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Shouldice Athletic Park seasonal dome opens for public use

The $8.5 million sports infrastructure project was the culmination of many years of community work, local sport leaders said.

Turfs up for Calgary athletes looking for another year-round space to use.

The City of Calgary and sport partners in soccer and football celebrated on Wednesday the opening of the Shouldice Park Seasonal Dome over top Encana Field. It’s open to football, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and more.

It’s an air-supported structure with no interior columns or beams that’s formed by maintaining internal air pressure. The dome, an $8.5 million project, was funded by the Government of Alberta’s Municipal Stimulus Program, the Dome Facilities Association (DFA) and the City of Calgary.

“I just want to say that after hundreds of meetings, many frustrations and several setbacks, we are here today to realize the goal that Tony (Spoletini) and I started over six years ago,” said Greg Peterson, former long-time Calgary Stampeder and president of the Greater Calgary Amateur Football Association and the DFA.

Peterson described the six-year process to see this project come alive. He credited former Ward 1 Coun. Ward Sutherland with giving life to the dome by helping get a $1 million seed from the City.

He talked of help from others who brought technical expertise, and more who could help finance the structure. They were fundraising at a difficult time in 2018, Peterson said, and sought the help of the Calgary Stampeders CFL club.

Then, they were connected with the Calgary Minor Soccer Association and specifically the Calgary Blizzard Soccer Club.

“I just want to say that the completion of this project is really a testament to how an idea can grow and blossom into a reality because of the hard work and patience of being involved,” Peterson said.

“The completion of this project is an example of how sports groups can work together and collaborate with each other.”

Great moments are born from great opportunity’: Carlo Bruno, CMSA

Carlo Bruno, executive director with the Calgary Minor Soccer Association said they’re constantly seeking facility development opportunities.

“This indoor facility is a game changer for soccer,” he said Wednesday.

It allows for board-less game play that more accurately mirrors the outdoor game. He said that ensures better tactical continuity between season, improving player development.

Bruno also spoke of the collaboration.

“When you see sports like soccer and football come to the table and start working together you get the true definition of teamwork,” he said.  

“A great example for the sporting community.”

Ron Girvitz, president of the Calgary Blizzard Board of Directors, said they could not have asked for better partners.  He said there have been a number of attempts over the past years to create an indoor facility.

The tipping point was the meeting with the local football program.

“Those of us who have been in Calgary a long time recognize how business is done in Calgary, not often enough, but with regularity,” Girvitz said.  

“Partners gets together, they make a deal, shake hands and honour their commitments. And that’s what we did amongst our partners.”

The facility is available for booking through Calgary.ca/recreation.