Thursday, April 18, 2013

Club opens ground for ice skating

The year was 1962-63, and England and Wales were experiencing their coldest winter since 1740 (Scotland, incidentally, was suffering its worst since 1829).

From Boxing Day 1962 to early March 1963, most of the British Isles was under snow, with average temperatures five to seven degrees below average.

Not surprisingly, hardly any football was played.

Indeed, the winter was so severe that Barnsley managed only two games from 21 December 1962 to 12 March 1963.

Meanwhile, up the road in Halifax, they hit upon an enterprising idea: why not use The Shay for ice-skating?

Ironically, it happened on 2 March 1963 when - as the Manchester Guardian booklet "The Long Winter 1962-63" reports - most of the country was, at long last, experiencing a thaw. "Troops relieved a farm on Dartmoor which had been cut off by 20ft snow drifts for 66 days.

With only fourteen Football League Matches postponed, soccer had its best day for eleven weeks.

There was still no football at Halifax, but the local club opened its ground as a public ice rink and hundreds skated on it."

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