Old Essex Arena

I played at the Old Essex Arena many times and I’m convinced it was the coldest place in Essex County. Back then, Mom didn’t drive you to the arena and wait in the stands with a water bottle and snack. You walked to the arena carrying your gear. There are no hills in Essex but there were days that the snow was deep enough that the 20 to 30 minute walk was a slog.

Walking into the arena it was all concrete and the air was walking into an ice box. It was always 10c colder inside than outside and that also applied to changing rooms. Once on the ice, if you had a good day, things would heat up. Coaches were ruthless back in those days and they kept you moving. This was back when no one went to the gym and we all had a six pack from racing around the ice in practice or games. On game days, everyone would be in the stands wrapped in blankets sitting on the concrete slab and we’d be pouring sweat on the ice. I didn’t realize until I was an adult how miserable a viewing experience Essex arena offers if the game isn’t good. Just like the rest of the building, the stands were cold and uncomfortable but this is hockey and we’re in Canada so if anyone complained after the game, they’d be told to give their head a shake.

Those were great days.

Joe – 61 – Kingsville,

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