Memorial Arena opens doors to the past

City staff and the Penticton Arena Task Force gave tours and some history of Memorial Arena.

City staff and members of Penticton Arena Task Force conducted tours Thursday of Memorial Arena.

During the program the 43 members of the public learned about the history of the 66-year-old structure, it’s current condition and what needs to be done to keep it in operation.

The 14-member task force, made up of user group and community members began work in January to come up with recommendations regarding the city’s arenas, specifically Memorial and McLaren.

From now until May-June when the members will finalize recommendations to council, the task force will look at ice-surface needs, detailed repair for versus replacement costs and the financial impacts of available options.

Read more: Memorial Arena numbers

The general public is encouraged to share ideas throughout the process.

The city has indicated the roof, arena structure, electrical and major mechanical systems at Memorial need to be repaired or replaced.

Reports say $7 million is needed just to keep the doors open and up to $13.5 million to convert the ice to National Hockey League size among other updates.

McLaren will require an estimated $1.4 million in repairs and updates over the next five years.

The estimate to build a new arena (likely in another location) is $16 to $17 million with an additional $1.5 million to demolish Memorial.

Ivan McLelland, a Penticton hockey legend and member of the 1955 World Championship Penticton Vees, was at Thursday’s tour.

“I remember the very first day I walked into this building in 1951, it wasn’t complete. I was here to try out for the original Penticton Vees,” recalled McLelland. “The structure, I mean this was high tech, I’d been in a lot of arenas but I’d never seen anything quite like this beautiful building. It was pretty impressive for a 20-year-old kid.”

He remembered the packed building every game and standing ovations and even turning down New York Rangers coach Frank Boucher’s offer of a pro contract to spend another season in Penticton.

“He (Boucher) said to me, ‘you really like it there son,’ and I said yes I do, and he said: ‘Okay stay another year,’ and here we are 61 years later and I’m still here.”

But from a business perspective McLelland believes the matter should be looked at objectively and the city should not throw “good money after bad” if it is not justified.

“But in the end I hope we see that we have something truly unique here,” he said. “Something Pat Quinn said 50 cities across Canada would love to have and to have the history, it’s ours we own it and that will all go. If the building is structurally safe I think we should do whatever we can to try and retain something else in Canada nobody else has.”

Like the Sicamous, Memorial with it’s rich history, McLelland feels could be a tourist attraction as well as working facility.

“Memorial Arena brings back wonderful memories. We had a five-year saga and this is where that saga was born.”

Just Posted

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

Rollover closes road

No serious injuries reported in a rollover off South Main in Penticton

Raven story shines light at Children’s Showcase

Season opener of the Children’s Showcase in Penticton

Student leadership conference hits home

Nearly 500 Grade 5 students taking part in leadership conference in Penticton

Penticton dancers headed to Germany for world championship

Penticton dancers representing Canada at World Dance Championships

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Dorsett has 2 goals, assist in Canucks’ 4-2 win over Sabres

‘It was a real good hockey game by our group,’ Canucks coach Travis Green said.

Berry disappointed: Bear tries to eat fake fruit on woman’s door wreath

A Winnipeg woman has taken her berry-embellished wreath down, after a hungry bear visited her porch

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

Have you heard about Black Press scholarships?

Up to 37 scholarships are awarded each year to students throughout British Columbia

Most Read