Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - November 7, 2004, Winnipeg, Manitoba
C2 SPORTS WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2004
Fond rink memories
return for Grizz coach
By Tim Campbell
IF there was a twinge of guilt for ruining
� at least for the fans � the last hockey game at the Winnipeg Arena, Utah Griz�zlies coach Pat Conacher said there were far more positives.
The 45-year-old Edmonton native, who played 521 NHL games for six different clubs, was thrilled after coaching his Phoenix Coyotes farm team to a 2-1 shootout win over the hometown Mani�toba Moose.
Certainly, the hard-working career left-winger was thrilled for his team�s first win of the AHL season. But more ecstatic to simply have been here.
�Coming back to a building like this, the smell alone tells you you�re in a hock�ey building,� Conacher gushed after the game, witnessed by a sold-out, Moose�record crowd of 13,985. �Whichever team I came here with and played against the Jets, one thing that was always fantastic was the people. They have a real passion for the game here in Winnipeg and I think it showed here tonight.
�You don�t get that in many places, usually only in Canada. It was hard on me emotionally tonight, watching those ceremonies before. I watched the whole thing. It was tugging on my heart, no two
Continued from Page C1
Fran Huck, former Team Canada and Jets centre: �Alexander Yakushev and Valeri Kharlamov. Kharlamov, he was the purest player I�ve ever seen, could skate, shoot, pass, stop, start, score. And Yakushev because he was a great talent.�
Laurie Langrell, Memorial Cup win�ner from the 1959 Braves: �Bobby Leiter and Lew Mueller, my old friends here. One more game, it�s got to be with them.�
Former Jets left winger and head ways about it. We all love hockey. Seeing the great players being honoured out there tonight, players who had a great part in building the game from the foun�dation up, this was a great salute to them.�
And there was benefit for his young team as well, Conacher said.
�For all these guys to have an oppor�tunity to partake and see that, they�ll remember it,� he said. �I know I will. This is a great, great memory for me.�
. . .
The majority of players in the last�ever game at the arena are not familiar with the eras of so many of the hockey legends that descended on Winnipeg this weekend.
But one, Manitoba Moose left-winger Jimmy Roy, gave a touching, tear-evok�ing interview for the farewell video played last night and also at Friday�s gala dinner.
�When you�re just sitting out there and it�s all quiet and there�s nothing going on and you�re looking around at the seats and up at the press box, there�s a lot of history,� Roy said of his interview. �Look at those banners. When I was a kid and I used to come to hockey games, I can remember leaning over the edge trying to get a peek at Wayne Gretzky on the visitors side.
scout Bill Lesuk: �Anders Hedberg and Bobby Hull. I�m a little biased. There are so many good players to pick from. I never played with (Mike) Bossy and he would have been a great one to play with, too.�
Thomas Steen, former Jets centre: �Pat Elynuik and Teemu Selanne. I never had so much fun playing in my career when I played with Patty. I played with (Hakan) Loob and (Kent) Nilsson, that was fun, too, and also (Alex) Zhamnov and Tkachuk, but I�ll stick with the first two guys first.�
And we let Joe Daley, the former great Jets goalie, imagine he was a centre and gave him his pick of line-
�It was pretty cool to come out and see these guys like Dave Ellett and Dave Babych and Pat Elynuik and Thomas Steen and Arnie (Scott Arniel) and Gilly (Randy Gilhen) and Kitty (Randy Car�lyle, his coach). These are guys I grew up watching. To even get the chance to walk out on the stage (Friday), me, just a kid from Sioux Lookout, Ont., it was cool. It was the neatest thing, neater than getting drafted, being able to be out there with all those guys.
�By rights, I don�t think I�ve should have been out there. I felt kind of out of place with all those stars.�
. . .
Carlyle couldn�t resist responding to Bob Essensa�s needles at Friday night�s gala dinner. Essensa pointed out that Carlyle and former Jets teammate Dave Ellett may have been responsible for a few red lights that went on behind him during the NHL Jets era here.
Said Carlyle about his team�s former netminder: �They didn�t call him Flip�per for nothing.�
. [email protected]
mates. Said Daley: �I�d want to play with Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull if I had been a centre. They exemplified the game of hockey. Bobby was every�thing a goal scorer would want to be and Gordie was everything in one play�er, toughness and scoring. You could be a 120-pound centreman and survive with those two guys.�
The legends have spoken, and not one of them wanted Wayne Gretzky, the greatest player of all time, to ruin another night at the Arena.
