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  • Writer's pictureDave Cottenie

Steve Kerr Memorial Centre - Listowel Cyclones


Photos by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57


Steven Kerr Memorial Centre

965 Binning St. W

Listowel, ON N4W 0G6



Year Opened: 2017

Capacity: 800


A Cyclone is in Town


Listowel, Ontario is known for a couple of things.  The lead singer of the band Helix, Brian Vollmer, hails from Listowel.  The hit show “Letterkenny” is loosely based on creator Jared Keeso’s experiences growing up around the Listowel area.  Millions of cans of Campbell’s Soup have been produced outside of Listowel.  Possibly the most famous son of Listowel was the “Listowel Pistol” Frederick “Cyclone” Taylor. 


Cyclone Taylor is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and an original Ottawa Senator whose number is retired in the Canadian Tire Centre and has a street outside the home of the Senators named after him.  Taylor’s name is on the Stanley Cup in two spots.  It seems appropriate that the local team in the town in which he grew up is also named after him.  The Listowel Cyclones joined the Central Junior C Hockey League in 1972.  By 1979 the Cycs moved up to Junior B and currently remain a cornerstone franchise in the Junior B, Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.


The home for the Cyclones is the Steve Kerr Memorial Complex.  Built in 2017 and owned by the Municipality of North Perth, the complex is named after a generous donation by the family of Steven Kerr, who died in a tragic car accident and had played all of his minor hockey in the Listowel area.  The Steve Kerr Memorial Complex replaced the venerable Listowel Memorial Arena.  In 1959, the roof of the arena collapsed and tragically killed eight people.  A movement remains in place to build a park with a proper memorial on the site of the former arena.


Food & Beverage 3

There is a concession stand inside the main lobby of the Steve Kerr Complex.  It offers a limited number of options including hot dogs, pizza, nachos, popcorn, coffee, apple cider, and tea.  Coca-Cola products can be found in vending machines around the complex.  The Blueline Room is on the upper level on the east side of the arena and offers beer and spirits that must be consumed inside the room.


Atmosphere 3

The Steve Kerr Memorial Complex has a bit of an inauspicious look from the exterior.  A simple, rectangular structure with lower brown and grey brick with upper off-white siding, the Kerr Complex is not by any definition unattractive, but will not wow anyone driving by.


Inside the main lobby, fans are met with a few temporary tables, the first of which is for purchasing tickets.  Other tables for Cyclones merchandise, program, and 50/50 draws are front and centre.  A bit of exploring can be done through the lobby, which is bright and clean and looks right onto the ice surface.  The donor display features an inscription and explanation about Steven Kerr and his importance to the arena. 


A large trophy case on the right side of the lobby is dedicated to the friends who were lost in the arena tragedy of 1959.  The case includes a large, beautiful piece of art with the visages of all seven of the children and one adult who perished in the accident.  Artifacts including skates, pennants, and hockey sticks can also be found in the case as well as how fans can make donations to the monument and park that is planned on the former site of the arena. 


Unfortunately, an opportunity is lost in the lobby, and the larger arena, as there is nothing to be seen about Cyclone Taylor.  This may normally be an acceptable oversight, but when the team is named after the Hall of Famer some acknowledgment is necessary.


Inside the seating area, the ice surface runs from west to east with seating on both the north and south sides of the ice.  Behind the elevated seating area with six rows of plastic arena seats is a walking track and railings perfect for standing, which is very popular in Listowel.  When choosing a seat, fans should be aware that tickets are partially general admission. 


Seats are reserved for season ticket holders and are marked with an ‘R’ sticker on the back.  The Blueline Room at the east end looks over the ice as well.  Championship banners for the 2018 Sutherland Cup as Junior B Champions, 2018 and 2017 Conference Championships, and the 2005 Cherrey Cup as Midwest Junior B Hockey League Champions, predating the reorganizing of Junior hockey, all hang in the west end.  In the northwest corner of the arena, at the track level is a mini-stick arena under the watchful eye of the honoured jersey of Dan Williams, a former Cyclone who passed away in 1999.


The memory of the 1959 arena collapse victims is further galvanized in the seating area with a large banner listing all of their names in the northeast corner of the arena.  The arena has a relatively low ceiling and low profile score clock hanging over center ice surrounded by youth hockey banners.


The gameday production at a Listowel Cyclones game is fairly simple.  Promotions include program raffles, 50/50 draw, and shootouts are staples at a Cycs game.  Music is played during down times and some songs that are of interest include “Rock You” by local legends Helix and the somewhat appropriate “Rock You Like A Hurricane.”



Neighbourhood 3

Listowel is a small town, which is part of the Municipality of North Perth.  The Steve Kerr Memorial Complex is located on the edge of town and looking for a place for a pre or post-game meal or drink will require a very short trip by car.  Fast food and chain restaurants are easily found in town.  Some more unique selections include Hom Restaurant and Roadhouse 23.


The Listowel Cyclones are the only game in town.  Fans looking for other sporting options at or above the Cyclones level will be required to head out of town.  Other tourist ideas in Listowel could include checking out Listowel Paddyfest, the largest St. Patrick’s Day festival in North America.  The Drayton Festival Theatre is found in the nearby village of Drayton.  Heading to the site of the original Listowel Memorial Arena is also worth a stop, more so when the park and memorial are completed.  Fans who wish to stay in Listowel can stay in the Listowel Country Inn.


Fans 4

The Listowel Cyclones enjoy strong support.  For the 2024 season, at the time of writing, they have averaged over 500 fans per game.  This is an increase from 355 fans in 2023.  In 2024 they are ranked 8th in the GOJHL in attendance, up from 14th.  The game that was reviewed saw more than 900 fans in attendance, nearly a capacity crowd.  Cyclone fans are typical Southern Ontario fans meaning they are generally quiet and get loud when there is something to get loud about.

 

Access 4

Listowel is located at the confluence of Highways 23 and 86 and the Steve Kerr Memorial Complex is located at the northwest edge of town.  Getting to the arena will not be difficult at all and traversing town is not difficult.  There is plenty of parking at the complex and it is free.  Fans who wish to take public transit to the game are out of luck, but this should not be surprising considering the size of the town.  Getting around the Steve Kerr Memorial Complex is not difficult at all and the washroom facilities are adequate for the arena.



Return on Investment 5

GOJHL hockey offers one of the best returns on investment that can be found anywhere.  Adult tickets are sold for $12, students/seniors are $10 and kids are $6.  Parking is free and the concession prices are about what one would expect.  The product on the ice is solid and the atmosphere that the Cyclones put together is great.  Overall, a Listowel Cyclones game offers great value and is a great activity for the entire family.


Extras 3

An extra mark for the hopefully future Listowel Memorial Arena Park which will be located at the site of the original arena and will provide a permanent memorial for those who perished in 1959.


An extra mark for the Listowel Cyclones being named after Frederick “Cyclone” Taylor.


An extra mark for Listowel being the home of Letterkenny crater Jared Keeso.


Final Thoughts

When in Ontario, taking in some Junior B hockey is a great way to get a sense of the province beyond just the big cities.  Listowel is one of the cornerstone franchises of the GOJHL and the Cyclones offer a terrific history.  The Steve Kerr Memorial Complex is a solid Junior B venue and a great place to catch a game.


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




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