Friends of the Bowl leads new fundraising initiative
|The Hilltops storm out on to the SMF Field turf last September.|
There are times you almost forget how much actually happens at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex.
The massive sports park named after hockey icon Gordie Howe and located in Saskatoon’s Holiday Park neighbourhood is best known as the home of the storied Saskatoon Hilltops of the Canadian Junior Football League and the legend building Saskatoon Valkyries of the Western Women’s Canadian Football League. Both teams play out of Saskatoon Minor Football Field, which was once known as Gordie Howe Bowl.
If you visit the Gordie Howe Sports Complex on any week night during the spring, you will see football is just a part of all the action that goes on there.
Besides the football stadium, the Gordie Howe Sports Complex is also home to eight softball diamonds including Gordie Howe Softball Diamond, five baseball diamonds including Cairns Field, the Clarence Downey Speed Skating Oval and the Gordie Howe Kinsmen Arena.
In order to keep all the facilities at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex going, you need to keep constantly maintaining and upgrading them. That is where the Friends of the Bowl Foundation not-for-profit group has stepped up so admirably.
|The new clubhouse facility at SMF Field can serve numerous functions.|
Numerous user groups have relished holding functions at the new clubhouse facility, which includes a huge and well used banquet space and patio on the second floor. The hours of play available on the field have increased from 300 hours a year to 1,200 hours a year.
Now, the Friends of the Bowl are making a push for more upgrades. The current push is already seeing the installation of 5,000 seats and nine boxes at SMF Field. The seats and boxes were made available from the Grey Cup Legacy Project, and they come from old Mosaic Stadium in Regina.
|The new ticket building can be used to see team merchandise.|
The upgrades at the Clarence Downey Speed Skating Oval will include a new timing board, safety mats, new grading of the track and paving around the timing buildings. The upgrades at the Gordie Howe Softball Diamond will include a new backstop that meets national standards.
The Friends of the Bowl should be applauded for their continuing push to constantly improve the Gordie Howe Sports Complex. The volunteer board of directors of a solid group of community leaders headed by chairperson Bryan Kosteroski. Kosteroski has played a large role in helping build minor softball in Saskatoon and is currently the president of the Saskatoon Amateur Softball Association.
|The backstop at the Gordie Howe Softball Diamond is slated to be replaced.|
The current fundraising campaign, which is called the Legacy Campaign, is being co-chaired by business leader Greg Yuel and former CFL player Quinn Magnuson. Both have made positive contributions to Saskatoon.
During a Valkyries home game on May 13, Friends of the Bowl announced a roster of partners including the Saskatoon Baseball Council, Saskatoon Amateur Softball Association, Saskatoon Track and Field Club, Saskatoon Nordic Ski Club, Saskatoon Football Incorporated, Saskatoon Secondary Schools Athletic Directorate, Hilltops, Valkyries, Saskatoon Lions Speed Skating Club and the City of Saskatoon. All of those groups are impacted by what goes on at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex.
|George Reed speaks at a function at the SMF Field clubhouse in 2016.|
The best part about the Gordie Howe Sports Complex is it continues to be shaped and improved by the community for the community. Any efforts to raise funds to make improvements to it should always be welcomed.