Northwest Territories Indigenous Sports Circle, NWT Hockey and Northwest Territories Softball join new multi-sport training facility in Yellowknife

Remember, those of you old enough to remember, when you picked up your purchases at Sears up the hill on Old Airport Rd.?

Well, Sears is no longer with us but the building where everything used to be housed now has new tenants and it will be a real mix of sports.

The Northwest Territories Aboriginal Sport Circle, Northwest Territories Softball and Northwest Territories Hockey have come together to create what is called the Multi-Sport Training Centre. The announcement of the new facility was made official on Monday through a press release with a soft opening this week. It will house equipment such as synthetic ice, artificial turf and sports flooring that can be used for activities such as shooting practice for hockey, pitching and batting cages for softball, traditional games and archery.

Chad Hinchey, executive director of NWT Softball, said this new location is similar to what NWT Softball opened in the spring of 2021 at another location in Yellowknife, which had batting and pitching cages.

“I was at the old establishment as a patron,” he said. “The work that Steve (Thomas), Jenn (Lukas) and Paul (Gard) and the whole team have done to put this together means that we have seen an improved number of people in our membership base just by doing this. When the Sports Circle and Hockey NWT caught wind of what we were doing with this, they thought it would be cool to have a space where we could have multiple things and a collective project for something bigger.

According to the release, the facility was a project that “…stemmed from the partner organization’s shared difficulty in securing adequate rental space to deliver the programming due to high demand and the limitations of current facilities.”

The facility measures 4,500 square feet and can be configured to accommodate a multitude of activities. The first event scheduled at the new joint is the NWT Archery Championships, hosted by Archery NT, which is scheduled to take place at the end of March.

Hinchey said the hope that the end of things in softball is to be done is as close as it gets to what was in the previous facility.

“The goal is to have the full functionality of two batting cages with pitchers, three pitching lanes with one that we could convert to a larger space to run grounding drills, and the ability to do soft pitches and hitting a tee,” he said. “We would like it all to happen at the same time, which will increase functionality for coaches and for young people.”

Kyle Kugler, executive director of Hockey NWT, said the idea for all of this came from what NWT Softball did last year.

“We reached out to NWT Softball to see if this was a short or long term plan,” he said. “They were interested in extending the offer throughout the year and that was our vision: to offer our athletes an option to continue their development off season.”

He also said the big advantage was giving bands a chance to get somewhere and not have to fight for what he called “prime time slots”.

“We found that archery struggled to find suitable space and book facilities, like many other organizations do,” he said. “That’s kind of how it all started. The conversations have started and we made a commitment in October to move forward. We’ve faced a lot of adversity to get to this point, but we’re excited to share the news with everyone we open to. »

Skates will not be allowed on what are called dry land tiles, the term for synthetic ice, except for one area where the tile is blue. Players will be able to shoot and pass and do any other drills without skating on synthetic ice.

For now, the facility will only be open to groups that fall under the three organizations involved in running it, but the hope is to open things up to the public eventually.

“We envision (the facility) as a potential territorial community hub, capable of hosting events such as trade shows, arts and crafts markets, cultural events, as well as a potential sports facility for Arctic Winter Games,” said Aaron Wells, Executive Director. of the Sports Club.

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