In sports, there are a few teams that are undeniably intertwined with their communities. The Green Bay Packers are community owned. The Kitchener Rangers are owned by their season ticket holders. Many colleges comprise almost the entire city in which they reside. This shows that not all of professional and amateur sports are owned and controlled by multi-millionaires and multi-billionaires. The Owen Sound Attack are a similar situation.
Amidst a power play for a new arena, the Holody Family moved the Platers from Guelph to Owen Sound in 1989. Located on picturesque Georgian Bay, Owen Sound has a population of only 22,000, which is small even by OHL standards. The writing was on the wall for the short-lived future for the Owen Sound Platers.
In 2000, the Holody Family put the Platers up for sale. The Platers seemed destined to move and make an OHL return to the eastern Ontario city of Cornwall. Enter the community. A group of local businesspeople banded together and saved the Platers from another owner, and hockey in Owen Sound lived to fight another day. Their current ownership group remains true to that band of community patriots that saved the Platers and renamed them the Attack. Amongst the ownership group are local entrepreneurs, and a doctor. It is this grass-roots focus, and ownership that have kept the Attack alive, against all odds.
The Owen Sound Attack call the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre home. Named after Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender, and Owen Sound Native, Harry Lumley, the Community Centre features the J.D. McArthur Arena. McArthur was a local sportsman with strong ties to Owen Sound sports teams in Owen Sound until his 2002 death. The arena is unique in its marriage of classic Canadian arena architecture and modern arena architecture. The arena is locally referred to as Bayshore Arena, and offers a good night out to see some local hockey action.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The basic food items can be found at McArthur Arena. Burgers, hot dogs, popcorn, fries, nachos, and coffee can all be found here. The soda of choice is Pepsi in Owen Sound and comes in at a respectable $2.50. Alcoholic beverages are fairly limited. Coolers and mixed drinks are available, and the featured beer is either Molson Canadian or Coors Light. Suds will cost you $5.25.
There is nothing hugely unique at the Bayshore. A couple less than common items include donuts and cookies (each coming in at $1, which is a decent price). Overall, the concession prices in Owen Sound are pretty solid, and helps make up for a lack of panache and unique items.
The Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre features some unique items. With the addition of OHL hockey, came the addition of a large narthex that acts as the main entrance to the original arena. The narthex houses the ticket offices and team store, and is a good place to meet fellow fans.
Before entering the arena, historians should check out the Owen Sound Sports Hall of Fame, which honours many local sportsmen and community builders. The highlight of the display is the display of equipment and paraphernalia of local hero Harry Lumley. When going through, make sure you point out to your children the nearly microscopic goalie pads they wore back in the fifties.
Once inside the arena, the age of the building shows. The original arena was built in 1983, while the narthex was completed in 2002. The seating bowl is small, with open concourses which feature standing room. Seats are spacious, but large i-beams that comprise the building structure should be taken into account when selecting a seat. Exterior walls feature dark siding, that give the arena an old feel, along with the old-school, non-video score-clock.
The Attack have done a good job giving the building a bit of a home feel. A large display called "The Captain's Wall" tips the cap to all of the captains that have donned the 'C' for Owen Sound. Banners above the ice include the most recent J. Ross Robertson Banner for winning the OHL playoffs. Other banners of note include banners honouring former Plater, and Red Wing, Kirk Maltby and former Thrasher and Plater captain, Dan Snyder. Snyder holds a special place for Owen Sounders as he was a great leader and contributor to the Platers whose life was cut short in a tragic car accident in Atlanta.
Owen Sound scores a little higher due to its beautiful location. Bayshore Arena is located on an inlet of Georgian Bay known as Owen Sound Bay. It is absolutely beautiful on a fall day. Directly across the road is the Best Western, Inn on the Bay, which is handy if you are coming from a distance and need to stay in Owen Sound. In the hotel is Bishop's Landing Restaurant which features a patio that overlooks Owen Sound Bay.
The community centre itself offers walking trails along the coast and rather large playground. Both are perfect for an early season game, but will probably not interest you once the snow falls.
There is not too much else in the immediate area. If you are willing to hop in your car, you may be interested in a couple of spots further up 2nd Avenue. Both the Boot and Blade, and Rocky Racoon Cafe are worth giving a shot.
The Attack routinely score near the bottom in the OHL in attendance. A large part of that is due to the small capacity at Bayshore Arena. The night of this review was a typical 2,500 person evening. The Attack fans are a little louder and a little more boisterous than your typical Southern Ontario crowd. The noisemakers and large flags are present, and are not normally seen in other OHL arenas. The fans of Owen Sound do not get top marks simply due to the fact that they don't sell-out the small arena that they inhabit. The sense of community in Owen Sound is strong, but at the end of the day, money talks, and that may just be the difference between the Attack remaining in Owen Sound, or relocating to another Ontario city.
Getting to Bayshore Arena is not a problem. It is located a mere blocks from highways 21 and 6, which are the main inlets into Owen Sound. What's even better is that once you reach the Harry Lumley, you will find free parking.
Once inside the community centre, the new narthex in the front is large and spacious. Moving into the arena, the concourses become a little more crowded, and the washrooms are not overly ample.
Most tickets for the Attack come in under $18. There are VIP seats for $20. Even better, there are discounts for seniors, children and students. The price points are closer to the bottom of the OHL. Combined with concession prices that are pretty good, and free parking, a trip to the Bayshore is well within your means. Going even further, with the discounts for children and seniors, it's the perfect family entertainment that will not totally kill your pocketbook.
An extra point for the Wayne Gretzky and J. Ross Robertson trophies that were on display for the public to see and touch.
An extra point for the community ownership and community spirit held in Owen Sound.
An extra point for the beautiful location of the Harry Lumley.
In today's corporate sports world it is a refreshing change to see a team with such strong community ties surviving against all odds. They may not have the best team on the ice; they may not have the most modern and beautiful arena, but it belongs to Owen Sound and they are proud of it. I suggest a fall game, early in the season. You won't regret it.
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1800 2nd Ave E
Owen Sound, ON N4K 5R1