There's a wealth of history when it comes to the sports scene in Harbour Grace. From the town's historic regatta to its hockey and curling champions, there's no shortage of reasons to know about the Conception Bay North community's achievements.
"When you think about it, Harbour Grace is very small," said Zoe Anderson, chair of the Harbour Grace Sports Hall of Fame. "When you think about the athletes that we've produced, whether it's curling, wrestling, martial arts, hockey – we're kind of known for our hockey, but we've got lots of other sports that athletes have done well with. To me, it's just as much of a selling point for Harbour Grace as the Kyle or the airplane (Spirit of Harbour Grace) or Amelia Earhart. We're big on sports, and we should proudly put that on display."
That ties in to Anderson's committee's work to share some of the town's sports history through displays set up at the Danny Cleary Harbour Grace Community Centre. Before it opened in 2016, the Hall of Fame committee had some local sports memorabilia on display in the hospitality room at S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium. The committee did get some photos up on the walls of the multi-purpose room at the new rink, and with help from the town and others, several display cases have been set up. But according to Anderson, the committee would like to do a lot more.
"We also have a lot of other items that we want on display, that we want out in the public eye," she explained in a recent interview with The Compass at the community centre. "Eventually, we're hoping this full building will have cabinets, pictures, trophies. Whatever we've got, it's going to be displayed somewhere in the building."
The building's namesake, Stanley Cup winner Daniel Cleary, provided the financial support to set up a display case recognizing his 17-season career in the NHL. The local Cee Bees Minor Hockey Association and senior CeeBee Stars team have also paid for display cases. The Town of Harbour Grace covered the cost of three more to display Hall of Fame items.
The collection covers decades of sports history in the community. The committee was established in 1988 and has developed quite the collection of memorabilia over time, with a lot of material still kept in storage at this point. Despite this, Anderson said the committee would love to add to its collection.
"I'm sure there's people who've got things they've held on to for years ... it's probably something we could put on display."
More cabinets to display material is the top item on the committee's agenda. It wants to keep those displays away from the multi-purpose room, simply because it does not get a lot of foot traffic.
"We want it all over the building so that people will actually come to this stadium and think, 'OK, it's a sports museum, let's go see what's there.'"
In addition to setting up more cabinets, the Hall of Fame committee hopes to eventually have an online presence.