When Bill Troubh grew up in Portland, he skated on Deering Oaks Pond.

When he was a Portland city councilor, he wanted more for the youth of his city and initiated the push for an indoor ice rink. His efforts paid off in 1985, when the Portland Ice Arena opened for business.

On Thursday it was officially renamed the William B. Troubh Ice Arena, honoring the man who valued what sports can do for a community.

His contributions to Portland’s youth, and especially to ice hockey, were celebrated Thursday between games of the sixth annual City Cup championships between the Cheverus High boys’ and girls’ teams and the girls and boys from the combined rosters of Portland and Deering high schools.

“Bill felt very strongly that, for the youth of the city, this (arena) was needed,” former city manager Joe Gray said before the ceremony. “Bill knew how important wintertime activities were for the kids.”

And it was appropriate that Troubh, who was 78 when he died in November 2013, was honored during the City Cup. It was created to raise hockey’s profile in Portland and raise money for the Portland Middle School Hockey Association, which had Troubh as its first president.


“He is why this arena is here,” said Jerry Conley, the association’s current president.

Conley served as the on-ice master of ceremonies between the games, when he was surrounded by players from all four teams, as well as Bill Troubh’s widow, Nancy, and son, Jed.

“He always said he wanted to give back to the city that was so good for him and his family,” Nancy Troubh said.

Jed remembers the groundbreaking for the arena in 1984, when he was 14.

“It was incredibly exciting,” he said. “We were here regularly, watching the progress of the construction. … My dad certainly provided a lot of leadership, but it was a community effort to pull it off.

“Of all of his accomplishments, he was probably most proud of the ice arena because there were a lot of obstacles to get it done. It was not a sure thing.”


Gray, who is now retired, was the city’s planning director at the time. Like Troubh, he saw the need for an ice arena. But not everyone did.

“Like so many other things, there was a lot of controversy about it – how much was it going to cost, location, parking, all those traditional issues,” Gray said. “But Bill persevered and made sure that, as much as possible, all the community concerns were taken into account before it went to the Planning Board to get approved.”

Ever since, the arena has been used for hockey at all levels – from 6-year-olds to seniors – as well as for figuring skating, skating lessons and public skating.

“Bill wanted opportunities for the community,” Gray said.

The arena is not the only facility where Troubh played a role.

He worked for years, with others, to improve neighboring Hadlock Field and attract a minor league baseball team. In 1994, the Portland Sea Dogs began play there as an Eastern League expansion team, and Troubh eventually became the league’s president.

After his death, the Sea Dogs renamed one of their skyboxes the Troubh Box, featuring a Sea Dogs jersey with his name hanging inside. The team also established a William Troubh Community Service Award, which is given to a citizen who makes “a positive impact within the city of Portland.”

On Thursday, more plaques were presented in Troubh’s honor, and a temporary banner – William B. Troubh Ice Arena – was unveiled for hanging inside the arena.

Conley said the association soon will begin fundraising for permanent signage inside and outside the building.

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