A Clarkson Mosaic - page 180

Covered Rink.
Athletic Director Pete Dwyer unveiled plans a year before, in March 1937, to
raise money for the much-desired covered hockey rink. At a student convocation, he announced
that the students would not be taxed for the $25,000 needed for the structure, but rather that the
money would be raised by public subscription among the alumni and friends of Clarkson.
To help identify possible donors, each student was asked to submit one hundred names
and addresses of alumni, their friends, and friends of the school. A student committee was
appointed to help Dwyer raise the money: Stan Cartin (chairman), Dave Nelson, Len Dover, Ed
Fiesinger, Alf Gratton, and Frank Gutmann. As a start, the Ice Carnival Committee donated the
$400 surplus from the Ice Carnival. Rather than divide this surplus between the two schools, the
committee recognized that because Tech had donated the rink free of charge for the past seven
Carnivals, and had shouldered most of the work attached to staging the Carnival, Tech should
use the money toward the new rink.
On Christmas Eve, the new $25,000 hockey rink opened for public inspection, and was
used for its first game on January 2, 1939. Using seven one-piece arc-welded trusses to support
the roof, the rink also had special cinder blocks placed at both ends of the arena to preserve a
more constant temperature for the ice. Surrounded by seats for 1,500 people and an overall
capacity of 1,800, this concrete block structure sheltered an ice surface of 14,980 square feet,
183 feet long and 83 feet wide. Mrs. Murray Walker donated an official timing clock operated
from the timekeeper's table. Clarkson's enrollment of 582 in January 1939 made it the smallest
college in the United States boasting its own indoor hockey arena.
After the arena had been built but before artificial ice had been installed, the ice surface
was at the mercy of the elements. If the weather was warm, the surface was too poor to skate on
and games would have to be cancelled. At times when the situation looked "iffy," the arena
officials would make the spectators wait outside in the cold until two minutes before game
time. These officials did not want the ice surface damaged by the body heat of the spectators
any earlier than they had to. So the loyal fans would huddle outside clutching blankets and
thermos jugs and then race in and scramble to get good seats.
This arena was unique in that it had a surprising characteristic for a sports arena: it had
remarkably effective acoustic properties. Its acoustic were so good, in fact, that the concerts
sponsored by Potsdam State's Crane School's Spring Festival of the Arts would be held in the
arena rather than in Raymond Hall's auditorium. As a result, this hockey building has housed
some of the world's greatest conductors: Leopold Stokowski, Nadia Boulanger, Lucas Foss,
Robert Wagner, and others. Only after the Crane School opened its Hosmer Hall in the early
1970s was this use discontinued.
Artificial ice was installed in 1952, making skating possible from October to March. Its
use as a hockey arena ceased with the construction on the hill campus of the new arena in the
Cheel Center.
Barnet Played Prom.
Charlie Barnet and his famous orchestra were hired to play at the 1938
Junior Prom. Famous for playing from the Paramount Grill on CBS radio since 1933, Charlie
and his band had won nationwide acclaim. Ending the evening of March 12 with his rendition
Home Sweet Home
for the 200 couples attending the Prom, this saxophonist and his
orchestra provided a memorable evening for the members of the Class of 1939.
Flour Fight.
One phase of the initiation into the Clarkson Guard, honorary military fraternity,
was a flour fight staged on a Saturday afternoon early in April in the field at the rear of Old No.
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