New air-supported 'seasonal shelter' at Shouldice will be Grey Cup legacy project

The city is working with amateur football, minor soccer associations, and the Stampeder Football Club to raise the funds for an air-supported inflatable shelter over one field at Shouldice Park.

Covered field will allow more local teams to play through winter months

Greg Peterson, president of the Greater Calgary Amateur Football Association, speaks to the crowd gathered at Shouldice Park, where a new air-supported shelter will make winter play possible for Calgary football and soccer players. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

Hosting the 107th Grey Cup in Calgary will bring more than just tourist dollars this year.

The 2019 Grey Cup Legacy Project is going to bring a covered, air-supported dome for one of the turf fields at Shouldice Park — providing an indoor space for year-round play.

The announcement came during a press conference at Shouldice Park Wednesday, attended by representatives for the groups involved, which include the City of Calgary, the Calgary Stampeder Football Club and others.

"The seasonal shelter is an opportunity for the City of Calgary to utilize an existing outdoor recreation facility year-round," said Coun. Ward Sutherland. 

Councillor Ward Sutherland says fundraising for a seasonal shelter is a joint effort between the city and sports clubs, and will provide much-needed turf playing space from October through May. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

The covered turf field will provide one more place for Calgary teams to play from October through May.

It will provide an estimated 1,850 hours of programmable time for sports groups in Calgary. 

 "We have been working on this project for over three years. We hope the future users of this facility will appreciate the hard work and efforts by many to build this facility," said Greg Peterson, president of the Greater Calgary Amateur Football Association.

"This project signifies the successful partnership and the collective efforts of many to build a much-needed facility for Calgary minor sports and all sports and athletic groups in general."

Jeff McCaig, chair of the Calgary Stampeders Foundation, said the foundation is dedicated to encouraging minor sports in Calgary.

He said it's a great way to share the benefits of hosting the Grey Cup, saying the field will be an incredible asset to the city and a lasting legacy.

Proceeds from the Grey Cup Festival and Grey Cup 50/50 will be directed to the project through the Calgary Stampeders Foundation.

"With Grey Cup festivities beginning next week, we are already blown away by the support from the community," said McCaig. 

"Since inception of the Calgary Stampeders Foundation in 2013, over 2.5 million dollars has been donated to minor and amateur football projects in Calgary and surrounding area. Football and sports are at the heart of what we do at the foundation. We are encouraging and supporting access to and participation in, football and sports. And this is a huge part of it."

Adding an additional full-sized field will improve the accessibility of sport and provide significant opportunities for our member-clubs and the 25,000 youth players that we serve, said Susan Cress, Executive Director, Calgary Minor Soccer Association.

"This is an exceptional opportunity for soccer, football and other sporting groups to increase participation, enhance player development and further support their programs throughout the winter months."

As a Grey Cup Legacy project, proceeds from the Grey Cup Festival and the Grey Cup 50/50 will be directed to the shelter.

The inflatable shelter will be available from October to May on one of the turf fields.


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