Is it time to bring junior hockey back to Collingwood?
Former Collingwood Principal, Mayor, Simcoe County Warden and Vice President of Minor Hockey, Terry Geddes, says the answer is YES.
Collingwood was once a power house in hockey with numerous past championships to celebrate at the Junior, Intermediate and Senior levels
The last junior hockey to hit the ice here was Junior C, when the Collingwood Glassmen played in a league with Alliston, Stayner, Schomberg, Maple, Bradford and Shelburne in the late 1970’s.
Collingwood has gone without junior hockey for too long
“I can’t think of Collingwood without a junior hockey team. As a result we have been working quietly behind the scenes to bring junior hockey back to our town. We’re hoping to resurrect junior hockey for Collingwood in a new division as I don’t think Junior C will be in our interest any more. We need to look at bigger and better things.”
Geddes says the return of junior hockey to downtown Collingwood would be of great benefit to the community in many ways. Firstly, to the downtown merchants who always enjoyed a bump in “feet on the street” traffic when the arena welcomed local citizens and out of town visitors on game day.
He also feels minor hockey would greatly benefit from junior hockey returning to Collingwood. He feels enrollment would increase and young players would stick with the program with the hopes of playing Junior hockey right here at home.
“Our goal is to make sure local kids have an opportunity to play junior hockey at the local level. There should be an opportunity for players to stay in their home town, continue with their education here at home, and to enjoy success at the junior hockey level.”
Junior hockey has changed over the years. Collingwood has played at all levels, but Geddes feels the rebirth of Junior B hockey in the province fits the vision of bringing hockey back to town. Geddes says the goal in putting an application for a Junior B hockey team together is to pave the way for as many Collingwood kids to play junior hockey in the town they live in as possible.”
“The rumours about us re-applying for a Junior B franchise are definitely true. Junior B is what I believe we should be looking at. The former Junior B Blues were a legend in this town and we have to thank people like Bill Reddick for his tireless work to make that era of hockey so memorable.”
The presence of Collingwood’s new Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture, Dean Collver, with be a huge benefit to the committee that is trying to bring junior hockey back to Collingwood. Collver came to Collingwood from Sarnia, where he played a major role in the success of the Major Junior “A” Sarnia Sting hockey team.
The funding model to get a junior B team up and running again in Collingwood is already in play in nearby Owen Sound.
“It will be a public team. Fundraising would be the main goal of the executive. We could be looking in the neighbourhood of $200,000 dollars to get the team started. Owen Sound is a classic example of how to finance a junior hockey team. Think about it, we’re talking about a town that is pretty much the same size as Collingwood that can consistently ice a successful Major “A” hockey team. Their efforts prove that anything can be done if the appetite is there to succeed.”
As for the name of a new junior team, Geddes said the group had decided on “Admirals” when it last talked about bringing junior hockey back to town. He said the name and logo continue to represent the community well, paying tribute to Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood (26 September 1748 – 7 March 1810).
Collingwood was incorporated as a town in 1858, nine years before Confederation, and was named after Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, Lord Nelson’s second in command at the Battle of Trafalgar, who assumed command of the British fleet after Nelson’s death