TRURO - Joe Rector knows precisely what type of emotion will overcome him on Saturday when he works his final security shift at the Colchester Legion Stadium.
"It's gonna be real sad because I've met a lot of nice people," said the affable Rector, who pauses for a few brief seconds before grinning and adding, "I've met the odd one that wanted to tear my head off too, but I was never much good at backing down, so that didn't happen."
It's that humour, along with his charm and ability to interact so graciously with people, that makes Rector a likeable man by many and most who have come in contact with the 81-year-old during a lengthy security career at the old Truro arena.
After 46 years, Rector decided he would officially retire from security work at the stadium when the junior A Bearcats move into their new home. The Bearcats play their final game at the stadium Saturday night and will move into the Rath EastLink Community Centre on March 2.
Rector, who worked as a cook at the old Colchester County Correctional Centre for 26 years, was first asked to perform security duty at the stadium by his friend Max Ramsay. The following year, he was in charge of security staff at the arena.
"I used to get a lot of the guys from up at the jail to work with me," Rector said. "And one is still here – Wayne Gosby."
Rector, an Onslow resident, has worked many events over the years, including hockey games, dances and home shows to name a few, and is most proud of his attendance record at junior hockey games.
"I think I only missed the one Saturday night," he said. "My brother-in-law had an anniversary."
Rector said his ability to reason with people in a calm manner as opposed to being confrontational has been key in his role. He said the most trouble he experienced from others was alcohol related, however, his people skills allowed him to diffuse most situations without incident.
"The way I mostly done it – and they all didn't do it this way – but if you had a (liquor) bottle, I said, ‘You want this bottle, you come and see me after and I'll give it to you,' and that would have been it. That's the way I done it, but some of them just up and took it."
Gosby said Rector has been a good man to work for over the years.
"We got along well and we worked great together," he said. "He was the driver and I was shotgun, so we took the orders from him and over the years he did a good job. He prevented a lot of problems that could have happened by using common sense. Common sense played a lot in it and Joe used it."
Kenny VanBuskirk has worked security at the stadium for the past 21 years, and has learned the tricks of the trade from Rector.
"He taught me a lot, he taught me everything I know down there," said VanBuskirk, who will succeed Rector as head of security at the new arena. "He's done a lot of good for everybody, actually.
"I've learned from him – how to work a crowd or just how to talk to people ... he taught me a lot about situations you can get into and how to use your head to get out of them. So it made me a better person, not just down there (at the rink), but in general."
Rector said his wife Marion has been his biggest supporter over the years, and the fact that she was a hockey fan herself and enjoyed attending games made it easier for him to spend so many hours at the rink.
There was one time, however, when Marion's presence at the stadium landed Joe in hot water.
"I remember in (public) skating down here one night my son got into a fight. I never interfered, and I got an awful lashing from my wife for letting that go when I could have stopped it," he laughed. "She wasn't too happy."
Rector is likely to receive his fair share of warm smiles, handshakes and congratulations during his swan song on Saturday. And while he admits it won't be easy to walk away, he feels the time is right.
"It's up to me to leave," he said. "I feel I've done my job. If I hadn't, I would have been out of here a long time ago."
Name: Joe Rector
Family: Wife: Marion; children: Terry, Cheryl, Leonard, Steve.
Hobbies: Golf, pool.
End of the line: After 46 years as a security officer at the Colchester Legion Stadium, Rector will retire following Saturday's junior A hockey game.
Quote: "It's time to move on. I'm gonna miss the people. There's a friendly bunch of people in this town." - Joe Rector.