The Dakota Community Centre opened its brand new $20.5 million fieldhouse in St. Vital Thursday thanks in part to a $1-million donation from Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.
The NHL star, who grew up in the area and got his start playing hockey at the community centre, also helped raise money for the project through his role as honorary chair of the Dakota Futures Capital Campaign.
"From my earliest days playing hockey, Dakota Community Centre has played a pivotal role in my upbringing and my career," said Toews via video at the fieldhouse's grand opening Thursday afternoon. "I'm extremely proud to be part of bringing this new fieldhouse to our community and supporting the development of future play places that will continue to transform the lives of so many."
The new 60,000-square-foot fieldhouse includes a 30,000-square-foot hardwood gym floor and a nine-metre-high ceiling with room for multiple volleyball, basketball and badminton courts.
The space has a three-lane walking/running track, exercise equipment areas, a multipurpose studio for yoga and other activities, and large accessible dressing rooms with shower facilities.
With room for 1,500 people, retractable bleachers, concessions, and seating and viewing areas to the gymnasium, club CEO Michele Augert says she expects the fieldhouse will be a popular venue.
"We know our fieldhouse and community centre will play host to numerous local, national, and international sport and recreation events for years to come," said Augert during her speech at the grand opening. "With the addition of this world-class facility to our sportsplex — a facility that has also always been a great source of pride to our community — we now have a multi-sport and recreation complex like no other in this province."
Work on the fieldhouse started in December 2015 and, in addition to the money from Toews and donations from the community, received $7 million in provincial funding and $6.7 million from the city.
The building is LEED Silver Certified and is linked to the Jonathan Toews Sportsplex through a covered and heated connection.
The Dakota Futures Capital Campaign is ongoing and Augert said future development plans include adding an outdoor rink to the Dakota Community Centre campus.