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New inflatable dome at Calgary’s Shouldice Park ready for action

Click to play video: '‘A game changer:’ New inflatable dome at Calgary’s Shouldice Park ready for action'
‘A game changer:’ New inflatable dome at Calgary’s Shouldice Park ready for action
Multiple sports teams in Calgary now have a new place to play field sports indoors at the Shouldice Seasonal Dome. As Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports, the first-of-its-kind dome in the city will be helpful once the temperature drops – Oct 17, 2022

Starting this month, sports teams in Calgary will have a new place to play field sports indoors at Shouldice Athletic Park.

On Sunday, Calgary Blizzard players were some of the first soccer players to get a chance to play under the Shouldice Dome — the largest inflatable dome covering an athletic field in Calgary.

The project was spearheaded by the local sports community, including Greater Calgary Amateur Football Association, the Stampeders Foundation, Calgary Minor Soccer Association and the Calgary Blizzard Soccer Club.

“This is going to be a game-changer for us,” said Nathan Cicoria, executive director of the Calgary Blizzard Soccer Club. “It’s huge coming out of COVID. There are so many families looking to re-engage their kids in sports and this gives us a really fantastic option to get them in a warm and dry environment and a safe environment.

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The air-supported structure that now covers the existing Encana artificial turf field has no interior columns or beams and is formed by maintaining internal air pressure.

According to the City of Calgary, the dome will be up annually from around November to May and will allow sports like flag football, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey to be played year-round.

Shouldice Seasonal Dome on October 16, 2022. Carolyn Kury de Castillo, Global News

The executive director of the Calgary Minor Soccer Association said having a huge field to play on through the winter will help shift the game in Calgary away from using boards.

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“For us to be able to transition away from boarded soccer to boardless soccer will obviously help our consistency from season to season,” said Carlo Bruneau, executive director of Calgary Minor Soccer Association. “Referees and coaches learning the same rules and the same tactics and of course, the big one is our players — having a similar opportunity to develop in a similar environment from season to season.”

The new facility means teams will have more consistent scheduling and it will help reduce the later times kids are currently playing at.

With the addition of the dome, there are now three boardless places to play indoor soccer in Calgary but the push is on for more to keep up with demand.

“Registration numbers are soaring. Three facilities is great and we probably need more to accommodate the growth that we expect over the next number of years,” Bruneau said.

In case of bad weather on a practice day, the dome will also be an option for the Calgary Stampeders.

While the sports groups who partnered for the project will have first priority for booking, it’s also open to other teams but Bruneau said the facility is already nearly fully booked.

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The project cost $8.5 million with funding from the province, the city and the Dome Facilities Association member organizations.

No changerooms are available and washroom and water fountains are located outside the seasonal dome.

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