Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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Bye-bye, Border - Apr. 02, 2014

Kathy Bockus
St. Stephen
It was an evening filled with nostalgia for many of the skaters who took to the ice Friday for the last public skate at the Border Area Community Arena.
About 75 people – adults with children and toddlers in tow, along with teens and pre-teens - took to the ice under multi-coloured lights and skated for an hour to the sounds of music, laughter, good natured encouragement to wobbly skaters and squeals as teenaged girls’ hats were stolen and retrieved.
Nick McFarlane was there with his wife Shelley and their two children, Kaden, who is seven years old and Jenna, who is almost five.
Why had they come?
“It’s the last of the old barn,” said Nick with a smile as he readied his skates in preparation for the last skate. Shelley was busy lacing up Jenna’s skates while Kaden chattered about how he was a hockey player like his dad.
“This is a good place,” said Shelley. “I didn’t play hockey, but I spent most of my time here skating. Kaden started playing hockey here.”
Joanne Mires was also among the skaters.
She was nostalgic.
“When was a kid growing up, in the winter Mom hardly saw me. I was here,” said Mires, who was a member of the figure skating club. In the summer it was the same story; she and her friends were at the pool.
“I grew up skating here. I’m very sad to think this is the last time I’ll be skating here,” said Mires.
“I even had my last hot dog. I had to have my last arena hot dog. It was very good. I loved it,” she added with a laugh.
Tammy Smearer was there Friday night serving up hotdogs as she has during rink events for the past eight years at her Time Out Canteen
“This place here has so many memories,” said Smearer. “It’s a family rink. When you’re part of a hockey family, the parents all bond during hockey tournaments.”
Charlie Fairweather, who has worked at the rink for almost 22 years, was also there Friday night, and at the end of the evening, he turned off the lights one last time.
Both he and Smearer said they both intended to be at the rink Friday night even if they weren’t working.
“I’m definitely gonna miss it,” said Fairweather.”There have been a lot of good times here, a lot of people I’ve met.”
Smearer and Fairweather reminisced about years gone by and people who worked at the arena. They singled out Shirley Scullion, assistant rink manager and Zamboni operator.
“If there were kids running around, she’d put them out,” recalled Smearer. “You had to behave or you were out.”
“Holly Hayes was the same way,” said Fairweather, referring to another Zamboni driver.
They both recalled all the events that used to take place at the rink, the speed skating and figure skating clubs, CAN skate, and Seahawks hockey games.
They believe there will eventually be the same family feel to the new rink at the Garcelon Civic Center.
“There’s going to be some growing pains for sure; it’ll take time,” said Smearer.
“Everybody says it’s beautiful down there. I hope we keep this for extra ice,” she added, referring to the 40-year-old arena.
“It would be nice to have it for one or two months, the busiest months. You never know. I’d just hate to see it gone.”
The future of Border Area Community Arena is still unknown as the town moves forward with the opening later this spring of the Garcelon Civic Center which contains both an ice rink and a swimming pool.

kathy@stcroixcourier.ca