Flooding doesn't stop Cougars from officially opening new stadium
The Cobequid Cougars officially opened James Macpherson Stadium Sunday after flooding at the stadium moved the ceremony to the cafeteria of the Nova Scotia Community College. Cougars captains, from left, Calder Saunders, Andrew Murphy, Nick Simpson, Chandler Jennings, Gab Bagnell and Brendan Collette and head coach Scott Annand, helped Macpherson's sisters Heidi Caldwell and Jenn Mongey, mother Mary-Lou Pye and father Ian Macpherson cut the ribbon. Submitted photo
TRURO - James Macpherson was always one to make the best of a bad situation.
So having a good chuckle and cracking a joke would likely have been his reaction to Sunday's events as the Cobequid Cougars tried in flood conditions to officially open their new $250,000 football stadium named in his honour.
Heavy rains early Sunday morning caused flooding all over Colchester County, including the stadium field, forcing the ceremony to be moved and the cancellation of the Cougars tilt with the Sir John A. Macdonald Flames. The flooding also caused the closure of several roads.
"He definitely had that character where he was always taking a bad situation and turning it into something positive," said Cougars head coach Scott Annand, who spearheaded the 18-month project at the Truro high school.
The ceremony, which was to be held at the stadium prior to the 1 p.m. kickoff, was moved to the Nova Scotia Community College cafeteria after town officials asked the party goers to evacuate the stadium at 11 a.m. as waters overflowed the Salmon River at several locations where the dikes along its banks were breached in a major flood two weeks ago.
The game had been cancelled several hours earlier due to the heavy rain and safety concerns for the players.
The Cougars coaching staff, players and alumni and Macpherson's family, friends and financial backers of the project packed up everything and moved the ceremony.
"It was totally amazing how we packed up everything, food for 50 people, and got it all set back up before noon," Annand said. "Everyone just made it happen."
Once everything was set up at the community college, brunch was served before several speeches were made and an official ribbon cutting ceremony.
Annand said he was happy the festivities went on, but was disappointed they couldn't be held at the stadium, which features new aluminum bleachers to seat 1,000, a locker room, players lounge, press box, offices and a new scoreboard, making it one of the premier high school football venues in the country.
"It was disappointing because everyone didn't get to see what a special thing we've created," Annand said. "We've done something very special but it still turned out to be a special celebration...unique let's say."