Remembering the old barn

Nicholas Mercer
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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.

An exterior view of S. W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace.

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.


Nicholas Mercer is a reporter and photographer with The Compass.

He lives in Bay Roberts and can be reached at

Organizations: The Compass

Geographic location: S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium, Bay Roberts

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Recent comments

  • Rachelle Reynolds
    February 17, 2016 - 06:13

    Home of the St. Paul Saints!! There were many a good high school hockey game played there too....girls and boys! Friday nights in the 70s and 80s, it was the place to be.

  • Mr. Observer
    February 06, 2016 - 08:37

    [Edited] … Post this edited version, please] I remember leaving your house before the fire was even lit in the stove to get your sorry ass to Kennedy’s Corner, Carbonear for 6AM on dark freezing cold Saturday mornings to catch Joe Noel’s old 1950s ancient coxinelle tiny bus to take us over the saddle to the stadium in Hr. Grace… Pee Wee, Bantam, Air Cadet hockey practice was the call...What don’t kill you, will make you stronger… I recall two dressing rooms with a heater way up high in the corner driving out some warm air into the room …THANK GOD, because that stadium at 6 in the morning was an ice box… I still get cold when I think about those mornings… I remember the Cee Bee Hockey games… curly Penney, and Jim, and Ern Cole, and Danky Dorrington, Jerry Lahey, Jimmy Dawe, Toy Toy Gallant [defenceman Buchans Miners], Hughie Hutton, and who can forget the black player Clobie Collins [Corner Brook Royals]… My God, how much name calling was sent his way… In those days, the referees sometimes had buckets of raw meat they hove into the stands to cool down the crowd… The games were pretty lively… I also remember well, the Rink Rats… those responsible for scraping the ice between periods… Jack Rose, Paul Oliver, Adian and Cyril Morraity, Larry Sheen, Jerome Connors, and others… How much cat calling and verbal abuse was sent there way… Holy Moley… I remember jumping over the boards at the end of a Cee Bee game trying to yank the stick out of a player’s hands… I remember little Junior Murphy and the long stairs going up to his shop, and Mercer’s restaurant to get a plate of chips…Those were the days… You’d be squeezed to death trying to exit the door after the game was over… Man oh man, what memories… if those old stadium walls could talk…

  • The Enforcer
    February 05, 2016 - 13:16

    Ah yes, The Old Barn. The washrooms always smelled like an old barn.

  • Masterwatch
    February 05, 2016 - 08:50

    In my previous post I neglected to name my choice of a name for the new stadium. I stated Dr. Charles when I meant Dr.Charles Cron I knew him and was a patient of his who remembers well his skill and dedication.

  • Masterwatch
    February 05, 2016 - 08:37

    How about naming it to honour Dr. Charles who served the people of 0kthe town unselfishly and often without compensation. He travelled in all kinds of weather to bring relief to the suffering . I can't think of anyone more deserving of the recognition!

  • Jim
    February 04, 2016 - 11:40

    Nothing quite like slapping those walls in the standing room up top to encourage your team. Walls were covered I believe a few years back to cover many a dent! Building has tonnes of character for sure. Nice Job Nick... although the fries are not quite what they used to be....and maybe I'm just getting older.....

  • Stats
    February 04, 2016 - 11:04

    Who fan forget the GREAT CeeBees team of the 1960's. Hockey legends like the Faulkners, Dawe, Lahey, Penney, Stanley, Simmons to name a few. Memories that will never be forgotten.

  • mike
    February 04, 2016 - 10:42

    lot's of great memories of heading to hr grace on a Saturday night from the southern shore in all kinds of weather to watch the BREAKERS BEAT THE CEE-BEES on a serous note it was great hockey to watch back in the 90's and early 2000's between two great teams I don'nt think hockey like that will ever take place again to bad for fans who never got to see the way local hockey sould be played and back to back games were the best