CORNER BROOK The George (Daddy) Dawe Memorial Pitch has been the home of the Curling Rangers for many memorable men’s soccer games and players consider it the city’s best playing surface with natural grass.
The disappointing news for the boys from Curling and the Corner Brook Men’s Senior Soccer League as a whole is that the historic venue won’t be used for local play anytime soon.
“To just have it there and not use it would be a shame I think,” men’s league president Cory Mosher said.
Mosher is disappointed that a venue with a rich history no longer appears a piece of the future. What really upsets Mosher, who grew up in Curling and heard so many stories about the Rangers as a youngster, is that he says he has not been provided an explanation as to what the future holds for the venue.
The Rangers were supposed to play the Under-18s in a regular season contest Wednesday night at the storied pitch. However, the league was informed Monday the field could not be used for senior play and that another venue would have to be found.
The Corner Brook Soccer Association has a facilities committee consisting of Brian Woolfrey, Doug Sweetapple and chairperson John Andrews, who act as liaison with the city and make decisions on things like cancelling games if conditions aren’t safe. Woolfrey informed Mosher of the decision.
That’s just not good enough for Mosher, he says, because it’s frustrating to run a league when the city has all the say on what pitches are open and which ones remain closed.
According to Mosher, the grass is mowed on a regular basis, but there are no lines painted and no mesh on the nets. He can’t fathom why money is being spent on the pitch on a regular basis when it’s not being used.
“We weren’t told anything,” he said.
“We don’t know anything that’s going on. We had the field good to go on Wednesday and all of a sudden on Monday they tell us they’re not going to line it. So then we had to scramble around and tell the teams, and get referees to show up at the other field.”
He said a lot of former Rangers, including his grandfather Jim Wells, raised a lot of money to help build the pitch and he wants to see the rich history of the venue kept alive.
“There’s a lot of history on that field,” he said. “The Curling Rangers won 22 straight championships on that field.”
Mosher would like representatives of all city soccer leagues to have an opportunity to sit down with the city to discuss their concerns.
“They should at least meet with us and hear our concerns and why we want to keep the field,” he said.
Andrews, meanwhile, said Mosher was aware of the status of Dawe for this summer long before Monday because the matter was discussed with him after the city brought it to his committee’s attention.
Problems surfaced at Dawe a few years ago whereby for two years in succession no games could be played on the pitch until mid-July because it was water logged.
“Even if you go down now and walk on it first it feels nice and dry and it looks beautiful, but as you go down to the far end there’s still water being trapped on the field so you will just tear the crap out of it,” Andrews said.
The city, says Andrews, informed his committee it decided to close Dawe and allow soccer to continue on the other pitches until it figures out a long-term plan. He said everything from the feasibility of a capital investment in Dawe, using it for another use or closing another venue were all options available, but the city wasn’t sure of what it was going to do at that point.
Andrews says the men’s league had games slotted on the schedule for Dawe after knowing that the plan was to keep it closed.
“I’m not casting blame on anybody,” he said. “I’m just saying that everybody sort of knew. Whether or not they really wanted to think about it or not is another story.”
Gerry Cole, recreation liasion for the City of Corner Brook, was unable to be reached as of press time.