A man approached me at the Remembrance Day service with a question.
“What’s going on at the arena?”
Not knowing the schedule, I told him probably some practices and games.
“Why are they open?” he asked.
I know in drawing the North Peace Hockey League schedule that some towns and cities do close their arenas for Remembrance Day. The reason is obvious.
I suggested to NPHL president Jack McAvoy that we not schedule Remembrance Day games this season. We did not. Not one team complained.
It is not to say that the NPHL never held Remembrance Day games. We did. We held three in 1989, two in 1993, three in 1995, four in 1999, four in 2000, one in 2003, one in 2004, two in 2005 and four in 2006. Our record is not perfect.
However, it has been over 10 years since the NPHL has scheduled a game on Remembrance Day.
I hope the trend continues.
The High Prairie Regals played Remembrance Day games at home against Fairview in 1989, at Spirit River in 1995, at home against Falher in 1999, at Valleyview in 2003, and at home in 2006 at home against Grimshaw.
To the Regals’ credit, I know at times they invited members of the Royal Canadian Legion to drop the ceremonial puck. They obliged. It was a nice gesture.
The million dollar question is should High Prairie close their arenas out of respect for the veterans and service providers?
There is really no good reason to stay open. I would suggest if the arena was closed on a Saturday in winter, children and youth would ask why. It would be a perfect opportunity for a parent to explain the reasons.
Instead of closing all day, how about opening in mid-afternoon around 3 p.m. or later? It would allow time for everyone to attend the Legion’s service rather than being committed to a minor hockey game. Is that a realistic compromise?
High Prairie is fortunate to have a dedicated group of a couple hundred people who attend the service each year. It does not mean the people who do not attend don’t care, or have no respect for the sacrifices made. It just means they are too busy doing whatever.
And how many who attend the service are more than happy to stop at a convenience store on the way home? Should they not be closed also out of respect?
Years ago stores were not allowed to open Sunday. They were also closed on holidays. That was a long time ago. The door is wide open and people are ready to make a buck. Times have changed.
I would prefer everything is closed on Nov. 11 until 3 p.m. It will never happen, but it would be the right thing to do.