Community says goodbye to hockey rink with poetry, 360-degree rap video
Quesnel's Twin Arenas is coming down after being a gathering place since 1956
Residents of Quesnel are saying goodbye to the Twin Arenas ice rink that has served their community for over 60 years as crews prepare to demolish it to make way for a new, updated facility.
"It's bittersweet," said Dave Beaudry, a mill worker and musician.
"We get a new hockey rink, [but] it's sad at the same time we lose something as historic and special as the old rink."
Beaudry said he grew up playing at the Twin Arenas with his brothers.
"Now as an adult I'm in the rink watching my kids play. It's just really special."
Under the rap name Dirty Frazier, Beaudry preserved his memories by shooting a 360-degree music video in the arenas.
Using a virtual reality headset, viewers are able to explore the locker rooms, lobby and ice.
"I wanted to shoot a video in the rink more or less just for myself and my family," he explained.
"It just clicked because... not only can I shoot a video, but it can actually be a video where people could somewhat travel back in time with a VR [virtual reality] headset and actually walk around the rink again."
'There were quite a few tears'
Beaudry isn't the only one saying goodbye. A final public skate was held on March 26, capped off by long-time figure skating coach Sharon Chow reading a poem paying tribute to the space before taking a final lap.
"It is rather like saying goodbye to an old friend," Chow said.
"I have spent a good chunk of my life figure skating in this rink."
"There were quite a few tears," said Marc-Andre Boudreau, the city's Zamboni driver and a recreational hockey player.
Boudreau said lots of people have been coming in to take one last look at the ice before he starts tearing it out this week.
"It really hit when I started some of the older gentlemen coming in. You could see them just walking around reliving old memories," he said.
"There's a gentleman here, he's 66-years-old now, and he says he's been playing here since he was six years old. And I see him playing shinny hockey almost every day of the week."
Asked about his own memories, Boudreau recalled the first time his oldest son worked up the courage to go out on the ice during a public skate.
"I remember just feeling so proud of him... it was pretty great that the arena was somewhere that he was able to shine like that."
Boudreau said he believes it's family memories that give the arena a special place in the community's heart.
"It's been here for so long and so many people have grown up here," he said.
Listen to Boudreau share some Twin Arenas history, including the time a man wrestled a bear.
"I talk to some people, they say they're too young to remember the first time they came here because their parents were dragging them here when they were one year old... now they're coming here to watch their grandkids play."
Beaudry has also found that it's families who are most moved by his video.
"I've gotten a lot of good feedback," he said. "Especially from hockey parents."
With files from George Baker.
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