Duchene mural joins Stackhouse, Nicholls on arena 0
Matt Duchene was honoured by Dysart et al township on the weekend with the unveiling of a mural at the Haliburton arena.
An image of Duchene, the Haliburton hockey phenom who just finished his first season with the Colorado Avalanche, now stands alongside murals of retired NHLers and West Guilford natives Ron Stackhouse and Bernie Nicholls on the side of the building.
Stackhouse and Nicholls were two of about 100 people who were outside the arena for an unveiling ceremony on the morning of June 19.
"I was really concerned they were going to paint his picture over top of mine," Stackhouse joked.
Dysart et al Reeve Murray welcomed the crowd to what he called a "very special occasion," and said that when Stackhouse and Nicholls made it to the NHL, "I thought it must be something in the water in West Guilford."
With the entrance of Duchene into the league, however, Fearrey said he knows that, "it's the family [spirit] and dedication of the community," that has allowed the county to produce such successful hockey players.
"Matt Duchene is the real deal," proclaimed retired NHLer-turned-Haliburton resident Walt McKechnie. "All I can say to you kids is dream big and your mural might be alongside these guys here."
A number of children, some wearing Avalanche gear, were at the ceremony.
Retiring Haliburton Highlands Secondary School principal spoke at length about Duchene, who played two seasons with the school's Red Hawks hockey team and who Brohman said embodied the school's motto of respect, commitment and responsibility.
"Excellence is about going the extra mile," he said. "That's a cliche, but you know what? Cliches are true."
Brohman said that when Duchene was a student at HHSS, any snow day would find him at the arena, practising.
"An ice day just meant no school and more hockey," he said. "The harder I work, the luckier I get."
While Brohman said he would have liked to take more credit for Duchene's rise into the majors, he gave praise there to Duchene's family, Red Hawks coach Ron Yake and Brampton Battalion coach Stan Butler, who was in the crowd.
Once the NHL's top referee and president of the Hockey Hall of Fame, now a county resident, Scotty Morrison also took the microphone.
Duchene is one of three players nominated for the Calder trophy, given each year to the league's top rookie player, and Morrison said Duchene deserved to take home the award.
"I'm really hoping those reporters get it right this time," he said.
The winners of the NHL's various annual awards are chosen by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.
"We're going to bring that trophy to Haliburton for everybody to see," Morrison said, to a round of applause.
Duchene has gained a reputation for being quiet, humble and down-to-earth, and his speech was true to form.
"It has been a dream and a goal of mine to be up there beside them," Duchene said of the murals of Stackhouse and Nicholls, that have inspired him since childhood. "I can only hope to have as great a career as theirs."
Duchene then thanked his family and the community.
"All the encouragement and support has meant so much to me," he said.
The mural of Duchene was done by artist Allen C. Hilgendorf, who also created the Stackhouse and Nicholls murals.
Saturday also saw Maarten Steinkamp open the Haliburton Hockey Hall of Fame on the ground floor of his McKecks The Blue Line restaurant.
Also announced was that Sellabration Publishing will be releasing a book on hockey in Haliburton, to be penned by Echo columnist Charlie Teljeur.
The book, tentatively titled There is Something About This Place, is to be released in February, with proceeds going towards children's hockey in Haliburton.