By Craig Baird For the Pipestone Flyer
It was way back in 1925 when a one-sheet covered rink, with gunny sack windows, was built on the future site of the community hall. It was in this building that Millet would begin its curling experience.
The rink was quite amazing for its time. Located a few feet away from the well, the water was pumped in by hand and then flooded on an icy path from the well into the rink itself. At this point, a sleigh and barrel was used to transport the water from the well over to the rink along the ice path. The sheet was then covered to a depth of four inches with ice. The finishing coat for the rink was done in a very interesting way. The men from the rink would go to the creamery and get 14 eight-gallon cans of semi-warm water. These were then placed along the sidewalk at even intervals along the length of the rink. When the time was right, the cans were dumped at the same time so that the water found its level and provided the finishing coat for the ice.
Curling wasn’t just done at the rink, but also on Crooked Lake at times.
The rink would be used for the next 11 years with great success, but with a growing need for a new and larger rink, the move was made to buy land for the facility. This was done in 1933, with lumber purchased in 1935 and work begun by volunteers. Pete McDougall was the foreman of the construction. Thanks to the volunteer labour, the curling and skating rinks were paid for completely within three years. Sports carnivals, dances and more were used to raise the money to pay for everything. The rink also had advertising space on the east walls to raise extra money. During the summer months, a floor was built at the north end of the rink to allow for dances and musical concerts.
It was thanks to the rink that the team of John Barth, Ted Walker, Clarence Moen and Bob Hopkins would capture the provincial championship in 1945.
The rink was used for the next three decades, the rink would be used heavily but a powerful storm in 1968 destroyed the roof of the building. This left Millet without a curling rink for a time.
By 1975, a new recreational complex was built, and curling continued once more with great enthusiasm.
Suggestions for columns or questions? E-mail Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen to his podcast by searching for “Canadian History Ehx” on your podcast platform. Find his show on YouTube by searching for “Canadian History Ehx”.
Information for this column comes from Millet Volume 1.