Alex

Brantford Alexanders

Arena Name: Brantford Civic Centre
Capacity: 2,981
Built: 1967
Last Game: 1984
Address: 69-79 Market Street S. Brantford, ON, N3S 2E4
Telephone No: (519) 752-6541
Ice Surface Size: 190' X 85'
Official Website: http://www.city.brantford.on.ca/civiccentre/
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OHL
Brantford Civic Centre
Brantford Civic Centre
What was the Arena Like?
Back in the 1970's, Brantford seemed to be the OHL's Next Big Thing. A relatively new downtown arena had opened in the city not too long before, and teams seemed to be vying with each other to give the city a try. In fact, the Toronto Marlboros played numerous home games out of the building when Maple Leaf Gardens was over-booked with other events. Yet when the former Hamilton Fincups finally moved in and gave the Telephone City a try, low attendance and financial struggles were the norm for a remarkably successful team, and so they de-camped after only six years. Brantford is still waiting for a second chance at the OHL, something that seems less and less likely now.

The Brantford Civic Centre is a great big yellow building set on parkland on the edge of Brantford's depressed downtown. From the outside it stands out from a distance and its bulk looks massive on open land. The Civic Centre was a Centennial project and is one of the Sixtiest buildings I think I've ever seen. Everything about it screams its age. Pale yellow aluminum siding is the building material of choice, and the city's coat of arms on the front is virtually the only decoration. There is a small office set off to one side along with a community centre-type room but the main entrance is still some solid wooden front doors leading directly into the arena, the way it should be.

Inside, the Civic Centre wears its middle age poorly. It doesn't appear to have been very well-kept and there are cracked ceiling tiles and poor lighting in the office entrance. Still, upon entering into the arena bowl all that is forgotten. The seats, magnificent in red, blue and gold, are 35-year-old originals but look fantastic, and the arena looks much larger than its 3,000 seats. The seating area extends all around the ice and the layout is a standard "four corner" design with stairs leading to an upper concourse. The Civic Centre is strikingly similar to other 1960's rinks such as the old Oshawa Civic Auditorium and London Gardens. There are banners from various Brantford hockey teams and memorabilia all over the place. The best, though, was finding that the old Alexanders' team photos were still on the walls, showcasing the old team. The Alexanders were surprisingly good in their brief Brantford run and future NHLers like Ric Natress, Allen Bester, Dave Gagner and Mark Hunter can be found in the team photos.

No one today thinks of Brantford as the Next Big Thing. The economically-depressed city is probably too small and too close to other OHL cities to be seriously considered. Yet the Civic Centre soldiers on as a Junior B rink, with signs of its former glory still visible on the walls, and one can see the reason it was so attractive to outside interests once upon a time - it's one of southern Ontario's largest rinks without an OHL team, and with a few renovations, it could be brought up to code again in the unlikely event that demand should ever warrant it.
Arena History
There is an arena history at http://www.city.brantford.on.ca.

How To Get There

From Hwy. 403: Exit at Paris Rd. Go south on Paris Rd. to Icomm Dr. and turn left. Take Icomm to Market St. Turn right on Market and follow it to the Brantford Civic Centre. The arena is a big yellow building on the right side of the road beside the casino.
Inside the Brantford Civic Centre
Brantford Civic Centre
What's It Used for Today?
The Brantford Alexanders were a short-lived OHL team, lasting from 1978-84. Originally located in Hamilton, the team enjoyed moderate success on the ice in Brantford, but Brantford is small and the Alexanders eventually moved back to Hamilton to become the Steelhawks, and then to Niagara Falls to become the Thunder. They are today the Erie Otters. The Civic Centre is still used in Brantford for all levels of hockey, the top ones being the Brantford Blast Senior "A" team, and the Brantford Golden Eagles, who play in the Mid-Western Junior "B" league. Civic Centre-based teams also won the Allan Cup in 1977 and 1987, and the arena has also hosted NHL training camps in the past as well.

Brantford Civic Centre was also used on occasion in the mid-1970's by (of all teams) the Toronto Marlboros, who played occasional home games in Brantford due to the 1970's busyness of Maple Leaf Gardens between the Leafs and the WHA's Toronto Toros.

Feedback

If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at email and I'll update the guide.


 

 


Copyright Kevin Jordan 2002-09.
All rights reserved.
Last Revised: March 12, 2009