Closing a chapter at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium
A tight atom D division battle was raging on the ice at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace on March 31.
The hometown CeeBees were deadlocked at three with the Port aux Basques Blaze heading into the third period. The hockey was end-to-end and some parents sounded like they may overexert themselves as the cheering reached a fever pitch.
Some 20-feet above them, local hockey veterans Bud Chafe and Val Slaney watched the game unfold through the murky Plexiglas of the Gord Dean Minor Hockey Room. Arms folded on the ledge and faces millimetres from the glass, they admire the work being put in by the 12 and 13 year olds.
They implore the youngsters to shoot the puck and applaud some of the plays made.
It’s the start of a special three days at the S.W. Moores. The atom D division provincial tournament represents the end of an era for hockey in the area.
When the final buzzer sounded Saturday afternoon, it marked the end of the final provincial tournament to be held at the some 60-year-old facility.
“There’s a lot of history here at the stadium,” said Bud, his gaze drifting to the rafters.
As the CeeBees skate to a 3-3 tie with the Blaze, they’re some of the youngest members of their associations; they may not realize the historical significance of the tournament they’re playing in.
“It’s a nice feeling to know that you’ve got a new rink coming, but this is the one that I have all of the memories for,” said Slaney. “It brings back a lot of memories.” They may not realize it For coaches like Rob Button and Brendan Chafe, standing on the bench for the atom B team adds a little something to the tournament.
They started playing hockey at the venerable arena in their early years and are now coaching their own children on that same ice.
They know the magnitude of what’s going on.
“It brings it to a close for us, I mean, growing up around the rink since I was a boy,” said Button. “It’s nice to finish off as a coach and see it full-circle. I don’t know if the players realize it, but they’re feeding off our energy. It means a lot to us.”
For the players, it might not be anything more than another provincial tournament. Some are going through their first All-NL experiences, while others are only getting their second taste of a provincial tournament.
“It’s fun being at your home stadium and it means a lot because it’s the last tournament of the year,” said second-year atom Jesse Donovan.
A ceiling of history
There are countless banners, some made from plywood, dangling above the ice surface. They’re hard not to notice when you walk around the building.
There are Herder banners, minor hockey banners and retired jerseys lining the ceiling of the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium.
The question becomes what becomes of them.
If you ask Bud, he’d like to see them moved to the new stadium at the top of Jamie’s Way in Harbour Grace.
“They should get copies done of the plywood ones. That’s the history of the stadium,” he said. “If they don’t want them, I’ll take them.”
After this weekend, there will be more hockey to be played at the stadium. It’s the annual Bud Cup house league championships. It’ll be one last chance for the players to give the S.W. Moores the send-off she deserves.
Provincial tournaments are always a little grander, however, and this weekend represented the province’s chance to say goodbye.
“It’s nice that I’m here coaching and it’s wonderful that we’re getting a new arena. The area is desperate for it,” said Button. “But, it’s sad that we’re closing this chapter.”
CeeBees’ atom B forward Carter Adams fights through a pair of Port aux Basques defendors during provincal atom D division play at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace on March 31. Carter and his teammates represent the final CeeBees team to play for a provincial banner at the venerable arena. The new arena is slated to open later this year.