The Canadian in New Brunswick: an arena rises from its ashes

The Canadiens in New Brunswick: an arena rises from the ashes


BOUCTOUCHE, New Brunswick | In small towns, the arena and the community center are usually at the heart of the life of its citizens. However, when one of these buildings goes up in smoke, it's a bit like the soul of the city that goes away at the same time. 

It's a misfortune that experienced the community of Elsipogtog in September 2020 when the Chief Young Eagle Recreation Center was engulfed in flames. Although the structure was not affected, the damage was considerable enough to make the place inaccessible.

“The inside of the arena was completely ruined. The piping and machinery that was used to create the ice was no longer usable,” said Malian Levi, head of the group that submitted the First Nation's candidacy for the Kraft Hockeyville competition in 2021.

< p>Winner of the competition, Elsipogtog, New Brunswick's largest Mi'gmaq community, used the $250,000 prize to repair the roof and walls and replace windows, scoreboard and bay windows .

On Friday, we were even able to proceed with the inauguration of the recreation centre.

“Right now, I am overwhelmed with emotion, launched Ms. Levi, the day after this inauguration, while the players of the Canadiens and the Senators signed autographs at the entrance of the J.K. Irving Center, of Bouctouche, located at a twenty minutes southeast. I will probably start crying at some point during the day, but it will be tears of joy.”

However, Ms. Levi stresses that there is still work to be done so that the village of 3500 people can have access to the ice rink.

“We realized that there was a leak in the piping,” she said. Since it is below the surface, you will first have to break all the cement to reach it. In the meantime, young people come to skate here, in Bouctouche. However, the hours of availability are limited.”

Back to basics for Allen

Originally from New Brunswick, more precisely from Fredericton, Jake Allen was on hand for the event.

“It was fantastic,” said the Canadiens goaltender. It is the type of event that is very important. It means a lot to these communities.”

Jake Allen

In fact, in March 2021, Allen himself campaigned for Elsipogtog by inviting his fellow New Brunswickers to vote massively for this candidacy.< /p>

For the 32-year-old athlete, this stop in Bouctouche felt like a homecoming.

“This arena is too recent for me to play there. On the other hand, I often played in the old arena, the Bouctouche Forum, during the minor hockey era,” he said.

Senators fans

Besides, even though the season will officially begin in a few days and his position is, of course, assured, Allen wanted to keep the net for that last preseason game.

“To be honest, I never thought I would play an NHL game in New Brunswick,” he said. I will have some family and friends from Fredericton going on the trip. It's probably been planned since the announcement of the event.”

Just like the day before in Gander, there were a few hundred fans wanting to get an autograph or capture a moment with their favorites . If the allegiance to the Habs was practically unanimous on the island of Newfoundland, this time, we were approaching parity. 

Cole Caufield and Youppi! stole the show again. On the other hand, Brady Tkachuk and Claude Giroux also generated their large share of reactions.