Monday, March 28, 2011

The Rest of the Story

On Friday, I wrote about the efforts of former NHL players in 1954 to assist in raising funds for a new arena in Toronto. The Oldtimers Team held a benefit game in Maple Leaf Gardens on April 12, 1954. As a result, $15,000 was added to the kitty and went towards the cost of construction.

Here is the rest of the story...

The official opening of Ted Reeve Arena took place on October 13, 1954. Ted Reeve was a sports columnist who worked for the Toronto Telegram. The paper eventually folded, but was resurrected as the current Toronto Sun. Reeve was the driving force behind the campaign to build a new arena in the city's east end. The effort was a combined community and government project, with fund raising beginning in the late 1940s. Delays were encountered due to a shortage of steel, however, this didn't dampen the spirit of residents living in the district.

Thus, when opening night became a reality, the community was ready to party. As expected, a slew of government dignitaries were on hand to tow the company line. In a symbolic move, Mayor Leslie Saunders passed the keys to the building to Donald MacGregor who was Chairman of the Board of Governors. Figure skaters Barbara Wagner and Robert Paul thrilled the capacity crowd with several routines. They were the Canadian Junior pairs figure skating champions. A brass band filled the arena with music.

The main attraction was an exhibition game between the Toronto Marlboros and St. Michael's Majors. Prior to the contest, King Clancy, Hap Day, Turk Broda, Stafford Smythe and Conn Smythe took part in a ceremonial faceoff. The game was dominated by St. Mike's. With goals coming from Ken Linesman, Pat Hannigan and Frank Mahovlich, the Majors blanked Toronto 3-0. Gerry MacNamara earned the shutout.

As for Ted Reeve, he wasn't able to take part in the festivities. The veteran sportswriter was on a trip out west and couldn't get back to Toronto for the opening.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great blog. We are turning 60 tomorrow and hosting a big celebration at the rink here in Toronto!! Thanks for taking the time to write about us! :)


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