On Saturday February 4, 1956 the Town of Bay Roberts officially opened an open-air rink. This was not an unusual event for the time but what separated this outdoor rink from all others in the province was that artificial ice-freezing equipment had been installed in the regular ice surface of the rink operated by the Conception Bay Sports Company Limited.
The new Conception Bay Arena had a regulation ice surface of 185' x 85' with lighting and a P.A. system installed. There were future plans to construct a building over the artificial ice surface but that never materialized. In 1956, however, a 10-ft high fence was built that surrounded the rink with about 12 ft spacing from the rink's boards that was used by arena spectators.
The first hockey game played at the new arena was a exhibition match between the Shearstown Tigers who were the 1955 Conception Bay North League champions and the St. John's Guards of the City Senior League. The game ended in a 3-3 tie.
History was made at the Bay Roberts Arena on the night of April 6th when the Boston Bruins of the NHL, on an Exhibition tour of the island, played a 4-period game on the outdoor rink against four local teams. This game is recognized as only the second ever NHL outdoor game and the first in Canada.
The Bruins, backstopped by the legendary Terry Sawchuk, played one period against each of these local teams: Bay Roberts Rovers, Brigus Bruins, Coley's Point Pointers and the Shearstown Tigers. Gerald Saunders of Shearstown was credited with the only goal scored on Sawchuk in the game by a local player. It was one of only three recognized 'legitimate' goals scored by local players on Sawchuk during the entire Newfoundland Tour. Usually in the third period of these exhibition games, after dominating the previous periods, in a goodwill gesture some Bruin players would trade jerseys with the local team and the games would end on an entertaining note.