Arena plaque honours Tony Bliss

By Robin McCormick
Devlin Correspondent

Sunday afternoon a plaque unveiling was held on honour of Tony Bliss.

As the Emo LaVallee Arena filled up with family and friends, one could feel just how important this man was not only as the arena manager, but the Zamboni Man.

Some of the best ice a rink has ever seen, was made possible because of Tony’s expertise and perhaps a little fussiness.

As I spoke with both family and friends I gained an even stronger respect and admiration for this man, whose legacy lives on.

Ken McKinnon (Reeve of LaVallee) didn’t hesitate a second as he said, “the plaque and tribute is pretty awesome, for an awesome guy. He gave years of community service with much commitment. The arena should be named after him,” shared McKinnon. He was the right manager for the position. 

Reeve Harold McQuaker of Emo, also had nothing but praise for Tony. He described him as a man with integrity and love of his community. He gave it his all. This tribute is definitely well earned. 

Shane and wife Char, Louise and Kim Jo standing proudly in front of plaque unveiled at Sunday’s tribute to Tony Bliss. The beloved arena manager and friend was honoured with a gathering of friends, family and residents. He’ll be remembered for his love of the community, the friendships he made and the pride he took in his work. – Submitted photo

Many people attending had stories to share, many grown adults now, loving the time spent at the arena as kids, when Tony was in charge.

As I spoke to Louise (Tony’s wife ) she shared with me she was overwhelmed with the showing of people on Sunday afternoon, some of Tony’s brothers, plus cousins attended, other family members and lots of friends and well wishers. She thoroughly enjoyed the well spoken tributes from all that spoke. Louise had the well deserved honour of unveiling the plaque.

Shane (Tony’s son) was very touched by the days events. He was very honoured for the arena folks that organized the event. He shared, “It feels good to be back at the Emo /LaVallee Arena. Dad always took pride in great ice. He also remembers the arena being very clean.

Shane says there’s one thing he forgot to mention when he spoke at the event, that was how his Dad always have chewing gum for the kids – Juicy Fruit, of course.

Kim Jo (Tony’s daughter ) was also touched by the large crowd of people attending , she summed it up by saying, “once again our community shows us what an awesome place to live in.” The event made her heart happy to know that others love the arena as much as her Dad did and the people that entered the doors were always tested well by her Dad.

She feels Tony would be so pleased with the day’s event, “as long as they didn’t dirty up the place,” she chuckled, remembering her dad.

“Hearing the many stories on Sunday and his encounters with so many people was very special,” she said.

Kim Jo would like to thank all who planned, showed up and cared.

Be sure to take the time to view the beautiful, life like picture and plaque of Tony that has been displayed in the arena. Sadly he’s no longer at the arena, but the plaque, the tribute held Sunday and the many memories people still carry in their hearts will allow Tony’s legacy to live forever.