More than just memories
I can still feel the special memories of Friday nights watching the Rangers with my dad. They were my heroes. Growing up on Edmund Road, I walked past The Aud to and from Sheppard School. After School I couldn't wait to go in and watch the Rangers practice. Seeing them up close, getting to talk to them, having them flip you a puck or give you a broken stick was so special. As a kid my favourite player was Jack Egers. He'd talk to me after practice and even bought me hockey cards. In those days, my minor hockey games were early on Saturday morning at the Annex. After my game, my dad would drive me home and I'd grab my skates and walk back to The Aud and join my friends for the free skating session. It was so cool skating on the same ice the Rangers were on the night before. Right after the public skate, the Rangers practiced so I stuck around for that. I remember one practice where after a loss the night before, the coach Eddie Bush looked up to me and said, come down here young man. I thought I was in trouble for something. All the players were gathered around the bench and he points to me and says, If you have the puck and you see a player with the goalie down and an open net what would you do? I nervously said, pass him the puck. Eddie turned to the players and said even this kid knows what to do, why didn't you do that last night.
After watching so many games over the years, being asked to be the Rangers PA announcer in 1995 was a huge honour. I feel so blessed and proud to have a small part in the Rangers game night presentation. The feeling of announcing a Rangers goal to 7,000 plus fans cheering that player is such a thrill. I always think of Don Cameron when I think of the Rangers. His play by play of the games over the years helped us "see" games. It was always great seeing him at the games. I think his spirit is present at every game.
The Rangers and The Aud are the perfect match. The Rangers are The Aud and The Aud is the Rangers, but The Aud is more than just the Rangers. The Aud enhances whatever is happening in it. Over the years events like concerts, Ice Capades, The Harlem Globetrotters, wrestling, international hockey, The Memorial Cups, curling championships, religious events, trade shows, WE Day, the Central Ontario Exhibition have all had a home at The Aud. It's a special place where so many memories and special moments have been made. It's even more special because it's a Living Memorial to those who gave us our freedom and those who keep the peace and preserve freedom. If you've experienced a Rangers Remembrance Day Ceremony, you know how treasured, special and meaningful that connection is.
Happy 70th Kitchener Memorial Auditorium. - Dave Schnider