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  • Writer's pictureDave Cottenie

J.D. McArthur Arena at Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre - Owen Sound Attack

Photos by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey

Stadium Journey FANFARE Score: 3.14

J.D. McArthur Arena @ Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre

1900 3rd Ave. E.

Owen Sound, ON N4K 2M6

Year Opened: 1983

Capacity: 3,500

The Little Bear that Could

On the banks of Georgian Bay sits the smallest market in the Ontario Hockey League. In 1989, the Guelph Platers, who had been in Guelph since 1968, made the move north to the Grey-Bruce area of Ontario. The Owen Sound Platers were to be sold to a businessman out of town which would require relocation.

The “Super Six,” would come together to purchase the team and keep them in Owen Sound. Brian Johnson, Dr. Robert Severs, Fay Harshman, Frank Coulter, and Peter and Paul MacDermid, a group of local business owners, would keep that can-do attitude alive in Owen Sound and the Attack have remained viable and competitive in the Ontario Hockey League. The hard work culminated in the Attack’s 2011 J.Ross Robertson Cup as OHL Champions and a berth in the Memorial Cup.

Home for the Attack is the J.D. McArthur Arena at Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre. Located right on Georgian Bay, the Bayshore is named after Owen Sound favourite son and Hockey Hall of Fame member Harry Lumley, who played for the Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, and Toronto Maple Leafs and won the 1954 Vezina Trophy.

The arena portion is named after J.D. McArthur, a former Owen Sound hockey player who also coached and sponsored sports teams in Owen Sound as well as serving as the arena commissioner and having a vital role in the construction of the Bayshore Community Centre.

Food & Beverage 2

Concessions at J.D. McArthur Arena are fairly simple. Hot dogs, burgers, pretzels, nachos popcorn, cotton candy, chocolate bars, and chips make up the entirety of the food menu. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cappuccino, and Coca-Cola products are the soft drinks available at one of the four concession stands. As far as beer selection goes, Molson Canadian, Coors Light, Creemore, and Miller Lite are all available. The menu is very simple in Owen Sound and fans will find something to tide them over, however, for something more complex or interesting, stopping somewhere before or after the game is probably the best idea.

Atmosphere 3

The Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre is in a picturesque location right on the bay. An older building that has been renovated, the Bayshore has an added atrium in the front. The exterior is an attractive light brick with huge banners of Harry Lumley and advertisements for the Owen Sound Sports Hall of Fame. The main entry at the south leads into the atrium where the main ticket office is found along with a small merchandise store. Heading to the left and around the corner fans may head down the hall to take in the Hall of Fame which includes a set of Harry Linley’s old goalie pads.

After ascending the stairs to the J.D. McArthur Arena, fans enter the main concourse behind the seating bowl. Immediately the McArthur Arena gives vibes of a time gone by as well as the feeling that this venue, like the Owen Sound market itself, is of small size. The concourse is outlined with dark-colored, aluminum siding on the exterior walls, giving the area a dark and serious look to it.

The Attack use every piece of space for murals of teams gone by or advertisements. A large mural dedicated to the 2011 championship team dominates the concourse and is worth checking out. The Captain’s Wall also features several familiar names who have served as captains of either the Attack or Platers including Kirk Maltby, Dan Snyder, and Bobby Ryan.

Space is not a luxury afforded the J.D. McArthur Arena. Above the north-south running ice surface, several massive iron beams cross over the ice, holding the structure of the building up. The ceiling is the lowest in the league and gives the arena a bunker-like atmosphere. The video board above center ice, which seems precariously low-hung, is very narrow and has four sides of a video screen and four sides of a traditional scoreboard with a very narrow LED ribbon circle at the bottom.

