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  • Writer's pictureDave Cottenie

Tony Rose Memorial Sports Centre - Orangeville Northmen

Photos by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57

Tony Rose Memorial Sports Centre

6 Northmen Way

Orangeville, ON L9W 3B2

Year Opened: 1975

Capacity: 1,050

Rose of Orange

With a mere population of 28,000, the Town of Orangeville has a significant sports legacy. The Orangeville Prep Basketball Academy counts Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets, along with Edge and Christian (Adam Copeland and Jay Reso) of professional wrestling fame along its alumni. Despite these famous residents, Orangeville is essentially a lacrosse town.

Orangeville offers among the most in-depth lacrosse programs in Ontario and fields three teams at the junior level with the Orangeville Northmen of the OJLL at the top of the chain. Few centres offer both Junior A and Junior B teams, but Orangeville offers Junior A, Junior B, and Junior C teams. Those who play Junior A lacrosse for the Northmen hope to translate their success on the floor to opportunities in the NCAA or the professional National Lacrosse League. Orangeville Northmen alumni include Pat Coyle, Josh and Phil Sanderson, Brodie Merrill, Mike Poulin, and current General Manager Nick Rose. All have or are currently playing in the NLL.

Home for the Northmen is the Tony Rose Memorial Sports Centre. Named after the father of GM and Toronto Rock goaltender Nick Rose, the Tony Rose offers seating for 1,050 in the main arena and a classic lacrosse environment. Tony Rose was a member of the Northmen in the eighties and was a member of Senior B championship teams. He was a promoter of local lacrosse and died in a car accident in 1990.

Food & Beverage 3

The Tony Rose Memorial Sports Centre has a fairly typical concession scene for Junior A lacrosse. A single snack bar-style concession is found in the lobby and offers all of the expected arena delicacies. French fries, poutine, hot dogs, popcorn, candy, muffins, freezies, and chips are all available. Vending machines opposite the concession offer soft drinks. Inside the main arena, a small selection of beer and seltzer can be found.

Atmosphere 3

The Tony Rose Memorial Sports Centre functions as a typical town community centre. The exterior is a mix of both modern and dated looks for the two-pad complex. The main entrance off of Northern Way features a mix of light brick which gives it a clean, attractive look. “The Torchbearer” and “Mr. Lacrosse,” wooden sculptures which are part of the Orangeville Art Walk of Tree Sculptures, welcome sports fans heading to the game. Mr. Lacrosse is a tribute to Orangeville lacrosse legend, the late Terry Sanderson.

Inside, fans will enter a small lobby before heading into the main arena. In the lobby, there is a display for Tony Rose including his stick and jersey. Inside the main arena, fans are greeted by volunteers at temporary tables for ticket sales, raffles, and merchandise sales.

The floor runs from north to south and offers 10 rows of step bench seating on the west side. On the north end of the arena is a trophy case that lacrosse fans should check out as there are a ton of accolades and awards for the Northmen. In the northeast corner, around what could be the operations window, hang the six Minto Cup Championship banners signifying the highest honour possible in junior lacrosse, the national championship. (1993, 1995, 1996, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2015) .

The north wall also offers some nice touches including a large banner signifying the retired number 19 for Terry Sanderson. To the left there is also a large, touching, “In Memoriam” banner with the initials of those Northmen who have passed. The nod to Northmen history and accomplishments continues with a trophy case with artifacts for former Team Canada player, Chris Sanderson and painted championship rosters for Northmen Ontario Senior Champions from the eighties.

The eastern wall is littered with youth box and field lacrosse championship banners. The simple hockey-style scoreboard is found on the south end. The playing surface is polished concrete and does have a centre floor logo, to further personalize the venue.

The gameday production is very simple with some music played during down times and a 50/50 draw is at the centre of the promotions. The PA system is poor and it is difficult to understand the announcements that are being made much of the time.

Neighbourhood 3

Tony Rose Memorial Sports Centre is located in the town of Orangeville, which is not huge. Orangeville is located northwest of Brampton and west of Highway 10. There is not much in the way of pre or post-game spots for food and drink in the residential area surrounding the arena, so fans should head south to Broadway for more options.

Bluebird Cafe, Rustik Local Bistro, Black Wolf Smokehouse, and Hockley Valley Brewing are some options fans may wish to check out. There is not much in the way of other sports in the immediate area, however, Orangeville being such a lacrosse hotbed, the Junior B or Junior C Orangeville Northmen may be of interest. For other entertainment options, Theatre Orangeville may be of interest and the Walk of Tree Sculptures are worth checking out. For fans wishing to stay in the area, the Best Western on Highway 10 is a good option.

Fans 4

Assessing fans in the OJLL is difficult as the attendance figures are not published. The game that was reviewed was also part of the OJLL Finals series. That being said, the Orangeville Northmen enjoy a strong support network. The game that was reviewed involved a standing-room-only crowd. The fans in attendance are loud and supportive and even take their support to the next level with college hockey-type chants after goals.

Access 4

The Tony Rose Memorial Sports Centre is located in central Orangeville. It is located west of Highway 10, the main artery in town. Getting to the arena will require going through town, which is not a big deal. For fans wishing to take public transit to the game, there is a bus stop right across the road from the arena. Fans should consult the Orangeville Transit website for fares, schedules, and maps. The Tony Rose facilities are fairly tight when there is a big crowd, and feature benches that are not the most comfortable, and there is no air conditioning making it pretty hot during the summer months.

Return on Investment 5

Orangeville Northmen and OJLL lacrosse offer tremendous value for a very small investment. Tickets for the Northmen are $10, parking is free and concession offerings offer a decent price. The lacrosse on the floor is fast and pure without too much production. In the end, this all adds up to a tremendous return for a minimal investment.

Extras 3

An extra mark for the strong community connection that Orangeville has with the sport of lacrosse.

An extra mark for Northmen GM Nick Rose, who not only is the goaltender for the Toronto Rock but also the son of Orangeville legend Tony Rose.

An extra mark for the massive Orangeville Northmen alumni including Nick Rose, Phil Sanderson, Josh Sanderson, Mike Poulin, Pat Coyle, and Brodie Merrill to name a few. All have had significant careers in the National Lacrosse League.

Final Thoughts

Orangeville and lacrosse go together like peanut butter and jelly and the Orangeville Northmen are the main attraction for the town. For lacrosse fans, a trip to see the Orangeville Northmen will be an experience that will be worth the time, and checking out all the lacrosse artifacts and history at the Tony Rose Memorial Sports Centre will be worth it.


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

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