20th anniversary of big day.
Ray Dunbar, executive director of the NHA-NHL Birthplace Museum, displays the Brad Marsh Day banner on Feb. 14, 2013 – exactly 20 years after that day’s celebration in Renfrew – at the National Hockey Association-National Hockey League Birthplace Museum.
Steve Newman, Renfrew Mercury
National Hockey League 15-year veteran Brad Marsh left a positive, lasting impression in Renfrew, and across the Ottawa Valley and national hockey community.
Twenty years ago, Brad Marsh Day was celebrated in Renfrew by the Brad Marsh Fan Club. The occasion received noticeable fanfare when Ron MacLean of CBC interviewed Brad Marsh fan club president Barry Breen of Renfrew.
Marsh, who wore sweater No. 14, was generally considered a pretty average hockey player. But the defenceman stood out, not just as one of the few NHL players who played without a helmet, but because he was well-liked, hard-working and community-minded.
He played his 15th and final season with the Senators in 1992-93.
Memories of those days remain with the help of memorabilia, including the Brad Marsh Day banner that was hung outdoors Feb. 14 at the National Hockey Association-National Hockey League Birthplace Museum.
That day represented the 20th anniversary of Brad Marsh Day, which was celebrated on Feb. 14, 1993.
As a way of sharing those memories, the NHA-NHL Museum has a section of the museum devoted to newspaper clippings and other Brad Marsh memorabilia.
Hanging the Brad Marsh Day banner was just another way of sharing Renfrew’s rich hockey history with community members and visitors, said Ray Dunbar, the volunteer executive director of the NHA-NHL Birthplace Museum.
The 20th anniversary also came on the eve of last weekend’s Ottawa Senators Alumni game at the Eganville arena.
Renfrew’s Brad Marsh Fan Club survived into the late 1990s, by which time it raised an estimated $70,000 for various community projects. This included $20,000 for children’s breathing apparatus at the Renfrew Victoria Hospital, where the second floor still includes the Brad Marsh Room.
“We had a pile of fun,” recalls former Brad Marsh Fan Club president Breen, who remembers the day 38 German tourists got off the bus in downtown Renfrew, where they signed up as Brad Marsh Fan Club members.
The Brad Marsh Fan Club also got a big boost when Marsh appeared with his family in the 1993 Renfrew Lions Club Santa Claus Parade.
Through the club, many youngsters also attended Ottawa Senators games who would never have otherwise had that opportunity. The club, which grew to about 2,600 members, disbanded in the late 1990s.