A new 4,500 square foot facility in Yellowknife is offering athletes and sports organizations in the NWT a “safe and high-quality” space to practice a variety of sports all year long.
According to a news release, the multi-sport training facility – or MSTF – is a joint project between Hockey NWT, NWT Softball and the Aboriginal Sports Circle NWT. It has synthetic ice, artificial turf, and “sport flooring” that can be used for archery and hockey shooting ranges, softball pitching lanes and batting cages, and northern and Dene games.
The building is located at 327C Old Airport Road and will see programming begin on February 28. For the first several months, the facility will only be open to current partnering territorial sport organizations. There are plans to open it up more in the future.
“We do envision the MSTF as a potential territorial community hub, capable of hosting events such as trade shows, art and craft markets, cultural events, as well as a potential Arctic Winter Games sport facility,” Aaron Wells, executive director of the Aboriginal Sports Circle, was quoted as saying.
The idea for the space came after some sport organizations in the territory struggled to secure proper facilities to deliver programming, facing high demand for rental space and facilities with limitations.
“There are limited facilities available, and every group is competing to get prime time slots,” Kyle Kugler, the executive director of Hockey NWT, was quoted as saying. “The multi-sport training facility provides us with an alternative location to deliver year-round, sport specific training while also alleviating some of the pressure on the current demand.”
Chad Hinchey, the executive director of NWT Softball, said last year the organization rented out a small storage unit to set up a batting cage. The limited space made it hard to host large groups, he said, meaning volunteer coaches had to offer more of their time to ensure all athletes could practice.
“The multi-sport training facility will not only allow us to deliver more efficient programming by allowing larger groups, but it will hopefully prevent our volunteers from burning out,” Hinchey said.
The first official event at the facility will be the 2021 NWT Archery Championships set to take place from March 25 to 27.