Presumably at centre ice and swallowed by the shadows of the retired jerseys of CeeBees’ legends Jim Penney, Alex Faulkner and the late Brandon Harris, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Paul Davis and Harbour Grace Mayor Terry Barnes shook hands and put their signatures on a piece of paper that will usher in a new chapter in the history of hockey in the community.
Surrounded by the remaining members of the town council, town employees, government officials and hundreds of youngsters from nearby St. Francis school, Barnes raised his arms in victory and exclaimed, “She’s done!”
Presumably, the ink was still wet when the mayor let go his victory cry as all in attendance, some clad in minor hockey jerseys and figure skating coats, roared their approval.
Yes, Harbour Grace got her done. At last, the people of the region have the still-to-be-named recreation facility within their grasps.
It’s only been close to four years since funding was announced for the project way back in 2011. Since then, there have been countless other announcements, including one by former Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA Jerome Kennedy during the 2013 Herder series. The Paradise rink is finished, while the Kelligrews stadium is set to open its doors in the fall.
Both were announced at the same time. Similarly, a swimming pool in Marystown is nearing completion.
The Quebec-based Pomerleau Inc., are tabbed with the construction and they had equipment at the top of Jamie’s Way - the official site - on Friday. They’ll aim to have the facility, with professional ice surface, gym and multi-purpose room, completed as soon as possible.
Amid all of this cheer and good vibrations, one question lingers. What was the need of such pomp and pageantry?
Why not just march out the integral players, throw a hard hat on them as they turn over some dirt while surrounded by bulldozers and other such land clearing equipment?
It would dispel any notions of more delays to come, even more than the stadium show did already. It would’ve shown residents, and the province, construction was hours away from starting instead of days or weeks.
Instead, there was still that sense of disbelief. As the story broke, the mistrusting said, “they’ll believe it when they see it,” while the true believers are aglow with the possibility of seeing their beloved senior CeeBee Stars gliding around the ice. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that happening, by the way.
Even as the earth is being prepared for the eventual insertion of steel girders, they won’t believe it until the doors open. That’s just the way it is.
It is because through the constant delays and hold ups, they’ve become disenchanted with the whole process. That’s why this ceremony, a universal pat on the back, wasn’t necessary.
In this business, we’re told to keep it simple. Maybe this should’ve followed a similar path.
Nicholas Mercer is a reporter/photographer with The Compass. He hopes the builders remember to include a tiny hole at one corner of the rink big enough for a camera lens. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org