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Page Index of Forest to Field Volume One
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cracks in the walls. Very few people had the telephone so the ladies on the lunch committee would have to walk to request help or food from others. As a result, they provided a lot of food themselves. There were many activities during the week and they were there with pies, cakes, doughnuts, and coffee for the cold and hungry.
When the curling rink was built, the skating rink had to be made somewhat smaller. Since the kitchen facilities were better at the curling rink, the ladies now served lunches from there sharing the proceeds with the curling rink. They continued to do this until 1959.
The first caretakers were not hired caretakers but some of the hockey boys who were willing and happy to carry out those duties for the privilege of being able to play hockey. After the curling rink was built, it seems that the caretakers of the curling rink looked after the skating rink as well and along with his small wage, received the skating fees. Duties for the caretaker were listed as follows:
1. Empty toilet cans every nite in cardboard boxes.
2. Have fire in cook stove half hour before ladies
Jim Atkinson was the first hired caretaker followed by Neil McKinnon, Ed McInnes, Emil Larson, Frank Morris, Bert Gustafson, and Bill Alberts. (Not necessarily in that order.)
Turk Broda, the well known goalie, spent some time at the Relief Camp in the Riding Mountain National Park and used to come down to skate at the rink. The boys had a great time shooting the puck at him in goal.
The annual Carnival with costumes, races, etc. and followed by the crowning of a Carnival Queen was always a gala event planned by the committee. Quite often a moccasin dance with music provided by local musicians or records ended the evening.
Until 1946, the curling and skating rinks were under one executive body. In that year, the skating rink formed its own executive with Linus Miller, Pres.; Pete Bruce, Vice-Pres.; Ivar Gunnarson, Sec.-Treas. and a working committee of Ernie Gusdal, W.C. Cummings, Vicky Gunnarson, Sadie Hanson, and Jack Hicks. In later years, the working committee included representatives from the surrounding districts as well as from the town.
The need for a new rink was evident and funds had been accumulating over the years so in 1949 at the annual meeting, a motion was passed that an Erickson Skating Rink Building Fund be established and $500.00 was to be transferred from the General Fund. Various functions such as dances, card parties, etc. were then held to in crease this fund and after a thorough canvass of the town and surrounding districts in 1951-52 whereby $7000 was collected, a decision was made to construct a new arena. The finance committee consisted of three rural and three urban members, namely, Percy McKenzie, Wm. Turner, Bruce Holmlund, Pete Olenuik, Ivar Gunnarson, and Pete Slobodian. The Building Committee members were:
Ted Neilson, Einer Lundman, Wyman Miller, Linus Miller, and Gotfrid Johnson. The rink executive for 1952 was as follows: Pete Slobodian (Pres.), Ken Graham (Vice-Pres.), and George Knight (Sec.-Treas.) for part of the year with Henry Oshust completing the term. By the end of September (25), construction of the Erickson and Community Memorial Arena was underway with a number of residents helping in the work under the foremanship of Johnny Johnson. The building 84' x 200' in size with an ice surface of 70' by 170' was erected in two months. On Friday, December 12, 1952, the grand opening of the Memorial Arena took place under the sponsorship of the Hockey Club. Ivar Gunnarson was Master of Ceremonies, the Neepawa Lions Club Band and Majorettes were in attendance and a program of skating was provided by the members of the Brandon Figure Skating Club. Speakers were Pete Slobodian Pres., Rink Association, Mr. A. Thoren, Mayor, and Mr. H. Rungay, M.L.A. A hockey game between the Dauphin Kings and the Erickson Eagles completed the action at the Arena but continued at the Erickson Hall where the Neepawa Black Hawks supplied the music for a dance. More than sixteen hundred persons attended the grand opening ceremonies and program.
On Sunday, September 27, 1953, a Memorial Service and Dedication of a plaque took place. Reverend D. Clink conducted the service at the Arena under the direction of the Erickson Branch of the Canadian Legion. The Dauphin Band was in attendance, Scripture and prayer by Reverend H. Manson, the address by Dr. M. Sirett, Dedication by Reverend D. Clink, and the unveiling by Mr. Claus Haralson. At the service at the Cenotaph, Reverend D. Clink had Scripture and prayer as well as the Remembrance address, the band per formed, two minutes of silence was observed, followed by the laying of wreaths.
The first open air skating rink - Leda Lake. Left to Right: Esther Johnson (Mrs. Ole Benson.) Arnold Bergwall, Sam Bolt, Carrie Oberg, Albin Olson, Nora Bergwall, and Art Munson.
A grand re-opening of the Arena took place on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 1953. The Neepawa Band, Majorettes and Skating Club provided the evening's entertainment.