Thunder Bay

Lakehead Express indoor soccer season starts this week

Thunder Bay's Lakehead Express soccer club will finally begin its indoor soccer season this week.

Season delayed over concerns with cleanliness of artificial turf at Goal Sports Centre

Lakehead Express will begin its indoor soccer season this week after tests showed the artificial turf at Thunder Bay's Goal Sports Centre is safe to play on. (CBC)

Thunder Bay's Lakehead Express soccer club will finally begin its indoor soccer season this week.

The club's season was initially expected to begin in early November at the Goal Sports Centre, the new incarnation of the Confederation College bubble fitness facility.

The college had planned to close and tear down the bubble, as it has opened a new fitness centre on campus.

However, the college announced in September that it had signed a lease with RZ Realty Services, which planned to install turf in the former bubble, rename it, and open it up for indoor soccer, and other sports, such as football.

In posts on the Lakehead Express Facebook page, however, the organization says there was concerns over the condition of the turf, which was formerly installed at the Thunder Bay Sports Dome. The dome collapsed during a winter storm in November 2016; it's unclear where the turf was stored until its installation at the Goal Sports Centre.

The Express posted Tuesday night that tests have shown that the turf is safe to play on, and indoor soccer will start this week.

In a written statement issued Wednesday, Goal Sports Centre spokesman Robert Zanette said "in an abundance of caution the turf was tested, cleaned and retested all in accordance with proper testing protocols and approved treatment solutions."

No other information was available, as Zanette couldn't be reached for further information on Wednesday.

Indoor season to be extended

It's unclear when the testing took place. Zanette states in his written statement that the Thunder Bay indoor football league was already playing at the centre; how long they'd been playing is unknown, as is whether they were playing before the turf tests were done.

It's also unclear what the first round of turf tests revealed, and why the turf was cleaned and re-tested.

Zanette has been identified as one of the individuals behind an Ontario Municipal Board appeal that prevented Soccer Northwest from opening a temporary indoor soccer facility on Thunder Bay's waterfront for use this winter.

The Express say the indoor season will be extended to make up for the late start.