Wrong arena name chosen

Dear editor:
Since town council made its recent decision on the naming of the sports facilities (Memorial Arena, 52 Canadians Arena, and Memorial Centre), I have deliberated as to whether or not to rebut the choice.
My conscience has dictated that I express my views and opinions.
In the early years of this decade, a group of citizens within our community formed an action group to pursue having a second ice surface built here. The group did not want to unintentionally discredit any organizations or persons when we were deciding a name for our action group. Hence, we chose “Ice for Kids” because the kids were the main sufferers of the shortage of ice time.
And our logo symbol is a hockey player and a figure skater so as to include both genders.
Through the years, “Ice for Kids” held many fundraising events–some small, some large. As well, numerous businesses held promotions to help our fundraising drive.
At various times, our group would lose members due to the feeling that town council was not taking our cause seriously (after one, two, five, and seven years, didn’t you think it would never happen?)
However, as we lost members, we seemed to always have new ones come forward and encourage the rest of the remaining group to keep going.
In 1997, “Ice for Kids” launched its biggest fundraiser–the “Wall of Fame.” In five weeks’ time, our community and surrounding district raised $570,000. There were contributions from individuals, businesses, organizations, and in memoriams in respect to deceased relatives or friends.
I think our community surprised itself with this accomplishment, particularly after it followed a successful fundraiser by the auditorium group. Frankly, the community spirit during that fundraising time was unbelievable–and should never be forgotten!
This now leads to the issue of the facilities’ names. Town council recently had advertised through the media for citizens to submit names for the facility. Because I am a member of the second ice surface committee as appointed by council, and co-chairman of “Ice for Kids,” I felt I should not be making a submission towards a name.
After all, it was advertised for public input and I felt and assumed I may have had a conflict of interest and it will be unfair. But I will be honest and admit that I felt the name “Ice for Kids” would have prevailed as the name of the new ice surface–particularly given the efforts by the dedicated committee of “Ice for Kids” for roughly eight years and with the generosity of the contributions towards the “Wall of Fame” fundraiser.
What really disturbs me about choosing the name is several citizens took the effort to submit their suggested names, two of which included the name “Ice for Kids.” Yet in the end of it all, council chose names submitted by the arena project manager and a councillor.
Why was there advertising for public input? It appears it wasn’t necessary!
I may be wrong in my assessment but don’t you think most citizens, young and old, thought the new arena was a result of “Ice for Kids” and as such, the name “Ice for Kids” fits the new arena?
I have the highest regard for our ’52 Canadians who captured the championship trophy of senior hockey in Canada–the Allan Cup. My late father-in-law, Don Lovisa, and my late uncle, Stan (Beaver) Calder, were both members of that team. I also had the opportunity to be coached in the Bantam league by Rick (Wire) Ricard, who also was a member of that team.
This ’52 Allan Cup team should be honoured. When there is an official opening ceremony for the “new” sports facility, why not do it in the same style the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens did when they played their final games in Maple Leaf Gardens and the Forum. They had former team members be a part of the ceremonies of the final game in their respective arenas.
Seeing players from the different years I’m sure brought back memories of particular games or Stanley Cup championships won in the Forum or Maple Leaf Gardens.
Our current arena is where the ’52 Canadians won the Allan Cup, and that is where the memories will always be. Also, don’t forget the Muskies won an All-Ontario high school championship in 1989 in the current arena and that remains a memorable moment!
There’s no doubt dollars were a factor creating new arenas in Montreal and Toronto, particularly from the corporate sector. Here in our great little town and district, you can’t put a dollar value on the spirit and enthusiasm that went towards the new facility as it was overwhelming.
With us now ending a century and entering another, let’s celebrate at the official opening of our new facility in 2000 by having the ’52 Canadians pass the “torch,” or a puck, to represent the past century from the present Memorial Arena over to a full sheet of ice with kids on it in the new arena (“Ice for Kids”) to begin the new century and new memories!
In closing, I only want to reiterate that Fort Frances and district has always been a great place to live. And the additions of the new ice facility, high school, and auditorium make it an even better place to live.
This is all because of you, the citizens, otherwise “Ice for Kids” would not have survived without you. Therefore, I urge council to honour our citizens by naming the new arena “Ice for Kids.”
Thank you,
Dave Egan
“Ice for Kids”