Blyth Arena – A Barn For The Ages

1a1a1a1a1a1a1a1a134
======================================================

The legendary BLYTH ARENA was a most distinct as well as historical barn while serving as the site of the ice hockey competition at the 1960 WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES in SQUAW VALLEY and is, all but assuredly, something which the world will never see again.

Although it must seem strange to contemporary fans of the sport, the facility on the West Coast of the United States was intentionally left open-faced for a very specific reason — the International Olympic Committee had a regulation at the time which stipulated that no official compeition could be conducted under an enclosed roof.

And so an entire side of the building spanning the entire length of the ice rink, itself, was actually completely exposed to the outside elements. Long ropes suspended from the roof sustained the Olympic symbol and were meant to form a sort of curtain which was supposed to lessen the impact of the sun’s glare on the ice. This measure, however, would prove to be only partly successful.

============================================================
1a1a1a1a1a1a1a1a161
============================================================
The victorious UNITED STATES squad, including game-winning goal-scorer BILL CHRISTIAN (6) of Warroad, Minnesota, and team captain JACK KIRRANE (3) of Brookline, Massachusetts, celebrate their surprising 3-2 triumph over the defending Olympic gold medalists from the Soviet Union during the ice hockey tournament at the 1960 Winter Games in Squaw Valley.
============================================================

The memorable Winter Games at Squaw Valley actually marked the very first time that the Olympic ice hockey tournament had ever been played on an artificial, man-made surface. In the planning stages for the event in 1960, it had been historically noted that temperatures during winter in this mountain region of northern California could often reach the high 30s and low 40s (Fahrenheit) in the daylight hours. That would make for unwanted, if not unplayable, slushy conditions and so modern ice-making technology was called upon.

=======================================================================
1a1a1a1a1a1a1a1a154
=======================================================================
A view from one of the two Olympic ski jumps on the mountain at Squaw Valley in 1960 provides an ideal vantage point for both the south side of the open-faced BLYTH ARENA as well as the 400 meter speed skating track just outside the ice hockey rink … Just two years after the Winter Games held in northern California, the speed skating track was replaced by a parking lot servicing recreational skiers in 1963. Meanwhile, the ski jumps made of wood were left to deteriorate with the passage of time.
=======================================================================
1a1a1a1a1a1a1a1a155
=======================================================================
A splendid view, then, of the front (north) side of the BLYTH ARENA depicts national coats of arms for the competing countries at the 1960 Olympic ice hockey tournament in addition to a fine sampling of some of the contemporary automobiles to be found in the United States at that point in time.
=========================================================================
1a1a1a1a1a1a1a1a150
===========================================================================================
The following two pictures, if cut out and pasted side by side, create an outstanding sense of appreciation of what it must have been like to be in the audience at the open-faced Blyth Arena in Squaw Valley for the ice hockey tournament at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games; the facility boasted an official capacity for 8,500 spectators but after the United States upset neighboring Canada 2-1 behind the sensational goaltending of former University of Minnesota netminder JACK MCCARTAN, the final two games for the host nation against the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, repsectively, resulted in overflow, standing-room-only crowds of a reported 10,000 people.
===========================================================================================
1a1a1a1a1a1a1a1a151
==========================================================================================
This particular piece easily affords one the opportunity to observe the ropes which hang down from the roof at the Blyth Arena to support ths Olympic symbol while attempting to stop the sun from creating too much glare on the ice. And the 400 meter speed skating track situated just behind the stands on the south side of the rink. One may also note that, here at the Squaw Valley Winter Games of 1960, the corners of the rink are not anywhere closed to being as rounded as they are now today.
================================================================================
1a1a1a1a1a1a1a1a163
================================================================================
After rallying for six unanswered goals in the third period against Czechoslovakia on the final day of tournament play, the 1960 Olympic gold medal-winning squad of the United States gathers jubilantly for a photograph at the open-faced Blyth Arena in Squaw Valley.

Comments are closed.