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HomeNewsBala resident asking Muskoka Lakes council to rename town's arena

Bala resident asking Muskoka Lakes council to rename town’s arena

Justin Edwards wants to see the Bala Arena renamed after the late Peter Cowan.

Cowan died in Nov. 2022 in a workplace incident. He owned Cowan Tree Services, which was based out of Milford Bay. He was survived by his wife, Stephanie, and their two daughters. 

The Cowan family is very well known throughout Muskoka and, in particular, Bala,” writes Edwards in his petition. “The entire family has made a very strong impact on the community and they are the definition of a true hockey family.”

Edwards says the process started a few months ago when he reached out to the township. He explains they have an application process that anyone can go through to rename town-owned assets. He says the petition was a way to show town council and staff that there is support for the idea from the community. 

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As of early Friday afternoon, the petition is closing in on 800 signatures only 24 hours after being published. “I think that that shows there is a strong backing for the initiative,” says Edwards. 

He points out how Cowan’s father was the arena manager from 1974 until 2001. “Peter was one of the highest-skilled players to ever grow up playing and representing our town,” continues Edwards. “He was always a leader and captain and a very impactful player both on and off the ice.”

He adds that the walls of the arena have multiple pictures of Peter, his father, and his eight siblings that played hockey in Bala. 

Edwards says that Cowan’s commitment to encouraging the next generation of Bala hockey players was evident when he coached in Port Carling and says his “skill and passion” is still felt by many young hockey players in Muskoka. 

“Renaming an arena is a major consideration, and although nothing will ever be able to bring Peter back to his family, having somewhere that his daughters are able to go to see their father honoured and remembered by the community will show them that he was very important not only to the hockey community but also every resident of Bala,” explains Edwards.

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