Skip to content

George Armstrong proposed as Garson arena’s new namesake

George Armstrong was a Hockey Hall of Fame forward and Toronto Maple Leafs captain whose team won four Stanley Cup championships in the ’60s
George Armstrong raises his hands in the air on Oct. 15, 2016, the night the Toronto Maple Leafs retired his number.

A formal proposal has been submitted to have the Garson Community Centre and Arena named after the late NHL star George Armstrong.

The centre’s current name is “generic,” according to a nomination form submitted by the Nickel Centre Minor Hockey Association, which has proposed the new name, George Armstrong Arena and Community Centre.

“In the spirit of Indigenous culture and recognition” in the City of Greater Sudbury, “and due to the fact that George Armstrong had an incredible career as a professional hockey player of Indigenous descent,” they said the centre should be renamed after him.

Armstrong was a resident of the Greater Sudbury area, and is a “role model to all children, but more so for children of Indigenous descent,” according to the nomination form, which also notes that Armstrong’s NHL banner hangs in his hometown arena.

The hockey legend died on Jan. 24, 2021, at the age of 90, prompting several waves of memorials.

“Hockey Hall of Famer, Stanley Cup Champion, Captain, Coach, Executive, and Leader, are just some of the many ways to describe George's incredible hockey legacy and why the banner of the local legend is proudly on display in the Garson Arena,” then-mayor Brian Bigger said at the time, at which time flags were lowered at half-mast in Armstrong’s honour.

“He didn’t like the spotlight,” Armstrong’s nephew, Greg McCourt, told during a skate in Armstrong’s honour on Jan. 24, 2021. “He always took it as a team sport. It wasn’t just him. It was a whole team that did it … He never took it all for himself. It was always shared.”

Born in Skead in 1930, Armstrong lived his childhood and early teens in Falconbridge with his mother, an Algonquin woman, and his father, an Irishman who worked at the mine.

He signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1946, and played 21 seasons with the team. His career included 12 seasons as team captain, four Stanley Cup victories and the final goal of the Original Six era in the final game of the historic series. He followed his playing career as a coach.

Whether the Garson Community Centre and Arena is re-named is ultimately up to city council.

One point of confusion flagged thus far, according to a report by city Leisure Services director Jeff Pafford, is that people might mistake it for the existing Howard Armstrong Recreation Centre. However, with one an arena/community centre and the other a pool/recreation centre, he said confusion should be minimal.

The city is expected to undertake a consultation effort, which will include a public meeting. This will be followed by a report to city council with options and a recommendation.

Pafford’s report, which outlines the process it will take to rename the Garson Community Centre and Arena, will be presented to city council during their April 17 community and emergency services committee meeting. The meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m. and can be viewed in-person at Tom Davies Square or livestreamed by clicking here.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for


Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.

Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
Read more