By ALAN SHACKLETON
The Ted Reeve Hockey Association will officially mark its 65th anniversary this October, but plans are already in the works for the celebration.
Stephen King, president of the TRHA, said a committee that includes member of the Ted Reeve Arena Board of Management is working on a number of ways to celebrate the 65th and more details will be available in the fall on what exactly those plans are.
Ted Reeve Arena officially opened on Oct. 13, 1954 at a special ceremony that saw more than 3,000 people pack into the rink which had a capacity at the time of about 1,800.
In the meantime, the association can look back a long and fascinating history.
And King has been a big part of that history, volunteering with Ted Reeve Hockey Association for more than four decades.
“I’ve been here for 44 years now,” he said during an interview at the rink on a recent cold Thursday night.
“It’s the volunteers that have made it what it is.”
Back in the early days there was no shortage of volunteers to help run the hockey and other activities taking place at Ted Reeve.
Now, King admits, with people’s lives so busy it’s getting harder to find volunteers.
“Back in the old days there was no shortage of dads to help out with the hockey, but we still have volunteers who have been here for decades,” he said.
For many of those volunteers, Ted Reeve hockey and the arena itself are central part of the community’s life and it’s been that way since before 1954.
Getting the arena built was a massive community undertaking which featured numerous local fundraising events.
The idea for building an indoor rink for the east end of Toronto surfaced shortly after the end of the Second World War, but really got rolling in May of 1950 when the official fundraising drive for the Toronto East Arena Gardens began with a parade along Queen Street East.
The cost of the rink, of which the City of Toronto would pay half was $250,000. The other half, $125,000, had to come from the community.
“It seemed like everyone was involved,” Jack Blakeley, a young hockey player back in the 1950s, said of the fundraising drive in a story in the Beach Metro News about the association’s 60th anniversary.
It helped that local legend Ted Reeve was a supporter of the need for the arena. He used his connections and sports column in the Toronto Telegram newspaper to help lead the fundraising efforts.
Reeve was born in the Beach and spent most his life there. He was a star lacrosse and football player, winning the Grey Cup with the Balmy Beach team in both 1927 and 1930.
The 65 years of community spirit that have been the cornerstone of the arena and hockey association named after him will be celebrated this coming October.