Twined ballpark gets new name

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo Along with Mayor Brad Mapes, left, many family members were on hand for the opening of the Keith Broadhead Memorial Ballfield. Pictured are, left to right, Mapes, Curtis Broadhead, Sabrina Broadhead, Gavin Broadhead, Brenda Dohey, Kayia Dohey and Keith Dohey.

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Along with Mayor Brad Mapes, left, many family members were on hand for the opening of the Keith Broadhead Memorial Ballfield. Pictured are, left to right, Mapes, Curtis Broadhead, Sabrina Broadhead, Gavin Broadhead, Brenda Dohey, Kayia Dohey and Keith Dohey.

Hay River’s new twinned ball fields have officially been christened.

The bestowing of the new names took place on July 28 at the opening ceremonies of the Western Canadian Masters Fastpitch Championships.

The former Pine Point Ballpark has a new overall name, and names for each of the two fields.

The overall name is the Keith Broadhead Memorial Ballpark in memory of a man who was instrumental in developing both fastball and hockey in Hay River and the NWT.

“It’s a real honour that people in the community would recognize the time and effort that he put into organizing, sponsoring, coaching, playing and all the things that he did in Hay River for many, many years,” said his son Curtis Broadhead, who added it is a nice gesture by the town.

Broadhead said the town contacted him to let him know it was considering naming the ballpark after his father and to find out if he had any objection.

“I certainly didn’t,” he said. “I think it was well deserved.”

Broadhead said his father was a huge part of Hay River, not only in sports but as a volunteer in the community and a sponsor and supporter of many different events.

The idea of twinning the Pine Point Ballpark came from Glenn Smith, who also spent years promoting and working on the concept and as a result his name now adorns the new field.

“It’s certainly an odd feeling, humbling,” he said of actually playing on a field named after him, as he did at the Western Canadian Masters Fastpitch Championships.

Smith said it is even slightly embarrassing, although he also described it as an honour.

“I certainly appreciate that, and there’s a lot of people behind this field, for sure,” he said. “You can’t put everyone’s name on it. I wish we could. But we are recognizing there is a lot of support from the corporate sponsors and a lot of volunteer hours.

“It’s an odd feeling to play on the Glenn Smith Field, he said. “I might not call it that name myself.”

It was his idea over a dozen years ago to twin the field, and the finished project matches that vision.

“It’s totally what we envisioned,” he said. “I think it’s executed as planned. We started the planning many years ago, 12 years ago plus. It’s been talked about for a long time.”

During the opening ceremony, Smith was presented with a copy of the sketch that he created in 2003 outlining his vision for twin fields.

Both Smith and Broadhead threw out first pitches to officially open the Keith Broadhead Memorial Park and the Glenn Smith Field.

The old field has maintained the name Pine Point as a tribute to the abandoned mining community to the east of Hay River.

A sign explaining the name notes that the sports competition between Pine Point and Hay River was always lively and friendly, and the two communities joined forces in 1978 to host the Arctic Winter Games.

“This field will always bring great memories of the bond that the two communities had,” the sign reads.

The now Pine Point Field underwent a major retrofit while the new Glenn Smith Field was being built.

Mayor Brad Mapes thanked the volunteers who worked to create the twin fields, saying they donated endless hours and raised well over $100,000 to make the project a reality.

–Paul Bickford