Semi-centennial Seats: The Story of Marilyn and Mavis
Photos and video by Amanda and Brittany van Frankfoort
In the first row of Section 15 at TD Place Arena sit best friends Marilyn Campbell, 77, and Mavis Morgan, 85, Ottawa 67’s season ticket holders of 50-years. Together they have seen more than 100,000 minutes of Ottawa 67’s regulation hockey in more than 1,500 home games during the team’s 50-year history.
Campbell and Morgan smile remembering a lifetime of hockey memories in the building. Half a century since the team’s first puck drop on home ice, Campbell recalls with a chuckle that the 67’s lost by a score of 16-0. On that October night in 1967 the team actually lost 10-5 to the Toronto Marlboroughs, but considering five decades have passed since the match, Campbell’s memory isn’t too far off.
She says after the team succumbed to a few heavy-handed losses early in the season she couldn’t help thinking, “Uh-oh, we’ve got a long season here.”
Nevertheless, the best friends remained loyal fans since the inaugural season when the team finished with six wins and 45 losses. They have purchased season tickets for 50-years and attended with each other for thirty of those seasons.
Campbell explains one night 30-years ago she recognized Morgan sitting a few rows behind her from when they worked together in their teens.
“You were up in ‘S’ and I was down in ‘P’, remember Mavis? I said to my friend that I knew you. After a while I just thought I’m going to ask her cause it’s bugging the heck out of me!”
Since that moment in the stands Campbell and Morgan have been best friends and sit beside each other every game.
Every. Game. Because missing a match is unthinkable.
Campbell says when her son makes plans on a Friday night she responds, “On a Friday night, are you crazy? Change that night! I can’t miss my 67’s!”
Their passion and dedication extends beyond impeccable attendance. The ladies, though quiet in demeanor, have a lot to say about the team’s game play.
Frequently Campbell and Morgan offer enthusiastic words of encouragement, “C’mon fellas!” And, leaning forward in their seats, shout, “Block him!” “Shoot the puck!” “What did you do that for?” “He should know better.”
Brian Kilrea, Ottawa 67’s coach for more than 30-years, jokes Campbell’s and Morgan’s audible hoots and hollers were the secret behind the 67’s’ many seasons of success during his time behind the bench.
“They helped me coach! That’s where I got all my tips,” Kilrea laughs.
Kilrea is one of many members of the Ottawa 67’s organization to whom Morgan and Campbell are familiar faces. They say not a game goes by without someone stopping to chat, be it Ottawa 67’s players both past and present, ushers, concessions workers, team staff or other fans.
From reminiscing about the 67’s’ Memorial Cup game-winning shot to recalling when, decades ago, one of their friends smuggled a butterscotch pie into the building, the pair have innumerable memories built into the 67’s arena.
“It’s been quite an experience…I would have never thought that I would…have been so lucky to be going for so many years,” Morgan says. “We still haven’t lost the desire and the excitement to go and watch them.”
The pair say, teary-eyed, they have built a very special friendship as a result of reconnecting at a 67’s game 30-years ago. They enjoy looking forward to a night out together, discussing games and players, getting dinner together before or after games and simply enjoying each other’s company.
“It means a lot when you’re by yourself and you’ve got somebody who cares,” Morgan says. “I’ve enjoyed every year of it from the beginning until now.”