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Dave Rowe: Calgary needs a fieldhouse for the Stampeders

Dave Dickenson was cold and wet, and maybe a little sick and tired on Wednesday.

The Calgary Stampeders had just wrapped up practice on a miserable day and he was hosting his usual post-practice Q and A with the media.  Most of those reporters – myself included – had spent the soggy, windy session inside.

As things wound down, I figured I’d ask if he was following the latest developments in the arena debate. In true “Dickensonian” fashion, the answer spoke volumes and even raised a forgotten portion of the debate in just 19 quality seconds.

READ MORE: Calgary pursues Victoria Park option for new arena

“Na…we don’t get any play anyway. Our stadium’s not a concern of too many people,” he said. “What’d be nice, in weather like this, is if somebody could talk about getting an indoor facility.”

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“We would be a better team with an indoor facility and we think that’s what the city needs. But, I’m not a politician, so we’ll leave it to that.”

What about that fieldhouse thing?

WATCH BELOW: A look back at moments in Calgary Stampeders’ history

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A look back at moments in Calgary Stampeders’ history

The city says we need one; they’ve drawn up a plan for one at Foothills Athletic Park and even have a cost estimate pegged at $200 million. (Of course, that number’s based on a 2012 estimate, so the real cost will likely be north of that).

LISTEN: Angela Kokott is joined by the chairman of the McMahon Stadium Society

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The Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) had the fieldhouse rolled into CalgaryNEXT, but I think we can safely say that proposal is dead and buried.

Let’s be clear: a fieldhouse is NOT a stadium.

While there may be some provision for small-scale spectator events, a fieldhouse is a multi-sport facility designed to give outdoor athletes the chance to practice and train away from the miserable elements in a place like, say, Calgary.

READ MORE: Mark Stephen says Roughriders already have Stampeders beat on new stadium

A group called the Calgary Multisport Fieldhouse Society (CMFS) has been advocating for this kind of facility for years. They point out that places like Lethbridge, Kamloops, Regina and yes, Edmonton, have fieldhouses, while we don’t.

LISTEN: The Calgary Multisport Fieldhouse Society on Calgary Today

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I’m not talking about millionaire athletes and billionaire owners. I’m talking about you and your kids having a place to play and train year-round without fear of death by hypothermia.

And as a side benefit, Dave Dickenson gets to stay warm and dry.