A one-stop shop for amateur sports that in Winnipeg’s downtown core is receiving two thumbs up from thousands of amateur athletes, coaches and volunteers.
Sport Manitoba’s Sport for Life Centre, located at 145 Pacific Ave., officially opened last March. It features a recently-opened 5,200-sq. ft., state-of-the-art medical clinic that offers the latest in specialized patient care for sport and orthopedic injuries.
Provincial speed skating coach Todd Landon said the centre will allow Manitoba athletes to keep pace with athletes in other provinces.
"The entire facility is an enhancement for coaches and athletes looking to improve. We’re able to get hands-on experience and are really able to explore athlete’s potential," said Landon, who lives in St. Vital.
"It can bring every athlete to (the) next level."
Landon said the Sports for Life Centre will be a boon not only to individual athletes, but teams as well.
"In more commercial settings it is hard to bring teams or larger groups in and there is also a feeling of ‘handing over’ your kids to other people," he said. "Here everyone is working hand-in-hand."
The 114,000-sq. ft. Sport for Life Centre is being built in two phases.
The first phase was completed in June of last year and includes offices for 62 provincial sport organizations, a resource centre, an education and performance centre, and the new sports medicine centre.
Joelle Schmidt, a communications officer for Sport Manitoba, said the second phase of development will include an $18 million field house that will feature a multi-purpose gym and track, strength and conditioning facilities and an aerobic training centre.
Schmidt noted that the facility is for all athletes, not just elite level competitors, adding residents in the downtown core will have access to programming at the centre.
"The field house will be made available to area schools in need of athletic facilities," she said.
Athletes and coaches in need of specific sport reference materials are already taking advantage of the resource centre’s extensive library.
"We’re a one-stop shop for sports information and research, just as the building is a one stop shop for provincial sports," said Gena Cook, an assistant at the resource centre.
The Sport for Life Centre is also the location of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame. This November, five athletes, including former NHLer Ed Belfour and Winnipeg Blue Bomber Bob Cameron, will be inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame at its 32nd annual induction ceremonies. The new-look hall of fame is expected to open in early 2012.
For more information see www.sportsmanitoba.ca