The Open-Air Rink

The Second Rink

Open-Air Rink

Photo Courtesy of Norma Hermann

The second rink in Cornwall was an open-air rink, the perimeter was enclosed by a high wooden fence. This rink was located on the Meadow Bank road slightly behind where the Save Easy now sits (of course there were no houses there at that time). It is said that the Howards owned that property and offered the space for the rink.When speaking with the residents of Cornwall about this particular rink, it was made very clear that Mr. & Mrs. Gordon MacMillan were the driving force behind its creation and up-keep. Many people attested to Mrs. MacMillan devoutly flooding the rink very frequently. There was a near-by well which was used to draw water to flood the ice. One resident, Audrey MacPhee, even remembers icicles hanging from the bottom of Mrs. MacMillan’s large coat one day while she was flooding the rink.

It is unclear as to the exact dates in which the out-door rink operated. However, it is said that it did not operate for very long. The second rink was built a few years after the indoor rink was destroyed and was still in operation, at least for a short time after the North River rink was built (1949). So it can be estimated that the open-air rink operated from sometime in the mid 1940’s to the early 1950’s.

As mentioned earlier this rink was enclosed by a six to eight foot high wooden fence and was cared for mostly by Mr. & Mrs. MacMillan.2  It was lit by strings of light bulbs hung above the ice surface, and it was not uncommon for a loose puck to shatter some of the bulbs. There was also a deck built onto one end where spectators could stand and watch the games.3  Audrey MacPhee, who grew up in Cornwall remembers her parents, with the help of another couple operated the canteen at the rink.  Although she doesn’t remember exactly what was sold at the canteen, she believes that there most likely would have been things like coffee, chocolate bars, donuts; there were no bags of chips at that time.  Audrey also described the small building attached to the rink. It housed the canteen in the corner, as well as an open area with benches where people would change into their skates. Beyond that there was an area for hockey players to dress.

Mrs. MacPhee also remembers the women’s hockey team which was called the Cornwall Sisters. Although she was in her pre-teens when the outdoor rink was built, she believes that the woman’s team in Cornwall was running before the outdoor rink was operational. The woman’s team would be on the ice every Saturday mornings and many of her aunts played on the team. In an article from The Guardian dated March 8, 1950 there is a review of a hockey game played between the Cornwall Sisters and the Long Creek Beavers Sisters. Unfortunately the Cornwall sisters lost a close game, 1-0. The team consisted of the following players; Ethel Gillespie – goalie, Christine MacPhail and Joan Murray as defense-men… women.  Audrey Frizzle, Laura Hyde, Velma MacKinnon, Bernice Gass, June MacPhee, Shirley MacKinnon and Nan MacKinnon, forward.4

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