In 1942 when the Portage Terriers were born, an eight year-old boy named Ron Goodz was in the stands where he’s been for some 70 years since.

As a child Goodz had part of his foot cut off and was warned against playing hockey out of fears he would freeze his partial foot. “So I decided to be a fan,” Goodz reflects.

“I remember Mr. Addie Bell in ’42 coming to the rink with his army uniform on. He was in the army and he was the coach. Sometimes he’d get there late and come in with his uniform on.”

The 1942 Portage Terrier team earned a spot in the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame winning the league championship and going on to win the Memorial Cup as the best junior team in the country.

At eight Ron was hooked on hockey.

“My brother was 16 (in 1941) and tried out for the team but he didn’t make it. You had to be real good to make the team but lots of them were local guys.”

In the end the Goodz family ended up as part of that first championship team as Ron’s dad donated his brothers pads to the team to help them out.

“Back in the day of small rosters of 12 players it was hard to get that many to go on the road. They had to pay all their expenses including uniforms,” Goodz remembers.

In addition to having to pay their way players back then had much more rustic arenas to play in. “The rink was right where the library is. There was no Zamboni back then, we had a group of kids called ‘rink rats’ and we scraped the ice and shovelled the snow over the boards. We got passes to everything for doing it,” Goodz recalls.

“I remember Mr. Addie Bell in ’42 coming to the rink with his army uniform on. He was in the army and he was the coach. Sometimes he’d get there late and come in with his uniform on.”

For thirty more years Ron and all Terrier fans would cheer, support and raise money for their team without seeing another championship until 1973.

In Terrier fashion, when the Terriers win, they win big. The 1973 team went on to win the league and the national championship, Centennial Cup, and became the second Terrier team inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.

Goodz is philosophical when asked about the lean years between championships. “There were some tough seasons but you had to take the losses too.”

“All my life I enjoyed junior hockey. Not the NHL. I liked the NHL when they had the original 6 but when they expanded you didn’t know where your favorite player was. I started to drift away from it. I had more time for the Terriers.”

The life-long hockey fan gains a twinkle in his eye when asked about the teams recent run near the top of junior hockey.

“Right from the late 90’s the Terriers became one of the top teams,” Goodz quickly points out. “All of a sudden we got this fantastic little player from Quebec named Junior Lessard.”

Lessard came to the Terriers all the way from Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce, Quebec looking for a place to play junior hockey and left after becoming the Canadian Junior A Player-of-the-Year. He then became the top NCAA hockey player winning the Hobey Baker award and then went to the NHL.

Goodz offers what it was like to watch Junior Lessard. “He was this little French kid from Quebec and we’d all just look forward to what he would do every night.”

“That (Lessard playing on the team) was a big, big notch because after that everyone wanted to play for the Terriers.”

Ron has an extensive collection of all things Terrier.

By the mid 2000’s Goodz and all Terrier fans entered their promised land with consistently top performing teams and numerous championships.

“They make you feel proud. That old rink (Centennial Arena) during championships runs was just packed. Now we have a rink twice as big and it’s still packed. I just love the (new) rink. I was against the location at first but now we’ve got it and thank God we’ve got it.”

Recent players like former Canadian Junior A Player-of-the-Year, Eric Delong and Andrew Jackman rank among Ron’s favorites and sniper Shaq Merasty from this year’s squad is top shelf according to Goodz.

Goodz also credits the Terriers recent success to past coach Don McGillivray and current scout Frank Harding and Head Coach Blake Spiller for building a championship foundation.

“Blake (Spiller) can usually get 4 lines going. He shakes them around until they work. I don’t worry.”

Over the 70 years of following the team Ron has travelled to every arena in Manitoba to watch his Terriers and has been to Yorkton and Weyburn to see them play the Anavet series. “I put over 6,000 miles on my van in 3 months following the Terriers.”

“They make you feel proud. That old rink (Centennial Arena) during championships runs was just packed. Now we have a rink twice as big and it’s still packed. I just love the (new) rink. I was against the location at first but now we’ve got it and thank God we’ve got it.”

The avid fan has also acquired endless programs, clippings and memorabilia on the team and would love some help to try and archive the material. “I have such a mess of stuff. I’ve been trying to get it cleaned up but there is so much.” Goodz has even had other long-time fans pass their collections on to him.

If anyone would like to give Ron a hand just talk to him at the next Terrier game. He’s often there a couple hours ahead of time securing his favorite parking spot and soaking in the atmosphere.

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