, but ri­valed their pro­fes­sional cousins as idols on the ice.

Rinks like the S.W. Moores Me­mo­rial Sta­dium take on a dif­fer­ent life in a small com­mu­nity like Har­bour Grace.

Satur­day nights be­came more than just an­other night at the sta­dium. It turned into a so­cial club.

You’re con­nected at the rink. You learned about your neigh­bours and their lives — it just so hap­pened to be book­ended by a hockey game.

In be­tween whis­tles, there is plenty of time for open dis­cus­sion. There are no top­ics left off the ta­ble. Pol­i­tics, life and oth­er­wise are all up for dis­cus­sion.

In some sense, the hockey game be­comes a mi­cro­cosm for the lives of its spectators.

Mind you, there is still plenty of time to get out and en­joy the old rink.

Al­though Har­bour Grace of­fi­cials have said on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions that the plan is to wait un­til the New Year to move op­er­a­tions into the new fa­cil­ity, there is still a bit of a fore­bod­ing sen­sa­tion when you en­ter the rink.

It’ll take a bit of time for the new one to get to the sta­tus of the old one.

It’ll take some puck marks on the new boards to give her a bit of char­ac­ter. Maybe a scrap or two in the stands, even.

The new one will get to the sta­tus of the old one.

Un­til that hap­pens, make sure to pay your re­spects to the old girl.

She’s got some sto­ries to tell.

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