It would appear a significant piece of Moncton’s hockey history is missing and perhaps gone for good.
One would have assumed that the banners that hung in the rafters of the Moncton Coliseum would have made the trek to the Avenir Centre.
That’s clearly not the case.
The aforementioned banners are no where to be found.
Obviously given the current situation with all the imposed restrictions access to the city owned and operated Coliseum is almost impossible.
I can’t remember seeing the banners in the rafters last year while attending a Bantam AAA game during the Monctonian Challenge.
It was the first thing that always caught my eye when I walked in the arena.
Those banners were part of my childhood.
Phil Doiron, Oscar Gaudet and Bill Riley’s retired numbers signified hockey royalty in this region and they still do.
A very reliable source told me earlier today the banners were auctioned off or sold at a yard sale before the move to the Avenir Centre.
It would appear the hockey community in the Moncton and southeast New Brunswick have suffered a massive loss to its rich history.
The American Hockey League era meant something to this city.
It was a blue collar era of the game played in a blue collar town.
The AHL embodied the Maritimes, and you might say the reverse was true as well, as the Maritimes embodied the AHL.
For 16 years the region’s hub witnessed the highs and lows of hockey’s top minor professional league.
From players on their way to stardom, to aging veterans wanting one final shot at ‘The Show’, the AHL offered fans a unique perspective inside the world of professional hockey.
The NB Hawks Calder Cup victory was one for the ages.
It was New Brunswick’s first professional championship.
This city like no other always rallied around our teams and players.
One would assume the City of Moncton and the its Sports and Recreational Department would have wanted to keep the banners as part of the Moncton Sports Wall of Fame.
I’m sure Resurgo Place would have loved to receive so many pieces of the city’s hockey history.
Unfortunately that didn’t happen and to this day three highly respected players and countless teams in this city aren’t being properly honoured in a brand new state of art multi-million dollar facility.
It’s time that the City of Moncton and the good folks at the Avenir Centre to honour the city’s hockey history by making new banners and hanging them proudly in the rafters where they belong.
It’s time that the City of Moncton reach out to the collectors who may purchased the banners at a yard sale or auction and do the right thing and return them to the families or give them to the Resurgo Place so the next generation of hockey adoring fans can pay proper tribute to the city’s rich and diverse hockey history.
Those hockey teams deserve recognition.
Those players and their families deserve recognition.
The City of Moncton and southeast New Brunswick’s hockey history still means something.
It’s time to find the banners,
It’s time to hang the banners in the Avenir Centre or return them to the Coliseum.
It’s time once again to honour and respect this city’s hockey history.