Sudbury·Audio

Haileybury Arena to be re-named for skating coach Shelley Herbert-Shea

The sign at the Haileybury Arena is going to be changing soon and up will go the name of a woman who spent many hours on that ice and influenced the lives of thousands of young people in the Tri-Towns.

Shelley Herbert-Shea died of cancer in September at age 59

Shelley Herbert-Shea (left) with former skating pupil now Haileybury skating coach Lexi Cambridge. Herbert-Shea died suddenly of cancer in September and now the Haileybury Arena will be named after her. (Lexi Cambridge)

Lexi Cambridge could tell that her friend and mentor Shelley Herbert-Shea wasn't feeling well and suggested she skip the first skate of the season.

"She said 'I think I need to,'" says Cambridge, a coach at the Haileybury Skating Club. 

"It was funny to see. She was just herself. She was still picking the kids up and spinning them around. It was a good last memory."

About a week after that skate in September 2018, Herbert-Shea died suddenly of cancer at the age of 59.

And now her name will hang over the door of that arena where she spent thousands of hours coaching skaters of all shapes and sizes for the last 40 years.

Temiskaming Shores council has voted to rename the rink the Shelley Herbert-Shea Memorial Arena.

"I think it will put a smile on a lot of people's faces," says Cambridge, who was coached by Shelley when she was a girl.

'Get the lead out'

Herbert-Shea grew up figure skating in the Tri-Towns, racking up many gold medals and eventually got an offer to skate with the Ice Capades.

But she decided instead to go back home to have a family and coach, which she did at clubs in Kirkland Lake, New Liskeard and Haileybury over the last 40 years, as well as starting the power skating program in the area. 

Cambridge says Herbert-Shea was a "one of a kind" coach who was "driven and tough, but she had a very soft side."

She remembers her chasing kids around the ice, clapping her big leather mitts shouting at them to "get the lead out."

"She'd hug us and spin us around and around and around and ask us what was new and how school was going and then all of sudden stop spinning us and we were super dizzy and she'd say 'Go do this jump,'" Cambridge says.

The sign at the Haileybury arena is going to be changing soon and up will go the name of a woman who spent many hours on that ice and influenced the lives of thousands of young people in the Tri Towns. That's long-time figure skating coach Shelley Herbert-Shea who died suddenly of cancer in September at the age of 59. Lexi Cambridge, who's a coach at the Haileybury Skating Club told us more about Shelley Herbert-Shea. 6:29

About the Author

Erik White

journalist

Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to erik.white@cbc.ca

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