The arena in Dresden is officially being re-named the Ken Houston Memorial Agricultural Centre.
Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope entered a successful unanimous motion for the change and North Kent Coun. Joe Faas made a successful amendment to drop Lambton-Kent from the arena’s name.
“Ken Houston provided inspiration to local youngsters and was a source of pride for all local residents throughout his National Hockey League career,” Hope said.
“I was approached by a large number Dresden and area residents during the recent Dresden Exhibition seeking a permanent and public acknowledgement of the legacy of Mr. Houston.”
Community leaders in Dresden came out in droves on Monday night, September 10, to the Council meeting in Chatham to show support for the motion, with many making deputations to Council to emphasize their position.
“Ken was a hero to everyone in Dresden and Kent County,” said Dave Cameron, president of the Dresden Junior Kings.
“He was a local boy who went on to do great things,” said Lucille Laprise, president of the Dresden Agricultural Society.
“He really inspired people,” said Dave Depencier, a local Dresden resident who played pick-up hockey with Houston.
“He was a great family man, not just a great player,” said Don Vitek, a long-time friend of Houston.
Members of the Dresden Kinsmen, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 113, Dresden Minor Hockey and others also announced their support of changing the arena’s name.
“It would be a great honour,” said Houston’s wife Susan, during a deputation.
Houston’s parents Lyle and Marilyn Houston were also in attendance on Monday, along with other family members.
Houston, who played nine seasons in the National Hockey League, died peacefully at home on Saturday, March 10, with his family by his side after a battle with cancer.
He was 64.
Houston played junior hockey with both the Dresden Kings and the Chatham Maroons.
His professional hockey career started after he was drafted by the Atlanta Flames in the 1973 NHL Entry Draft.
He played seven seasons for the Flames, including two after the team relocated to Calgary.
He was traded to the Washington Capitals in the 1981–82 NHL season.
He played there until October 1983 when he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings.
He retired at the end of the 1983–84 NHL season.
In 570 career NHL games Houston scored 161 goals and had 167 assists for 328 points.
He also recorded 624 penalty minutes.
In 35 career NHL playoff games Houston scored 10 goals and added 9 assists for 19 career playoff points. He also had 66 penalty minutes in those 35 games.
In 1997, Houston was inducted as an inaugural member of the Dresden Sports Hall of Fame.
Mayor Hope said plans are in the works to make the official unveiling of the name change on December 15, when Rogers Hometown Hockey tour stops in Chatham-Kent.