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The Prince of Wales Rink (later called the Prince’s Rink) was the centre of St. John’s indoor winter sports from 1899 to 1941. The arena was constructed by R.G. Reid (Reid Newfoundland Company) in a vacant area of the rail yard at Fort William. The rink was full-size, with twelve 92' roof supports that allowed the entire ice surface to be free of any structural supports.

The rink was officially opened on 21 January 1899 and was immediately filled with delighted skaters, skating being a popular activity in St. John’s. Soon after the grand opening, the first hockey game was played, an exhibition game played by Canadians, possibly employees of the local Canadian banks or the Railway. Although local interest in hockey was initially lukewarm, the rink slowly became the hub of both community and inter-collegiate leagues.

In the summer of 1907, a board floor was laid at the rink to provide a venue for roller skating. Roller skates were available for rent, and the activity was popular until the mid-1920s. The Avalon Curling Rink, built adjacent to the Prince’s Rink, was opened on 10 January 1910. In 1936, the rink switched from natural ice to artificial ice. This meant that the winter games were no longer as dependent on the weather, and the playing season was extended.

In November 1941, the Prince’s Rink and the Avalon Curling Rink were destroyed by fire. The loss of the facility was a disaster for city hockey. The senior men’s hockey league were eventually welcomed into the St. Bonaventure’s Forum, but the women’s hockey leagues were devastated, having been left with no available venue for practice and games. The Rink had been not only a venue for the St. John’s school and city teams, but was also a meeting place for inter-community games. During the winter, these communities were cut off from each other, but all had been able to travel to St. John’s to compete. A public hockey rink did not exist in St. John’s until the opening of the Memorial Stadium in 1955.

The St. John’s Curling Association was defunct until 1943, when a new curling rink was built.


SANL 1.09.006

Prince's Rink 1933


Hilda Green
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