By Lyle Carter
It was July 20, 1983 that Randy Webb became manager of the West Colchester United Arena.
Randy Webb says he has met many nice people through his job as manager of the West Colchester United Arena in Debert.
As a 31-year milestone fast approaches, Webb reflected back on his time at the Debert arena.
"Up until being hired I didn't have any experience managing a hockey rink," Webb, 60, of Debert, said. "That was a concern at the time. But, I guess I was young enough then to try just about anything that came along."
Webb was 29 years old at the time and had worked in construction for 10 years prior to being hired to run the rink.
"My son Mark was only five when I took this job," Webb said. "My daughter Michelle was also quite young. They are both up in their 30s now."
Webb said he has enjoyed the challenges of his job, and wouldn't trade any of it.
"It has been a challenge managing a rink all these years," he said. "But, I've enjoyed every minute of it. It's hard to believe how the years have flown by. Last summer I was golfing with an older guy and he said to me, ‘You know something Randy, one day you're young and the next day you're old.' What he said is kind of true in a way."
Webb's career has kept him close to sports.
"That is another part as to my enjoying coming to work every day. I really enjoy seeing young kids four and five starting out in hockey. In the beginning they can hardly skate but before long they're zipping around the ice. Over the years, I've met a lot of nice people and hockey players here at the rink. Teams come here from all over the province. It's surprising the nice people I've met through being the arena manager."
Webb was also a coach with the West Colchester Minor Hockey Association for more then 20 years.
"I enjoyed coaching and helping out with minor hockey. It's funny but some of the kids I coached are now playing oldtimer hockey and their kids are now playing. Mark played minor hockey when I coached, Michelle was involved in figure skating. Outside of my job managing I would be at the rink a lot coaching and with the kids. My wife Donna and I enjoyed seeing Mark and Michelle involved."
In 1988, the West Colchester Minor Hockey Association executive paid tribute to Webb for his contributions to minor hockey.
Webb said there have been many changes in hockey in recent years.
"The coaches are so much better trained and qualified now," he said. "Each team usually has more coaches behind the bench than in earlier years. You don't see a team with just one coach or a head coach and an assistant coach these days. There can be three or four coaches behind the bench.
"The equipment has certainly improved a lot. The gear is more protective, lighter and more colorful compared to 25 to 30 years ago. The players now use expensive, one-piece composite hockey sticks."
Webb said he always had a great staff to work with and credited his his arena co-workers.
"I feel fortunate in having a great staff working with me," Webb said. "Tim Alexander has been here 25 years and Gordon Wilson 15 years. They both take great pride in their jobs. I'm lucky to have Tim and Gordon. They certainly make my job easier."
Webb also complimented the Municipality of The County of Colchester.
"The municipality coming on board these past few years has made a huge difference," he said. "The municipality has played a big part in keeping the arena in good shape. Their involvement helps keep the arena affordable for people to use."
Still enjoying his career as manager of the West Colchester United Arena, Webb said he plans to continue on.
The arena opens in early October each year and runs until late March.
Lyle Carter's sports column appears every Saturday in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 673-2857.