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“How do you choose how you’re going to honour your father? How do you get across how incredible that person was?” asks Deborah Wilcock, President of Jet Ice Limited and daughter of the company’s founder, Doug Moore.
The questions are not rhetorical, but ones she asked herself while putting together a collage of her late father’s life, now on permanent display at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC), formerly Maple Leaf Gardens. Ryerson also named the MAC’s engineering operations room “The Engine Room in Memory of Doug Moore” in recognition of the place from which Moore launched his remarkable career and revolutionized the ice making industry.
It is her father’s story as “Canada’s Ice Man” that Ms. Wilcock honours with pride. Several years ago, Ms. Wilcock created The Jet Ice Hockey Award of Excellence to provide scholarships for outstanding players on the Rams Men’s Hockey team, and to connect the company once again to the place where it all began.
Now, through a new gift of $1 million, Ms. Wilcock is strengthening the Rams program even more, with additional scholarships for both men and women hockey players, a boost for health and wellness programming, and more opportunities for students to excel in sport and in their future careers. Grateful for the extraordinary support, Ryerson is naming the event room overlooking the rink “The Jet Ice Lounge.”
“University students have a lot of pressure these days — even more so the athletes,” says Ms. Wilcock. “Supporting them this way — making sure they have somewhere they can go and someone they can talk to and get help — is important.”
Ms. Wilcock also supports Ryerson Athletics as a member of the Advisory Council. She recalls being immediately impressed with the calibre of leaders, coaches and athletes in the program. “The people and university were all first class,” she says. “I felt they really valued everyone’s voice. We share all these wonderful connections now, and they all stem from my father.”
A talented musician and innovator, Moore was also a gifted hockey player, but he opted for a different path into the NHL. His start was at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1957, and he became the facility’s Chief Engineer in 1974.
“Maple Leaf Gardens was a magical place,” says Ms. Wilcock. “The access we enjoyed was an unforgettable privilege.”
Moore would take his children to the Ice Capades, Sunday night wrestling matches, and a variety of other events, always entering through the Wood Street entrance (where the Engine Room was) and her father would know everyone from players to concessions staff.
In the 70’s, when the league and regular season expanded, it did a number on the ice. Moore started to develop new ways of maintaining a high quality surface by experimenting with ice paint and purified water. He enthusiastically shared his findings and techniques with facilities around the league. Soon he parlayed his knowledge and formed a new company, Jet Ice, and became the NHL’s first Ice Consultant.
“My father was innovative because he had to be,” Ms. Wilcock explains. “It was either that or find another job.”
Today, the ice making concepts and theories Moore pioneered are considered standard practice in a wide range of community and professional facilities. Jet Ice, now led by Ms. Wilcock, is the Preferred Supplier for the NHL, Winter Olympics and Curling Canada.
The legacy of Doug Moore lives on in Jet Ice and in rinks around the world. Thanks to his daughter, it also lives on at the MAC, and in the health and experiences of student athletes. Ms. Wilcock is building a legacy of her own too, through her generosity and the impact it is having for Ryerson and our students.