OSWEGO — Jack Bobbett’s name will live forever in the community that loved him.
Dozens of friends, family and community members on Thursday evening dedicated the renovated playing surface at Shapiro Park as the Jack R. Bobbett Memorial Street Hockey Rink, a tribute to the boy remembered as full of joy and positivity.
The 11-year-old student at Fitzhugh Park Elementary School was killed in a bicycle accident in July 2019. Earlier this year, Bobbett’s #9 jersey was also enshrined at Oswego’s Crisafulli skating rink.
Mayor Billy Barlow presided over the ceremony and unveiled a proclamation from the city government formally renaming the hockey rink.
“Jack was an all-around great kid. Oswego is a small community, and there are a few people you can bring up their name to just about everybody and everybody always has something good to say,” Barlow told the crowd. “Jack was one of those people where you never heard somebody say anything negative about him. He had a ton of friends, as you can see here today. He was the type of individual we need more of, not only in Oswego but all over the world right now.”
Maureen Bobbett, Jack’s mother, spoke briefly to give thanks for the support through the family’s difficult journey over the last year.
“Jack’s legacy in this community will always be his kindness and compassion to others,” Maureen said. “He was a friend to all, leaving every person he met better by knowing him.”
Hockey was one of his true passions in life. It wasn’t just about being on the ice, but more about the friendships and the memories he made along the way. His hockey friends truly became his hockey family.
“I’m sure he’s with us tonight in spirit and would be thrilled to have the rink dedicated in his honor.”
The court, which had fallen into disrepair, was repaved and resurfaced in mid-June. New fencing was raised, wooden boards were installed along the bottom to deflect pucks, new lines were painted — including Bobbett’s initials and number 9 in the face-off dots — and nets were brought in Thursday to complete the renovation, which Barlow said totaled around $35,000.
After brief remarks from Barlow and Maureen Bobbett, Jack’s friends and family helped cut a red ribbon to signal the opening. Children were playing street hockey on the new rink moments later.
“We identified this and councilor (Robert) Corradino advocated for it. That was last summer right around the time Jack was tragically killed. We thought it was appropriate as time went on to dedicate this to him,” Barlow said. “I reached out to his family, and they liked the idea.”
Barlow said he’d like to renovate the basketball courts at Shapiro Park in the future, and although there’s more focus on the Port City’s waterfront right now, officials are identifying other playgrounds that could use upgrades.
“Park by park, playground by playground, we’re going through the Oswego community, albeit slowly but surely,” Barlow told the crowd. “We’re trying to improve each and every park that we have in our great, historic neighborhoods here in Oswego.”