Inducted October 18, 2003

William F. Howell Family - Builder

In 1927, William F. Howell and his family, with occasional help from neighbours, built on their property at the top of Bond Street, Carbonear, an indoor rink known as the “Carbonear Rink”. The dimensions of the rink were 120′ x 50′ with a spectator capacity of about 150 people. This rink was financed by William F. Howell and operated by the Howell Family from 1927 to 1934. During this period, the people of Carbonear and surrounding towns used this rink for hockey at all levels of play. General skating was also very popular and on many occasions local musicians played their accordions for the skaters to skate to music. Later amplifiers and a record player were installed. On May 24, 1934, William F. Howell built a new rink, which was named the “Jubilee Rink”, commemorating the 25th Anniversary of King George V, as King of England and Ireland. “Jubilee Rink” was located off Water Street, Carbonear in the centre of town and its dimensions were 185′ x 55′ with an ice surface of 150′ x 50′. The rink had a round roof at its centre, it was 25′ high with the main entrance located at the South end of the building. It had a ticket office and two dressing rooms which were heated with “Pot Belly” stoves. The rink boasted an overhead seating gallery with standing room underneath it as well as standing room along the entire West side and the North end of the boards for spectators. A total capacity of 500 fans filled the rink many times to the “rafters”. On the East side was the “Players’ Boxes” and a “Penalty Box”. The rink had electricity with lighting over the ice surface and it was hooked on to the town water supply for flooding the ice. The ice making started in late December and continued until early April or as long as there was frost. The family spent many days and nights packing snow and flooding the ice surface to make the first ice for the start of hockey and general skating. At the end of each game or skating session, the ice surface was scraped by people commonly known as the “Rink Rats” (people who were given free lunches and passes to the rink) and then flooded by the “Howell Family”, sometimes until as late as midnight and 1:00 a.m. On December 11, 1934, the rink opened for “General Skating” and was officially opened a short time later with the “Howell Family” operating it until 1948. It was then sold to the Jubilee Rink Company of which Roy Howell was a share holder. It was later purchased and operated by the Carbonear Kiwanis Club until the 1956-57 hockey season ended, after which it was torn down. Indoor rinks were very rare in Newfoundland during this time and because these rinks were built, hockey flourished in Carbonear and the surrounding area. The “Jubilee Rink” was the scene for many hockey games from minor to school hockey, intermediate, regional, senior and commercial hockey as well as ice carnivals. Exhibition games were played against visiting teams from as far as Grand Falls and St. John’s. In the early 1950’s, “Pro Wrestling” was brought in, with “Gorgeous George” as a main attraction. In the mid 1930’s, the Carbonear Hockey Association hired former “Hockey Great” Tommy Williams from St. John’s to coach hockey at the junior and senior levels for one hockey season. At the same time they also hired a pro hockey player from PEI to give hockey instructions for one week. These instructors were paid by the Carbonear Hockey Association and the “Howell Family”. During their ownership of the rink, the “Howell Family” invited every visiting team to their home for a meal or lunch before the team went on the “road” to return home. The “Jubilee Rink” was a Community Centre for the young and old. People came for hockey practices, hockey games, skating and many groups used the facility for meetings. Members of the family played leadership roles in coaching, organizing and playing hockey over an extended period, which led into the sixties. Many good hockey players and hockey teams came out of the “Carbonear and Jubilee Rinks” at a time when thousands of Newfoundlanders were struggling to survive during and after The Great Depression. During this time the Howell Family was able to create a great community spirit when times were destitute and morale needed a boost.

While William F. Howell and his sons played a great part in the construction and operation of the two rinks, his daughters also played a part. The hockey uniforms for all the teams were all hand made and the daughters knit many of the hockey sweaters and socks, which were required each year. Everyone in the family did their best to ensure the success of every activity that went on in the two rinks.

The “Howell Family” must have truly loved sports, especially hockey and their community to have built and provided these ice rinks. The “Jubilee Rink” touched the very fibre of everyone’s life and strived to improve the betterment of the people in this area of Newfoundland and Labrador. Members of “The Howell Family” have been inducted into the Carbonear Sports Hall of Fame. As stated in the nomination, “these people were not only Builders and Operators, they were also Builders of Dreams and Aspirations for the young people of the community”.