WINDSOR, N.S. — The Windsor Hockey Heritage Society, which operates the Windsor Hockey Heritage Centre at Haliburton House Museum, is giving the town a thumb’s up for selecting Long Pond as an arena location.
Trina Norman, WHHS president, said part of the mission of the society itself is to promote Windsor as the birthplace of hockey, with Long Pond being central to that origin story.
"The Windsor Hockey Heritage Society has always supported Long Pond as the site for the arena,” Norman said. “We’ve always believed Long Pond to be the birthplace of hockey, it’s part of our reason for being.”
Norman said the latest rink project has evolved over the past few years, starting out as a wonderful idea with lots of money and resources behind it, but things have since changed.
“We were asked to be a part of that, but unfortunately things didn’t work out and things got downsized because of different aspects that had to become involved,” she said. “Through it all, we’ve still supported Long Pond as the site.”
The Hockey Heritage Society was initially going to occupy a museum within the arena project, but the museum will be staying at Haliburton House in its current iteration.
Read more about the arena project:
Norman said, despite the change in size and scope, the new arena will still be relevant to Windsor’s claim to fame.
“The town is working with the money that they know they have and I think expecting to build more than you have is unrealistic,” she said.
“They’re going about it the right way, starting small,” she said.
“There’s still ways to have displays, maybe rotating ones, especially with the technology available today to have something there, maybe QR codes that you can scan to bring up something on your phone or iPad or whatever,” she said. “We’re happy to work with what is there now and what may be there in the future.”
Hockey museum staying put
Currently, the museum at Haliburton House is only open for certain points in the year, or by special appointment, but board members are hoping to expand its footprint inside the Haliburton House.
Norman said maintaining the museum at Haliburton House will help create a historical triangle between the arena at Long Pond, the Stannus Street rink, and the museum.
“Haliburton is a big part of the story and the walk from Long Pond to Haliburton House is five minutes or less,” she said. “Haliburton wrote about the boys from King’s, hooping and hollering, playing hurley on ice. From that we believe hockey evolved.”
Thomas Haliburton’s account is the first known written account of hockey being played in the world, from his book The Attaché, written in 1844.
Norman said they would be willing to move some artifacts or pieces to the new arena, but want to keep Haliburton House “in the mix.”
Public debate acknowledged
Norman said the society is aware of the heated discussion surrounding the arena project, but is optimistic about what it’ll represent for the town.
“(I) still feel that Long Pond would have been, regardless, the better site to bring people into town, to let people see the other parts of the puzzle that make up Windsor’s hockey history,” she said. “I’m not sure that would have worked as well at the exhibition site.”
Despite the challenges and the costs associated with the arena, Norman said she expects the project will be a success.
“I think we have to believe that something good will come of this,” she said. “I think the timeline is unfortunate, they don’t have much time to put things together and it makes things rushed.”
Norman said she’s hopeful that people who committed funds during earlier stages of the project will come back on board.
“I think the project will be good for the area if people would just get behind it and see it for what it can be,” she said. “I think it could be a great thing for the town and the entire area.”
The Windsor Hockey Heritage Society’s current executive consists of - Trina Norman, president, Paul Beazley, vice president and former mayor of Windsor, Barbara McDonough, treasurer and Dan Boyd, secretary, who contributes sports stories on a freelance basis for the Valley Journal-Advertiser.