Memorial Arena

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Memorial Arena

Postby Phantom Gtowner » Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:45 pm

While we quietly wait for Memorial Arena to be demolished I have been having a few quiet thoughts. This building was once a hub of entertainment and people gathered there in large numbers. My own experience probably only dates from roughly 1959 to 1970. Before and after those years I hardly ever frequented the place. It wasn't my first time in the building but I can remember an Intermediate Raider game on a Friday evening in October, probably in 1959, first home game of the season against Milton. I was ten years old and I went with my Dad. We lost 7-6 but I remember what a great game it was. This was my first live hockey game. After that I kept going back every Friday. Sometimes they had the odd mid-week game which I wasn't allowed to attend because of school but I never missed a Friday game, ever. I became obsessed with hockey and couldn't get enough of it something that has waned terribly in more recent times. Wish I could get it back but I can't. I began skating around the same time but frankly I wasn't very good. I wanted to glide like Dave Keon but I'm afraid I was a grinder like Allan Stanley instead. I began playing organized hockey in 1961. I played for Boston in the little NHL. We usually wore plain green sweaters, no logos or anything fancy in those days. The dressing rooms were still on the south/east side of the building under the Rose Room. Shortly after they created several new dressing rooms on the west side. They were known as the new dressing rooms at the time. My coach was Roy Snell and he was a great guy, very laid back. I wasn't much of an asset to the team but I was very keen to play. I'm trying to remember who were on the 1961/62 Boston team and here's a few names: Keith Allen, Bill Lorriman, Glen Thompson, Dave Shoebridge, Doug MacKinnon, Mike Cann, Dick Lindauer, Steve Lawr, John Prouse, Steve Turner, Rod Allen. I think our goalie was Jimmy somebody, can't remember his name anymore, but he lived in the Glen.

One summer, think it was 1962, Lou Pankenin painted the entire inside roof in white paint. It took him from April to September. He seemed like a latter day Michaelangelo to me. In the summer of 1963 all the old wooden seats were torn out and replaced by those that are still there today. 1965 saw rollerskating begin. It wasn't a huge hit in '65 but it really caught on in the follwing summer. We used to have live bands playing while we roller skated. Great fun! Beginning in the fall of 1967 they introduced a Zamboni to clean the ice. Before that the scraping and flooding was done by hand by about eight rink rats. In the summer of '68 the entire lobby was gutted and a whole new one was built. By around 1964/1965, junior hockey became a big thing. Their games were generally on Sunday afternoons. Originally the team was called the Beavers but not long after they became the Raiders. The first year, which would be '63 or '64, they had an atrocious record. Think they only won 4 games all year. That year they were Junior "B". Next year they dropped to "C" and became competitive. Just as the Intermediate Raiders before them had made Friday nights so memorable, the Georgetown Junior Raiders made Sunday afternoons a tradition until at least 1970, probably later. Lots of changes, lots of memories.
Last edited by Phantom Gtowner on Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Memorial Arena

Postby Al Darby » Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:30 am

I guess my experience dates back to just after WW2. We played Little League, or Pee Wee, or whatever it was called and I can't for the life of me remember any team names, or who was on which team. We all just played hockey. Like you PG, I was a grinder and sort of hung around the blue line playing defence, not really knowing what to do, but enjoying every minute of it. In all my years of playing, I only ever scored one goal and I'm still convinced it was by accident.

I do remember, we'd all vie for the chance to scrape the ice and become a 'Rena Rat' Ray "Butch" McCartney was king of the Rena Rats in my day.

My life didn't begin till I made it up the stairs into the Rose Room for the dances. Now there's a whole 'nother story that can probably never be told. That was about the time Bill Hardman, Ken Gregory and I formed Club Midtown.

19550126_-_Club_Midtown.jpg
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Re: Memorial Arena

Postby Phantom Gtowner » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:56 pm

You mentioned "..not knowing what to do" Al. Me too. Especially when the other team had the puck. Hockey instruction wasn't big in those days. You were just expected to know what to do. In the 1990's I returned to Memorial for a while as the parent of a house league player. I couldn't believe how much better the calibre of house league hockey was in the 1990's than in the 1960's. Players were expected to play their positions and coaches really knew how to convey the finer points of the game. Thanks for your reply Al. Maybe we'll coax a few others to comment.
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Re: Memorial Arena

Postby John_Bailey » Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:14 pm

Back in those days House League teams never got to practice hence the confusion.
You got to play a game Saturday morning that was it, unless you had a good coach, then you might get a practice for 25 cents a player once or twice a season.
BUT registration was only 2 bucks for insurance.
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Re: Memorial Arena

Postby John_Bailey » Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:17 pm

I was 6 1/2 when that poster was printed and I danced like :cheer:
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Re: Memorial Arena

Postby linda paul » Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:32 pm

I just hate that we are losing that great Old Gal. :noooo: I lived two doors down from the arena and spend my entire childhood and teenage years in that building.

I figure skated, played on a girl's hockey team, roller skated, ice skated, danced and flirted with the boys.

It is like having part of my past cut out of my heart and I feel so bad. :cry:
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Re: Memorial Arena

Postby Phantom Gtowner » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:22 pm

I remember Club Midtown. Around 1961, Danny & The Juniors who had a fairly big hit that year called "Pony Express", played the Rose Room and another fairly big act, a female vocal group from Cincinnati called The Charmaines played there. I was too young then to be part of it. I'm sure many other fairly big acts played there although it seems astonishing today that they would have bothered with Georgetown or Memorial Arena but they did.
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Re: Memorial Arena

Postby Al Darby » Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:42 am

In the early, formative days of Club Midtown, Dick Clark's American Bandstand was all the rage and we tried to model ourselves after them. Wilfie (Bill Hardman) and I even went to a couple of the shows to see what it was all about (well, that was our story at the time).

We couldn't afford to bring in acts, so we invented disco. WIGO TV donated a record player, the Legion gave us back some sound equipment, that belonged to Teen Town and we'd inherited. Wilfie and I visited the local radio stations and bludged all there "old" records, so we were in business. Occasionally, Mike Armstrong would get up front and do his best impersonation of Robert Goulet. He was our in-house Star!

By the time I stepped down, Club Midtown was a B-I-G deal, with money in the bank and we'd well and truly taken over the Rose Room. Ahh the good old days! Gone, but not forgotten!
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Re: Memorial Arena

Postby linda paul » Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:54 am

The dances in the Rose Room were a little before my time but because I lived beside the arena I remember enjoying the music and watching "The Goings On" from my front porch.

I also remember some New Year's Eve dances in the Rose Room and seeing the ladies all decked out in their formal dresses and tiarras. Oh the good old days.

My favourite though is the afternoon dances in the Rose Room during the Bantam Hockey Tournaments. Such fun.
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Re: Memorial Arena

Postby JulieJane » Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:04 am

When I was in High School, we used to call the dances in the Rose Room...."Teen Town". I remember meeting Bobby Curtola at one of the dances. I wonder where he and his band would have stayed the night ? He was a cute little guy - such a fun personality.
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Re: Memorial Arena

Postby Phantom Gtowner » Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:53 am

As Daryl Hall & John Oates once said, "She's Gone".
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