Story by Gerald Belanger
Around 1895 and for the following fifty years, Marmora had a reputation as one of the most enthusiastic members of the Trent Valley Hockey League (TVHL) in Central Ontario. Before covered arenas made their appearance in the area, crowds would stand around the ice surface, no matter the weather, and nothing seemed to dampen their enthusiasm. The only way to attend games away from home was horse drawn vehicle , cutters or sleighs. Sometimes nearly as many local hockey supporters travelled to Stirling, Madoc or Campbellford as those that would attend the game from the host village.
Marmora was one of the last villages left in the TVL circuit that did not have a covered arena. As the opposing TVL teams objected to playing on open rinks, Marmora adopted Stirling, and later Madoc as their home ice for games against other teams. One of the very first outdoor rinks was located on Mr. Donnelly's property.
The Marmora Herald, dated December 30, 1933, wrote that a new outdoor rink was to be built south of Highway 7 on Matthew Street along the east die of the Crowe River. On this three acres of flat land, there would be enough space later to build a softball diamond and a tennis court. On December 20, 1934, the Herald wrote: "This year a few stop logs were removed from the dam and the rink was flooded to a depth of about four inches"
In the summer of 1941, Clifford Jones gave permission to the rink committee to build a new outdoor rink on a spare lot located directly behind his restaurant and barber shop on Forsyth Street. It was felt that the new business section location would alleviate some of the damp and cold that skaters experienced on the rink located so close to the Crowe River.
Some very early records might be missing but we do know that from approximately 1914-1924, Thomas Moffatt cared for the outdoor rink only to be replaced by John Finnegan from 1925-1938. Hugh Young took over from 1939-1942. John Finnegan returned in 1943. Hugh Young's salary in 1942, as rink manager, was 37.50. The financial statement for 1942 also showed a net profit of $2.15after expenses.
Due to the heavy snow fall and lack of frost in the ground, the rink committee decided not to flood and clear the outdoor ice surface in 1945. With the cancellation of ice for skaters and outdoor hockey for the 1945/46 season, committee members became aware of the local people's determination to have an indoor arena in their own home town.