Clos­ing a chap­ter at the S.W. Moores Me­mo­rial Sta­dium

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cbn­com­pass.ca

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.”

PHOTO BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER/THE COM­PASS

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.

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