How about landing more hockey here?

Just how are we fixed for bright ideas when it comes to community survival?
That was immediately the question of the week when we heard about the disaster striking Kenora with its loss of up to 500 papermill jobs.
This affects Fort Frances to an alarming extent considering we are more or less twins in our main money-making efforts–with Kenora being traditionally superior, both economically and politically, although it hurts to say this.
What would be our own fall-back position in event of such a shock? Could we come through smiling or run for higher ground, pack up and find ourselves worse off somewhere else? Because you’ve got to admit we have been a privileged society right along and wanting for very little.
Settling down to this study, what are our own options as Kenora must wonder today?
We look on tourism as our second industry but how many of us are connected there so far. And wouldn’t it be better to invest in something where we have greater involvement and proved our leadership in the past?
Sure, we have the lakes and wildlife to exploit further but can you see them providing hundreds more jobs?
Answers: If Fort Frances hitherto has been famous for anything besides good times, and don’t laugh here, our talents have very prominently been Canada’s national sport.
And as you’ll notice every time you turn on the TV, hockey keeps on paying an awful lot of bills.
Now am I being facetious here or what? Well, the more you think about hockey development for its financial returns, possibly in the multi-millions everything considered, the better it sounds.
Besides, who can turn down recreation as a top topic here or anywhere else?
Before you consider the running start we have made in hockey, with two indoor rinks, as well as sharing the border with the sports-happy Americans, the fact that winter dominates here anyway and also we have somehow managed to build so many modern motels of recent years and that is becoming a main industry.
How many hundred guestrooms can we boast today, and don’t forget to include the Falls and Emo. I’d say we are set for invasion by hundreds of hockey fans but let’s have more games to entertain them!
Fort Frances is justly famous for hockey leadership everywhere you turn. Let’s name some names here and think about how well off we are in this line:
Everyone knows about Bobby Peters’ recent retirement from steering North Dakota and Bemidji teams. Now his son is with the Phoenix Coyotes.
Then there’s Lino Gasparinia, also connected with North Dakota and now the U.S. junior hockey league as commissioner. Bill Selman, a current visitor, is well- known in several states and recently at St. Louis. And our Kelvin (Brush) Christiansen is one of Alaska’s most popular citizens after years at Anchorage.
There’s also Art Berglund with the U.S. Olympic pucksters, his son, Wayne at Denver, and Bruce McLeod, now the commissioner for both men and women’s college hockey. Dave Allison coaches Milwaukee.
And you can continue on through almost 50 years for our top hockey with the Allan Cup, throw in three or four all-0ntario titles for our high schoolers, and go on into the NHL for some more of our stars over the years.
Yes, Fort Frances knows this game. Now how about bringing it home where it belongs! Maybe a professional league to keep us entertained while we count the profits and don’t think about financial losses because if Fort Frances gets going properly, there just won’t be any losses adding everything in.
Oh, I know, we are not addicted in this town to entrepreneurship or self-motivation in any particular line, but with so many well-established hockey experts for guidance, what’s holding us back?
The talent has always been here and Fort Frances could thrive amazingly on what it knows best!
• • •
But then I’m overlooking one of our best bets for fame and fortune by not mentioning the wonderful cooks in this community. You only have to go once to a Legion dinner on the last Friday of the month to agree here.
The ladies’ auxiliary contributed their final triumph of the year last Friday and now it’s the male membership with a beef barbecue this Friday. Certainly, I’ll be there, God willing, and come early.
Then there are the ladies at Sister Kennedy Centre. Think of Alvina Zrum and Santa Berry there for pastry and you won’t be sorry.
• • •
Neil McQuarrie, author of “On the Allan Cup Trail,” notified me that his current project, the history of Fort Frances, is shaping up for our centennial year.
After his fine job of the hockey book, put your order in early at the museum.
• • •
Walter Horban, who won our respect for years with the high schoolers’ spring cleanup of the community, has undertaken to swing his volunteer dance onto the CN station, roof work mostly, preceding a June 9 seniors’ dance there.
Maybe they could get him to create more space for dancing by removing the big tables for seats only around the narrow room.
• • •
Congratulations to the Bert Smeeths and John Kowalchuks on their 50th wedding anniversaries last weekend. But I was distressed to learn belatedly of the passing of Arnie Shortreed, who was one of my late wife’s last local relatives.
• • •
St. Andrews’ Presbyterian church members have compiled a list of 15 ministers since their parish was founded 100 years ago. Marian McCreadie, the current pastor, started only last year but now is engaged in preparations for the centennial celebration June 3.
Last Sunday, they had bagpiper Bruce Lidkea open and close the morning service by leading the choir on parade and then joining in for lunch.
Life-long members have included many of our best-known citizens, including Beatrice Wilde, Edith Ogden, Madge and Jim Hammond, Hazel Truax, Ivy Russell, Geraldine Chase, Jim Gillon, and Bud Cyr.

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