AS I SEE IT: Saying goodbye to the old barn in style


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It was a true storybook ending for the Centennial Arena. That a provincial championship from the area’s most prominent team would be the very last game ever played in the rink was the best possible way to say farewell.

The Piston’s winning the Turnbull Cup, the third for the franchise, was a real-life Hollywood script. Big-time congratulations to Paul Dyck, the community owners, the organization, the support staff, and of course, the players. Best of luck as you chase a Canadian title in Portage.

The Pistons have been one of the classiest, most successful junior A franchises in the entire country and it’s beyond fitting that they will go from an old barn to a state-of-the-art facility.

Fans had no shortage of love for goaltender Dominik Wasik, who posted three shutouts on home ice during the finals (Cassidy Dankochik The Carillon)

There are an awful lot of people – and categories of people – to thank as this era in our community ends.

Seeing Guy Lesage and all the volunteers working Saturday’s Piston’s game was a vivid reminder of the hundreds – if not thousands – of volunteers who, over many years, donated their time to support hockey, figure skating, ringette and public skating. Thank you for that priceless gift.

Thanks to everyone who coached hockey, figure skating and ringette. A special personal thanks to my coaches Bob Loewen, Larry Peters, Ellis Penner, Ed Adnum, Dennis Prystako, LaVern Loewen, Tiger Loewen, Kim Fries, Farley Fries, Darryl Penner, and Randy Penner. Thanks for all the fantastic memories.

To Jac Siemens and all the equipment managers – the people who had the thankless job of organizing all the gear for all those teams for nearly six decades – thank you for being a vital part of all the hockey teams who called the old barn “home.”

Successful programs need quality organizers to keep things running smoothly so thanks to every minor hockey official who ran the hockey program in town. Special thanks to Bill Dyck (whose commitment to hockey is measured in decades, not years), Kevin Penner, Laurie Lenchyshyn and all the minor hockey officials over all these years who organized everything behind the scenes; thank you for your invaluable gift to our community.

Financial backers are absolutely crucial to the success of any local arena, and the wall-to-wall advertising at the Centennial Arena makes the business community’s 57 years of corporate support immediately evident. Thank you for sponsoring generations of memories.

Thanks to all the parents who tied our hockey laces, drove us to and from games, bought us equipment, patched the holes in our jerseys and came to the games to cheer us on. Us players can never adequately thank our parents for letting us play hockey.

You simply cannot play games without refs, so thanks to all the referees over the decades that officiated the thousands of games that were played in the barn since it opened in 1967.

Besides the Pistons receiving the Turnbull Cup and the players showing it off to their raucous fans, the best images of the evening were of all the fans storming the ice to celebrate with their team. It was fitting that so much of the community was literally on the ice when the community as a whole said goodbye to a building that holds so many precious memories for so many people.

And how great will it be that the first official function when the new barn opens, will be to raise the Pistons’ 2023 championship banner to the rafters? Winning the Turnbull Cup in the last game played in the old barn and then hoisting that banner in the first game of the new barn will be the magical book ends to a remarkable era.

Thanks for the memories!

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