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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

THE END OF AN ERA

Photo by John Burwell
Were there any tears shed around here on Tuesday when the demolition of old Exhibition Stadium - the decades-long home of the Regina Pats - began?

It certainly didn't stir up anything in me.  In fact, I haven't set foot in the facility for years however it got listeners to 620 CKRM's SportsCage feeling very reflective.

Dozens of people wrote into the show via text or Twitter saying it was an emotional day for them because they grew up going to Pats games with their father in the aged arena.  Others said that's where they became a Pats fan in the first place.

I'm proud to say I was able to catch at least a couple of Pats games there, when the 1980s Pats were forced out of the Agridome due to a scheduling conflict.  I got to play a few games in there as well, but it was far from luxurious.

Built in 1919, Exhibition Stadium played host to hundreds, if not thousands, more events than its neighbour Taylor Field across the street however its closure hasn't received anywhere near the hullabaloo.


Legendary Pats historian Ron "Scoreboard" Johnston published a staggeringly comprehensive article on the building at his website www.reginapatsalumni.net and it's worth a read if you're a big enough fan.

The most notable event to come out of Exhibition Stadium?  Likely the fact that Peter Parker broadcast the first-ever professional hockey game on radio in 1923 on CKCK Radio (beating the Leafs' Foster Hewitt by eight days).

For me, the most memorable event to ever occur in that facility was when Tiger Williams of the Swift Current Broncos went into the stands in 1974 and assaulted Pats fans with his hockey stick.  He was subsequently charged with assault, and the charge remains on his record to this day!

He just re-told the story Saturday night in Indian Head at the sports dinner we spoke at.

Was Exhibition Stadium given its proper farewell?

Who knows.

But it's too late now to do anything about it.

RP
@rodpedersen

9 comments:

JC said...

What's planned in that space, Rod? Do you know when Mosiac will be torn down?

Anonymous said...

Good day Roddy,

I am long removed from Regina but grew up there and played minor hockey in the barn in the 70's. Saw many, many Pats games including the awesome '74 season when the Pats won it all. I have a Victoriaville stick with all the players signed including Hall of Famer Clark Gillies. Remember Dennis Stobchuk, Eddie Stanowski, Robby Burden and the likes. Times change and old gets replaced. Thanks for the story.

LL

Rod Pedersen said...

International Trade Centre

Anonymous said...

And who could forget stopping by OB Kitchen after a Pat's game back in the day!

Anonymous said...

Wonder if the legendary Obama will stop by to comment on the place. He seemed to fancy himself as a Pats fan.

Anonymous said...

The best ice I've ever skated on. Not toooo hard but just hard enough, it was perfect for me personally. Practiced with the Pat C's there all year the year I played, we all wished we could have had it as our home rink.

Best memory ever from the old stadium for me personally? Al and the boys let me practice with the Pats when I was 13 yrs old when they had a fun practice that was pretty much a scrimmage the whole time. What was so great? Being on the ice with the likes of guys like Jeff Friesen, Jason Smith, Nathan Dempsey, Jeff Shantz, Karry Biette, Derek Eberle, Louis Dumont, Chad Mercier and the list goes on.

Great memories from that barn. Too bad it wasn't a restoration project because it just had that feel that only certain arena's have.

Jared Dumba

Anonymous said...

Regina Exhibition Stadium served the public well during its long life span. A unselfish "multi purpose venue" that returned its cost value above and beyond the call of duty. Thank you to the city forefathers of Regina for the vision, wherewithall to build the stadium, now by the wayside to dust. Good memories, good night.

Anonymous said...

A few memories from the old barn but a long time ago. However any nostalgic farewell should have occurred in 1977 when the Agridome opened. I expect the Leader Post probably did some story at that time, back when they actually employed journalists.

Anonymous said...

Agreed Jared, had some good memories practicing at that rink. I preferred practicing there compared to the agridome better ice and not as hot.

Gert