For years the World’s Largest Hockey Stick has loomed over the entrance to the Cowichan Community Centre’s arena doors. If plans in Lockport Illinois proceed, however, the World’s Largest Hockey Stick in Cowichan, will become, just a really big hockey stick.
A proposal is brewing to construct a 250-foot-long hockey stick outside a recently approved ice arena dome in the small city near Chicago. The size of their stick outdoes Duncan’s Big Stick by a good 45 feet, which would oust Cowichan’s stick — made in Penticton of Douglas Fir and a remnant of Expo ‘86 that the community fought hard to have relocated here in 1988 — as the record-holder.
“The Stick” was authenticated in the 2010 Guinness Book of Records, and is represented in the Resource Centre, part of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, says a CVRD information sheet.
“While the CVRD is not in a position to comment on the Lockport proposal, they would like to highlight the current World’s Largest Hockey Stick and Puck at the Cowichan Community Centre has been a community icon and supported nationally since coming to Cowichan in 1988,” said CVRD spokesperson Kris Schumacher.”This community asset would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of community members and has been a factor in the region’s overall economic development over the years.”
According to oldtimers, it was a 20-year battle to get Cowichan’s Big Stick recognized as the World’s Largest. Prior to it earning the official record, a 71-foot stick in Minnesota was considered the biggest.
Dick Drew was part of the committee formed to acquire the landmark, along with Bhagwan Mayer, Len Goodman, Karl Schutz and Ron Austen — who all worked tirelessly first to secure the World’s Largest Hockey Stick and Puck for the Cowichan Valley after Expo ‘86 and then to move it to Duncan in August of 1987. It was dedicated on May 21, 1988, two years to the day after Expo ‘86 opened.
In 2019 the Big Stick saw a lighting upgrade to allow for colours and patterns within its 665 LED light display. Various light schemes are used to acknowledge events at the Cowichan Community Centre like Cowichan Capitals games, as well as holidays, and awareness days throughout each year.
Most recently, Cowichan’s Big Stick was in the news last year for housing a rather pesky woodpecker. A plastic owl now sits atop one of the stick’s supports to dissuade any other potential residents.