Pioneer honoured with renaming ceremony for Grand Forks arena

Grand Forks Arena will now be known as Jack Goddard Memorial Arena after Saturday's ceremony.

Jack Goddard Jr. speaks at the renaming ceremony on Saturday. The ceremony saw the official changing of the name of the Grand Forks Arena to the Jack Goddard Memorial Arena.

The weather could not have been nicer on Saturday as friends and family of Jack Goddard gathered for the renaming ceremony at Grand Forks Arena which will now be known as Jack Goddard Memorial Arena.

Speaking at the event were Mayor Brian Taylor; Roly Russell, RDKB area D director; John Mackey, RDKB director of facilities; Michael Wirischagin, councillor and RDKB recreation commission vice-chair; and Jack Goddard Jr.

After the speeches and the official renaming by Mackey, the adult children of Goddard gathered to cut a celebratory cake.

Mackey told the Gazette that the Goddard family, Jack Jr. and his wife, approached the rec commission and made a presentation suggesting naming the arena after Jack Goddard.

“Right from the get-go, everyone that heard the presentation and was involved at any level thought it was a great idea,” said Mackey. “As Jack said during his speech, it went really quickly. It was approved at the November (2013) RDKB board meeting in Trail. With the mayor sitting at the table, and Roly speaking – it was unanimous at that as well.”

The RDKB already had a ceremony during the Old-Fashioned Christmas event in mid-December when the scoreboard with the new name was unveiled.

“Basically, it was the same presentation but on the ice,” said Mackey. “We’d just been waiting on the weather to get the awning stripped off and get it redone. We’re still waiting on the final sign for the other side of the building. I have to hand it to my crew, they got up a temporary sign so the family could see what it will look like.”

Jack Goddard, who passed away last year at 93 years-old, was a former Grand Forks mayor and councillor. He was instrumental in getting the arena built. He was very involved in all different sports and recreation.

“I was definitely honoured,” said Jack Jr. “When I came to Grand Forks a lot of people would ask me why there wasn’t anything named after my dad. Everyone thought of it but we never pushed. People were saying the arena should be named after him because that’s his biggest legacy.”

Jack Jr. said they started the process and were hopeful but didn’t think it happen so quickly.

“Everyone was just ecstatic about it,” he said. “A lot of people who didn’t know dad but knew about him (thought it was great). Of course, the ones who grew up with dad said it was the greatest thing that could happen in this town. It’s a great tribute for a person who did so much for the community. Obviously, the family is very honoured.”

Jack Jr. said it was great that so many family members were able to come out to the ceremony.

“Everyone was here,” he said. “His two sons and two daughters, all his grandchildren. It just worked out great. It was just super. It’s a great honour. Now everytime someone comes to town they’ll see his name and they’ll remember who dad was.”

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