In 1982, Robert Bailey and Alvin Barrier, owners of the Buck Stove Corporation, embarked on a bold plan to redevelop the old Harris School property as an entertainment, shopping, dining, and lodging complex. They decided that the bridge between downtown Spruce Pine and the property would be a focal point, and they named the complex Pinebridge. It contained the southeastern United States’ largest ice-skating rink and other health club amenities, along with an inn and restaurant. The ice rink also doubled as a hockey venue. Spruce Pine became the smallest town in the United States to host a professional hockey team when the Pinebridge Bucks competed in the Atlantic Coast Hockey League from 1983 to 1985, compiling a 25-47-0 record (5th place) in 1983-84 and a 33-25-6 record (3rd place) in 1984-85. The most famous Bucks player was goalie Ray LeBlanc, who goaltended for the 1992 US Olympic Hockey Team.
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