• Hockey
  • 1982
  • Builder

William "Bill" O’Neill (D)

St. Andrews was for years the summer home of many of the builders of Canada who travelled there from their board rooms in Boston, New York and Montreal.

But, to those in sport, St. Andrews was the home of another kind of builder – a builder of amateur sport programs and a potpourri of special events that were the envy of cities many times the size of this Charlotte County shiretown. That builder was Bill O’Neill.

He started his career with an outdoor natural ice rink in the early 1930s and ended it as manager of the Sir James Dunn Arena. Imagine, if you can, a town whose population could be accommodated in the hotels of nearby Saint John playing host to the likes of Guy Lombardo, Barbara Ann Scott, The St. Louis Blues, twelve weeks of an international summer hockey school and Sonja Henie in the space of a year!

Lady Beaverbrook donated the arena to St. Andrews; Bill O’Neill made it come alive.

Enrolled in the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame, June 5, 1982

Quick Facts

  • Founding member of St. Andrews Amateur Athletic Association (1929) and served as the unpaid manager of the town’s hockey rinks
  • Established the St. Andrews Hockey School, which was staffed by National Hockey League players and coaches and considered the best of its kind in North America
  • Arranged many hockey and skating exhibitions, such as those by figure skater Barbara Ann Scott and Sonje Henie
  • Town arena re-named in his honour in 1992
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