There are some things we know about the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace.
Compass file photo
There are plenty of memories inside the walls of S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace.
We know it’s been the on-and-off-again home of the CeeBees senior hockey team for close to six decades. There have been a couple of breaks over the years, but for the most part, the rink has played host to a countless number of senior hockey games.
We know fans used to lean over the boards — there was no glass — to watch the games and smoking was encouraged. Former CeeBees keeper Doug Moores has said it would be hard to see the other end of the ice when the second period rolled around for the cloud of smoke that hung in the rink.
We know about the rabid fans who clamored for the chance to watch hockey of any kind.
There was even a time when one patron in particular took offense to a player in the penalty box, so much so that he came out of the stands to take the player over the head with his cap.
However, as much as we know about the stadium, there are still some stories and information that is kind of left in the dark.
A couple of weeks ago, The Compass published a column remembering the old barn, which is due to be replaced by a new rink within the next year. The post generated plenty of page views and attracted some interesting comments from readers.
They told us about catching early morning bus rides from Kennedy’s Corner to the stadium on dark and cold Saturday mornings.
The children were heading for minor hockey. There were peewee, bantam and air cadet hockey practice, amongst others in those days. The air cadet practice doesn’t exist now, but just the mention of it, shows how much interest there was in the corps in those days.
“Thank god, because the stadium at 6 a.m. was an icebox,” said one reader. “I still get cold thinking about those memories.”
“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,” wrote Carbonear’s Jim Harris.
There are other stories of the S.W. Moores that you wouldn’t expect. Did you know the early editions of the CeeBees had their own brand of cheerleaders?
Eva Jones remembers heading on the ice and cheering on the likes of Jim Penney, Alfie Hiscock, Mac Martin, Allan Dawe, Joe Hunt and others.
“I certainly remember the 1960s there,” she said. “First when the CeeBees started, about six of us girls were cheerleaders in between periods on the ice in our short skirts and legs frozen.”
Jones also worked in the canteen where she arrived early to peel and pre-cook the potatoes, while also working at the door.
“Lots of ice skating and roller skating, I did there,” she said. “Such fun days.”
Of course, any conversation about the rink would be remiss to not mention the storied players and teams that have toiled there over the years.
“A lot of great memoires playing and watching in the old barn,” wrote Corey Crocker, who played in the CeeBees minor system and later the OHL. “A Stanley Cup champion was developed inside those tin can walls and many provincial championships were won.”
The Stanley Cup champion is Dan Cleary, but he’s not the only standout to cut his teeth on the ice in Harbour Grace. Upper Island Cove’s Robert Slaney played pro hockey, while Harbour Grace’s Matthew Thomey played NCAA puck.
There are countless others who have thrilled fans inside the rink.
Guys like Jack Rose, Paul Oliver, and Jerome Connors were just some of the supposed “rink rats” who cleaned the ice.
“You’d be squeezed to death trying to exit the door after the game was over. What memories,” wrote a reader. “If those old stadium walls could talk.”
“The building has a tonne of character for sure,” said Jim Harris.