This story was published in the Fall 2022 edition of Total Sports Quinte magazine
By Aaron Bell/Belleville Heritage Hockey
For more than a century, Belleville’s best times have been at the rink. From the Arnott Rink on Turnbull Street to the Memorial in Market Square and the Yardmen on Cannifton, we have cheered our local hockey heroes…together.
Friday nights at the Memorial. Saturday nights at the Yardmen. The personality of our community has been shaped by our success on the ice.
“The Golden Jet” Bobby Hull, “Toots” Holway, Sandy Burrows, Moe Benoit, Gordie Bell, Rick Meagher, Bob Crawford, Jonathan Cheechoo and P.K. Subban brought the fans to the rinks…and out of their seats.
When the McFarlands, Bobcats and Bulls won championships for Belleville, the entire community shared in the pride of those victories. We walked a little taller because of their success on the ice.
Heritage on Ice: Celebrating Belleville’s Hockey History is the story of the community of Belleville and how its identity has been shaped over the past 130 years by the game of hockey.
The story is told from the unique perspective of the men and women that played and coached the game, the local media that covered the games and the fans that cheered Belleville’s hockey stars.
Using archival footage and photographs along with interviews with past players, coaches and hockey historians, the Heritage on Ice series will bring the story of Belleville’s hockey heritage together like never before.
Heritage on Ice – Series Episodes
Chapter 1: Our Hockey Origins
Henry Corby chaired the first meeting of the Belleville Hockey Club and set in motion a tradition of success that we continue to enjoy today. Sandy Burrows, Jack Winchester and Jack Marks star for Belleville’s original Silver Seven. They thrilled the community when they challenged for Ontario championships. Marks went on to become a three-time Stanley Cup champion.
Chapter 2: Ontario’s Finest Arena
“Gunner” Arnott, “Soup” Goyer and “Toots” Holway starred for Belleville’s Intermediates that dominated the Eastern Ontario loop. The community welcomed the opening of the finest ice arena in Ontario and turned out by the thousands to cheer on their senior teams including the Redmen, Reliance and Black Hawks. Local star Bob Hull watches his son emerge as one of the all-time greats of the game.
Chapter 3: More Macs More
The McFarlands bring home Belleville’s first national championship with a remarkable comeback win over the Kelowna Packers in the Allen Cup. Then they travel to Czechoslovakia to win the gold medal at the world championships. Bobby Hull becomes Belleville’s first superstar while setting NHL records with the Chicago Blackhawks and the local juniors establish themselves as contenders across the province.
Chapter 4: The Next Generation
The local railroaders raise millions to build a beautiful new arena that helps usher in a new era of junior hockey in Belleville. The next generation of Crawfords, Meaghers and Goegans help the Belleville Bobcats become the class of Junior B hockey in Ontario. Dennis Hull joins the stars of the NHL against the Soviets in the game-changing Summit Series.
Chapter 5: Bring on the Bulls
With a state-of-the-art new facility, the Belleville Bulls claim a provincial championship and usher in a new era of junior hockey with a familiar face behind the bench. Two of the Crawford brothers put their names on the Memorial Cup and the Gretzky brothers bring some star-power to the Friendly City. The Toronto Maple Leafs make history when they select three Bulls in the first round of the NHL Draft.
Chapter 6: A Sensational New Era
The Bulls break through and win the Robertson Cup as OHL champions and represent Belleville in a pair of Memorial Cup tournaments. Local stars Andrew Raycroft, Matt Cooke, Brad Richardson and Andrew Shaw make names for themselves in the NHL. After celebrating a century of hockey, the community welcomes the American Hockey League Belleville Senators.
To find out more about the Heritage On Ice documentary series, please visit www.hockeyheritage.ca