BY SCOTT HUNTER HADDOW
Twenty-five years ago Bobby Orr retired from hockey and left a lasting legacy, which was celebrated with the grand opening of the Bobby Orr Museum in Parry Sound.
People came from all over North America to get a glimpse of their cherished hockey star last Friday.
The museum is part of the $12.4-million Charles W. Stockey Centre located on 3.5 acres of land overlooking the Big Sound on Georgian Bay.
By 10 am the crowds were already enormous and filled with anticipation of the grand opening gala event, which featured Orr and Hockey Night In Canada legends Don Cherry and Ron MacLean.
Fans waited eagerly outside the world class building for the 1 pm official opening.
Mike Gilbert drove up from Detroit to see the museum.
Â?IÂ?m a life-long fan and even though I grew up in Detroit I still recognized Orr as the best hockey player ever,Â? said Gilbert. Â?ItÂ?s gorgeous up here and I will be back.Â?
Ultimate fan, Phil Payne came from Cambridge to see the museum.
Â?I bleed black and gold,Â? said Payne . Â?I have been a life-long fan of Orr and the Boston Bruins.Â?
Payne even constructed his own personal shrine.
Â?Thirteen years ago I built a bar in my house and painted everything black and gold. I put up eight BruinsÂ? jerseys and I have Orr memorabilia on the walls,Â? said Payne. Â?I built it as a shrine.Â?
For Orr, it was an incredible time.
Â?IÂ?ve been on championship teams, played for Canada and won some awards, but when youÂ?re recognized at home, I donÂ?t think thereÂ?s any greater honour,Â? said Orr. Â?IÂ?m obviously thrilled.Â?
The acknowledgment was more than a dream come true for Orr.
Â?I played right out here on the Bay for years,Â? said Orr. Â?My dream was to play in the NHL, but I never dreamed I would see something like this.Â?
Â?Orr was the greatest player and he changed the game. ThereÂ?s not too many guys who can say that,Â? said Canadian hockey icon Don Cherry. Â?Before Bobby, defencemen used to stay back and bash and smash.Â?
The game today would be a lot different if Orr never played hockey.
Â?There wouldnÂ?t be guys like Paul Coffey or Scott Neidermeyer because he opened the game up for guys like that,Â? said Cherry. Â?He was also a complete hockey player in the sense he scored goals, made assists, hit, fought and blocked shots.Â?
Orr makes a great role model for all Canadians, young and old.
Â?Bobby knew what it meant to have a great work ethic, but he was really unselfish which makes him a great role model for everyone,Â? said HNIC host Ron MacLean. Â?He is a super person.Â?
The Charles W. Stockey Centre, where the museum is located means a great deal to the town of Parry Sound.
Â?The whole centre adds another dimension to the town and gives another great reason for people to come to Parry Sound,Â? said mayor Ted Knight. Â?It has taken a lot of work and vision.Â?
The centre is a marvellous achievement.
Â?The Charles W. Stockey Centre also includes a performance centre which will be used during the Festival of the Sound and other special events.
Â?I would match it up against anything in Toronto,Â? said Knight.
ItÂ?s exactly what Parry Sound needs.
Â?We need to build things like this to bring people to the north and keep them here,Â? said Knight. Â?This just adds to the quality of life.Â?
Scott Hunter Haddow has more about meeting his heroes <<click here>>