A small volunteer army descended on the concrete Carney Street lacrosse box Saturday morning.
They got their hands on paint rollers and brushes, swept up garbage and cleared weeds out of the cracks and somewhere up above, the man they called Moose was probably smiling.
The future site of Glen ‘Moose’ Scott Memorial Arena is being spruced up with the fresh coat of paint and a new fence to try to restore the outdoor box to its former glory. Chris Scott, the son of the local lacrosse legend, predicts it won’t be long before the concrete structure at the corner of Carney Street and Massey Drive is being used again for lacrosse, roller skating roller/ball hockey and maybe even ice hockey.
“It’s been dormant for a long time,” said Chris Scott. “We haven’t used it in here for a good two or three years. But now with the painting and the fencing, and the work the city’s done on the benches to change all the hinges and locks, it will be like it was 20 years ago.
“We’re not charging fees to use it this year, we just want people to get back out and just get this facility used again,” he said.
The project was made possible through donations from Victory Paint and Mercantile, which supplied the paint, and Bulldog Fencing, which is replacing the wire mesh fencing. Staff from the City of Prince George have been closely with Scott to make it happen and some of the costs are being covered by the Prince George Senior Lacrosse Association.
“We’ve got a lot of volunteers from different teams and we have a couple guys here who don’t play lacrosse,” said Scott, now in his fourth year as PGSLA chair. “They saw the shout-out on Facebook and are just stepping up to help.”
Nearly 27 years have gone by since Glen Scott and the Prince George Masters Lacrosse Association unveiled their original renovation project. The Carney Street facility was one of five lacrosse boxes the city had in the mid-1970s, when lacrosse was one of the more popular spring and summer sports. After decades of use for lacrosse and ball hockey and as an outdoor hockey rink, the splintered painted green boards had become a safety hazard in 1994 when the masters decided to revamp the rink. They raised nearly $100,000 to replace the floor, walls and players’ benches with concrete and put up a wire mesh fence around the rink with high netting behind each goal to keep wayward shots in the playing area.
Teams in the Prince George Senior Lacrosse Association and Prince George Minor Lacrosse Association used the Carney Street box for practices and the odd pickup game and roller/ball hockey players played pickup games there but the rink was never flooded and for the past decade has only rarely been used and it was showing signs of neglect.
Moose always envisioned year-round use for the box and was trying to convince more sporting organizations to take advantage of it. In an Oct. 20, 2013 Citizen article, he longed for a return to its former glory as a hub of sports activity..
"Not everybody wants to go into the indoor arenas and pay the user fees, why can't we have an outdoor arena that everybody could use for free, and have it open for families?" said Scott.
"Kids should be able to go in there like they do on the tennis courts, just shooting the puck and having a good time. In the spring or the summer, you could have people throwing or batting a ball around until the fields are open. In the winter, you could have a burger and hot chocolate night and have people flood it and put some ice on it. The time has come to try to do something with that lacrosse box."
Moose suggested the rink should have a roof to make it more weather-proof but it never happened and the Carney Street box became one of the city’s most underutilized sports facilities.
But that’s about to change. Chris Scott is now accepting requests from youth and adult sports organizations to book times to use it, and they won’t have to pay for that privilege. He knows minor lacrosse and senior lacrosse players are looking for a place to play after having had their seasons scuttled again by the pandemic.
“If you have a lacrosse box open again they’re going to come – we should be back in here next weekend,” he said.
“It’s too late to save the senior lacrosse season in Kin 1 and the Coliseum (Rolling Mix Concrete Arena), where we usually play. There won’t be any league-sanctioned games but I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re driving by the lacrosse box and see two teams going at it. Guys will throw their sticks in the middle to have a fun game now that we do that again.”
COVID restrictions have been lifted to allow as many as 50 players around the rink and the province is on track in July to allow spectators again in a limited capacity. Scott is looking for a way to scuff up the smooth concrete floor slightly so it’s not so slippery for runners when they step on dusty areas.
For the lacrosse box to be used for hockey and skating again Scott said it’s likely that boards would have to be built within the existing structure to keep the concrete from cracking. He knows it would get well-used.
“To flood this and have this as an ice surface would be insane,” said Scott. “The city could roll a Zamboni out through the doors. There’s a lot of plans moving forward and I’m definitely open to ideas.
“This is not just a lacrosse box, I want the whole community to be able to use it, whether they’re roller skating in it, skateboarding in it, hockey or lacrosse, whatever you want to do.”
Moose died Feb. 20 at age 75 after an extended battle with cancer. As the founding commissioner of the PGSLA he spearheaded the revival of senior lacrosse in the city in 1991 and held the position until Chris took over the league in 2018. The sign for Glen ‘Moose’ Scott Memorial Lacrosse Box won’t likely be made this year but it is in the works.
“This whole arena was Glen’s passion and I’m really proud everybody has come out to be able to support him in this,” said his widow, Pat Scott, who was out painting the rink with her kids, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“This is open to everybody, the younger kids, the seniors, it’s such a community venue and it hasn’t been used in years, and that was one of Glen’s passions, to get it useable again. Lacrosse was a lifelong thing for him.”