GTHL Alumni Paul Coffey earned four Stanley Cups during his Hall of Fame career.
Courtesy of Hockey Now
Paul Coffey’s hockey playing days may be long gone – but he doesn’t need anyone to remind him of it.
“I was leaving the house tonight and I was putting my son’s hockey bag in the back of the car,” said the Hockey Hall of Famer. “There’s a guy walking by with his wife and he says to me: ‘hey buddy, give it up, you’re too old.’ So I said, ‘yeah, but do you have an arena named after you?’”
On Friday evening in his hometown of Malton, Ont., Coffey had the honour of seeing his childhood rink, Malton Arena, along with Wildwood Park, renamed in tribute to his legacy.
“I’ve had a lot of great things happen in my life, from the sporting side – winning Stanley Cups, representing my country in Canada Cups, being elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame and getting my jersey retired,” said Coffey. “But this leaves me very honoured and humbled.”
The newly named Paul Coffey Arena and Park, cornerstones of the Malton community for almost five decades, were unveiled to hundreds of local residents who came to witness the event.
“My dad always used to call Malton a little village and he said ‘son, you always have to be proud of where you’re from,’” said an emotional Coffey. “I never took that lightly. I was always proud of Malton and the people that were here. There were such great memories in this area.”
The City of Mississauga consulted with members of the community to help create a new look for Malton. The refurbished arena, along with plans to upgrade the park, looks to improve the quality of life for those living in the area as it’s considered a vital community asset.
Fittingly, working hard for the community is one of the things Coffey values most.
“He loves people that work hard and that’s why he loves this community so much because we’re hardworking people,” said Coffey’s childhood friend Joe Iannelli. “That’s what makes Malton strong.”
Stories and memories were shared throughout the night, including some from Coffey’s former Edmonton Oilers teammate Kevin Lowe.
“One of the reasons we had so much success in Edmonton was because he had a real family-like atmosphere and I see that here tonight,” said the Vice Chair & Alternate Governor of Oilers Entertainment Group. “The group that’s here tonight looks like they’re here to show their appreciation for Paul’s career but they’re here to support the community and that’s a special thing. Hopefully the inspiration this arena will have for future hockey players over the years will perhaps bring another hockey great from Malton.”
The revitalization of these communal facilities is part of the MyMalton Vision, and the 109-acre park will also see three basketball courts added on the west side of the arena.
Fundraising efforts from Longo’s and Mitsubishi, along with other local businesses, will help enhance the playground, all while promoting community ownership.