Go Huskies Go

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Growing up outside of Sudbury, I spent a fair bit of time at the Sudbury Arena watching the Ontario Hockey League Sudbury Wolves.
One of the highlights then – and still today – is when the Wolves score and a taxidermy wolf descends from the rafters. It is, naturally, accompanied by a wolf howl. The tradition dates back well over 50 years.

Back then, there was also a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II at one end of the old hockey barn. In the glory days before netting, the then-monarch took a lot of pucks to the face. She was pretty disfigured by the time they took her down.

Attending the Haliburton County Huskies playoff game March 12, I was delighted to see the Haliburton Highlands Sports Hall of Fame has been duplicated on the wall behind the stands at the arena. It pays tribute to 17 athletes – including hockey builders A.J. LaRue and Lenny Salvatori and players Bernie Nicholls, Cody Hodgson, ‘Joe” Iles, Glen Dart, and Marla MacNaull. The hall’s first home is upstairs at the A.J. LaRue Arena.

In between periods, I noted the township of Minden Hills has done a good job of decorating the arena and community centre. There are fine display cases in the lobby, featuring championship trophies, photos and memorabilia, all paying tribute to our Highlands sporting glory.

Inside the rink itself, there are banners marking the various team championships over the years. The Huskies logo is painted at centre ice. There is the requisite Canadian flag underneath the score clock. There were plenty of ‘Go Huskies Go’ posters in the stands.

The atmosphere is always good as a Huskies game here attracts about 500, and even more, in the playoffs. Had it been a better game – the blue and white lost 4-2 – the stands would have been a tad bit more raucous.

Susan was in the lobby flogging Huskies merch. Jess Jackson was running around the arena – as usual – making sure everything was in order. Owner Paul Wilson always presses the flesh. The bar staff and fine folks from Mulligan’s were busy upstairs. The kids, as usual, were running around and having a blast.

There was really only one thing missing – or maybe two or three.

I wondered about the prospect of getting a stuffed Husky – maybe not a taxidermy one – but a replica, stringing it up on a wire, and running it across the roof every time the Huskies score – along with a blood-curdling dog howl.

Over the years, in Sudbury, there’s also been a large inflatable wolf head that the players have skated through.

I also pondered the prospect of a portrait of King Charles II at one end of the arena. With the netting, we would be assured the monarch’s face would remain intact throughout the course of his reign.

Meanwhile, we are down two games to one in this first-round series with a pivotal match in Cobourg March 14. So, Go Huskies Go!