The Niagara IceDogs skated to a 5-3 victory over the Ottawa 67's on Sunday in the final Ontario Hockey League game to be played at the Niagara Falls Memorial Arena.
The IceDogs are based in St. Catharines but were playing in the arena that opened its doors on Jan. 25,1950 and has played host to tens of thousands of hockey games — in addition to other events — featuring youth hockey players and future NHLers.
Chris DeSousa scored twice to give Niagara the win. Drew Schiestel had a goal and an assist, while Marco Insam and Andrew Agozzino also scored for Niagara (26-27-4-6). Alex Friesen had three assists.
Tyler Tiffoli scored a pair and Stephen Blunden added another for the 67's (34-21-5-2).
IceDogs goaltender Jeremy Smith and Ottawa netminder Chris Perugini each made 38 saves.
Coach Brian Kilrea, in his final season with Ottawa, began bringing his teams to the Niagara Falls arena in 1974.
The arena will still host minor hockey games until next year, with the four-pad Gale Centre being built in the city.
The Niagara Falls Memorial Arena played host to several OHL highlights after owner Hap Emms brought the team to the city from Barrie in 1960.
The Flyers reached the Memorial Cup three times in the 1960s, winning in 1965 and 1968. Bernie Parent, Derek Sanderson, Don Marcotte, Bill Goldsworthy, Rick Ley and Tom Webster were among the Flyers who graduated to the NHL from those teams.
The versions of the Flyers in the late 1970s and early 1980s included future NHL stars like Mike Gartner, Steve Larmer, Mark Osborne and Steve Ludzik. Late great OHL coach Bert Templeton spent two seasons behind the team's bench.
The franchise would leave for North Bay but a new one, the Niagara Falls Thunder, began play later in the 1980s. Keith Primeau, Ethan Moreau, Brad May, the late Bryan Fogarty and Manny Legace starred for the Thunder.
Sanderson and Ludzik were among several alumni on hand for a weekend of activities surrounding the final game.
The IceDogs took warmups all wearing vintage Flyers jerseys with Sanderson's No. 17 on the back. Sanderson, former Flyer and NHLer Phil Roberto and former play-by-play announcer Rick Jeanneret took part in the puck drop ceremony.