. [email protected]
Nostalgic farewell honoured arena�s proud history
By Gary Lawless
HE Manitoba Moose may not be the most famed tenants of the Winnipeg Arena but they are the last, and with that came the responsi�bility of closing one of hockey�s cathe�drals.
They lived up to the task with the elan and class of so many players who graced the Arena ice.
The Moose and Winnipeg Enterprises put together a terrific farewell weekend filled with nostalgia, reunions and a long, thorough look at the past. The hockey fans of Winnipeg held up their end of the bargain as well, selling out a gala dinner and the last professional hockey game ever at Winnipeg Arena.
Last night�s crowd of 14,000 was the largest in post-Jets history and the Moose will also play to a sellout in their next home game � the Nov. 17 debut at the brand new MTS Centre.
Forty hockey legends from the Arena�s 50 years of hockey were invited to take part in the weekend, and they co-starred with the grand old barn in an event many will remember.
�I�m very proud of our organization right now and the people that worked so hard to put this weekend together,� said Moose chairman Mark Chipman. �The reality of leaving this place is starting to sink in. I�ve really enjoyed this. The guy who should get credit for the idea of bringing the players back is Don Bai�zley We had a talk about a year ago and he had been at the Maple Leaf Gardens closing and that�s kind of where the idea came from.�
The Moose and Enterprises ponied up over $100,00 to carry the weekend off and it was money well spent.
Continued from Page C1
�That was amazing. I haven�t heard this building that loud before,� said Smith. �Hearing the crowd chant �Go Jets Go� and then �Go Moose Go� was so exciting. There was an NHL buzz in the building.�
The Grizzlies, however,
�Without a doubt they�ve done a first�class job with this. This is one of the greatest events I�ve seen in hockey,� said Randy Gilhen, a Winnipegger who played in the Arena with the Winnipeg Warriors, Jets and Manitoba Moose. �When I was playing in Pittsburgh they had an all-star weekend. Obviously I did�n�t play in the game but I was there. It was a pretty good weekend but from what I�ve seen � this is top notch.
�I think what makes it special is they�ve gone through all the eras and honoured them. The Moose are to be commended for a job well done. Grow�ing up in Winnipeg, at the dinner when Anders (Hedberg) and Ulf (Nilsson) got up and spoke about how much the city meant to them, and hearing John Fer�guson say how much he loved the city, it�s great when you see people who have been to places like Stockholm, New York and Toronto and they come back and they have such great memories about Winnipeg. We should all feel great about where we live.�
Dallas Eakins played with the Jets on two occasions and finished his career with the Moose playing in 1,000 pro hockey games at the Arena as the team�s captain.
For this journeyman defenceman who played with nine different NHL teams rubbing elbows with the pantheon of Jets was a moment to be cherished.
�For me, I was honoured and humbled. My first thought when I got on the podi�um, and even in the back when we were lining up, was I had no business being here,� said Eakins �All those great play�ers. I was in awe. Guys I�ve played with, read about and watched when I was a kid. I feel a little bit out of my skin.�
. [email protected]
tled back with a goal of their own at 13:50 of the third period.
Randall Gelech was credited with the goal as he managed to jam the puck past Flaherty with a mass of bodies colliding in the crease.
The Moose pressed for the winner and appeared to have it in the dying minutes when Kevin Bieksa got the puck behind LeN�eveu and slid it across the goal
Roy, the Moose franchise leader in games played and goals scored, said the evening was spe�cial and not to be discounted because of the shootout loss.
�It�s part of the game. It was great for the fans. There was a lot of excitement in the building. It just didn�t turn out in our favour,� said Roy. �I�m sure it wasn�t as loud as when the Jets were here but it sure was loud.
weren�t interested in allowing line from post to post but refer�the Moose to put the crowning ee Bob Langdon ruled it didn�t . [email protected]
touch on the weekend, and bat-cross the line.
Picture Listing in Friday's � Complimentary Automotive Showcase interior/exterior carwash
Classified word ad on from Jet Car Wash Saturday & Sunday (Value $13.75)
7 day internet picture ad on � Complimentary winnipegfreepress.com "FOR SALE" sign
You can e-mail your ad and picture to
or we can take your picture for you.