To the north side of the ice surface, the banners hang for the 2011 J.Ross Robertson Cup team which includes conference and division banners. Honoured members of Owen Sound hockey Dan Snyder, Kirk Maltby, Scott Walker and Andrew Brunette also hang at the north end. Fans wanting the perfect photo of the centre ice logo should sit on the west side of the area. The seating bowl has ten rows of surprisingly comfortable, red, plastic arena seats. Luxury boxes have been squeezed into the east and south concourses and a large party box can be found in the southeast corner.

The gameday production at an Attack game is very simple. Music is played during the downtimes and simple promotions happen throughout the game. The mascot, Cubby, makes appearances at various times during the game.

Neighbourhood 3

The Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre is located in one of the most picturesque locations in the entire OHL, right on the inlet of Georgian Bay. There are a few spots for pre and post-game food and drink that are not too far. Bishop’s Landing Lake View Patio is right across the parking lot, in the Best Western. Other options not too far include The Yard, Mudtown Station Brewery, and Boot and Blade. Fans heading to 16th Street will find several chain restaurants and fast food spots.

The Owen Sound Attack is the only game in town, so it is the draw in the Sound. The Grey-Bruce area is very much an outdoor area with fishing and parks on the water in the area. Other tourist attractions include the Billy Bishop Museum, the Marine & Rail Museum, and the Grey Roots Museum and Archives. For fans wishing to stay right by the arena, the Best Western is right there.

Fans 3

With the smallest market in the OHL at just 22,000, Owen Sound needs to maximize its fan support to make ends meet in Owen Sound. Usually topping out around 3,000 fans per game, the Attack does not have the inelastic demand for tickets that one might expect. In the 2022-23 season, the Attack was 17th in the 20-team OHL in attendance, averaging just over 2,500 fans per game. Attack fans view their team like a family and do not get overly riled one way or another. Fans are loud when the Attack score but not overly rambunctious. More fan support and a little more passion in the small J.D. McArthur Arena would make that venue rock! The Attack probably needs to attract even more fans to ensure the long-term health of the team and galvanize their place on Georgian Bay.

Access 3

The Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre is located northwest of the main highways that enter Owen Sound, Highways 26 and 6. Getting to the arena will require a bit of traversing of the city of Owen Sound, but not too much. There is plenty of free parking in the front and behind the Bayshore. With a small population of just 22,000, there is not too much in the way of public transportation.

There is a bus route that stops on the 3rd and 18th. Fans should check out the Owen Sound Transit website for routes, fares, and maps. Getting around the Bayshore is what one would expect when getting around an older arena. The concourse behind the seating bowl can get tight, especially during intermission when the lines are forming for concessions. The seats are comfortable, but kind of low to the ground. There are also plenty of stairs from the main atrium level to the concourse level. Washrooms are adequate for the fans in attendance.

Return on Investment 4

OHL hockey provides tremendous value for the sporting dollar and the Owen Sound Attack is no exception. Tickets for Attack games go for $26 for preferred seats. Regular seats are $24 and there are discounts for students, seniors, and kids. Although the venue is not the most spectacular in the league, being close to the ice with the low ceiling makes the experience feel cozy but more importantly, makes the play on the ice seem that much faster. The gameday production is simple and prices for concessions are decent and parking is free. Overall, the Owen Sound Attack is a great way to spend a Saturday evening.

Extras 4

An extra mark for the memory of longtime Owen Sound Attack business manager Ray McElvie who played an integral part in the development of the Attack and who passed away in 2022 at the age of 87.

An extra mark for the “Super Six” local business owners who saved the Owen Sound Platers who would rebrand to become the Attack. An extra mark for Owen Sound still going strong in the smallest market in the Ontario Hockey League. An extra mark for the Owen Sound Sports Hall of Fame, which will give fans some great things to explore.

Final Thoughts

The J.D. McArthur Arena may not be flashy like some of the newer venues, but it has character and it is a great place to watch an Owen Sound Attack game. The Attack continues to defy the odds in such a small market, but that can-do attitude has done the organization well and their continued success in the OHL is expected.

Follow all of Dave’s sporting adventures on Twitter @profan9 and Instagram.


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