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Named the Alexandra, Selkirk’s first indoor ice arena was built in 1907 on Fox Avenue not too far from Main Street. The rink was named after the daughter of John W. Jones. In the 1930s and early 40s it was owned by Jimmy Skinner Sr. who was the father of Detroit Red Wings coach Jimmy Skinner Jr. In the mid 40’s ownership was taken over by the Selkirk Skating Club.

The Alexandra Rink, Date Unknown, Selkirk Enterprise Centennial 1982

With the end of WWII, many young men returning from the warmore activities to do in their spare time than what was being offered by clubs and religious organizations. In April of 1948 J.C. Erickson of the Kinsmen Club of Selkirk was chosen as chair of the Rink Fact-Finding Committee. This committee was to come up with a plan to find out if building a new ice rink would be practical. They asked for $50,000 from the civic government and planned on fundraising the rest for furniture and equipment. In August of 1948, a referendum was held and a vote was conducted. It looked like Selkirk was getting a new indoor ice rink!

Opening with a day of free skating the new ice rink opened on September 24, 1949. The Selkirk Rotary Club held a fundraiser to help furnish the building on the same day. The official opening of the rink did not happen until December 9, 1949, over 800 people came. They paid between 50 cents to a dollar to come in. In today’s dollars, it is between $15-$20. Selkirk Arena’s inaugural game took place the next day. The Selkirk Seniors versus the Winnipeg Canadiens. With warm temperatures stalling the game because the ice did not freeze properly the Winnipeg Canadiens won 6-2.

Selkirk's new modern arena, 1949, Selkirk Enterprise

With many games being played on the ice there are sure to be a lot of stories to be told. Al Hares has lots of fond memories in the Selkirk Arena. The change rooms are located downstairs at the arena and the thermostat is in the Junior B room. Hares was working at the rink and would turn up the heat in the opponent’s change room to around 90 degrees Fahrenheit which is around 32 degrees Celsius. When they were ready to come onto the ice there was only one door and Selkirk made sure they were always the first ones on the ice. When the opponents would come out they would not stop shooting their pucks. Not only were they dying to get some cool air they were now trying to dodge the flying pucks. At the far end of the arena, there is a big door where a tractor goes out to flood the outdoor rink. There is a fence there with rounded ends and clasps to keep it shut. Well, that side of the rink was where the opponent’s net would be during the first period of the game. If left open just slightly and if the puck was shot just around the boards, it would bounce off the boards and slide right in front of the opponent’s net. A lot of goals were scored this way.

The Selkirk Arena (Selkirk Barn) has been a large part of Selkirk’s history. With many hockey games, skate times, and other activities being played here many have lots of fond memories here. Do you have a memory of the Selkirk Barn?

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