News & Donor Stories

Friends of the Bowl leads new fundraising initiative

by Darren Steinke, Saturday, May 27, 2017

 
The Hilltops storm out on to the SMF Field turf  last September.

There are times you almost forget how much actually happens at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex.

The massive sports park named after hockey icon Gordie Howe and located in Saskatoon’s Holiday Park neighbourhood is best known as the home of the storied Saskatoon Hilltops of the Canadian Junior Football League and the legend building Saskatoon Valkyries of the Western Women’s Canadian Football League. Both teams play out of Saskatoon Minor Football Field, which was once known as Gordie Howe Bowl.

If you visit the Gordie Howe Sports Complex on any week night during the spring, you will see football is just a part of all the action that goes on there.

Besides the football stadium, the Gordie Howe Sports Complex is also home to eight softball diamonds including Gordie Howe Softball Diamond, five baseball diamonds including Cairns Field, the Clarence Downey Speed Skating Oval and the Gordie Howe Kinsmen Arena.

In order to keep all the facilities at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex going, you need to keep constantly maintaining and upgrading them. That is where the Friends of the Bowl Foundation not-for-profit group has stepped up so admirably.

Formed in 2013, The Friends of the Bowl Foundation launched a forward-thinking initiative to raise the funds that were needed badly to refurbish the Complex’s aging football stadium.

 
The new clubhouse facility at SMF Field can serve numerous functions.

That initial campaign raised over $11.6-million resulting in a new field turf playing surface, scoreboard, sound system, upgraded lighting, state of the art clubhouse complex, an enhanced entrance place and a new ticket booth.

Numerous user groups have relished holding functions at the new clubhouse facility, which includes a huge and well used banquet space and patio on the second floor. The hours of play available on the field have increased from 300 hours a year to 1,200 hours a year.

Now, the Friends of the Bowl are making a push for more upgrades. The current push is already seeing the installation of 5,000 seats and nine boxes at SMF Field. The seats and boxes were made available from the Grey Cup Legacy Project, and they come from old Mosaic Stadium in Regina.

Under the Grey Cup Legacy Project, the Government of Saskatchewan partnered with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders to distribute the seats and boxes to communities throughout Saskatchewan. The contribution of the seats and the boxes is valued at $4.1-million.

The new ticket building can be used to see team merchandise.

Friends of the Bowl is raising $5.9-million to transport and install the seats and boxes, upgrade the speed skating oval, replace the backstop at Gordie Howe Softball Diamond and enhance the parking lot and entrance plaza lighting.

The upgrades at the Clarence Downey Speed Skating Oval will include a new timing board, safety mats, new grading of the track and paving around the timing buildings. The upgrades at the Gordie Howe Softball Diamond will include a new backstop that meets national standards.

With the upgrades that have already been made to the Gordie Howe Sports Complex, the current backstop’s lack of height is a bit of an issue considering how close the softball diamond is to the entrance plaza, parking lot and clubhouse building.

The Friends of the Bowl should be applauded for their continuing push to constantly improve the Gordie Howe Sports Complex. The volunteer board of directors of a solid group of community leaders headed by chairperson Bryan Kosteroski. Kosteroski has played a large role in helping build minor softball in Saskatoon and is currently the president of the Saskatoon Amateur Softball Association.

 
The backstop at the Gordie Howe Softball Diamond is slated to be replaced.

Another key member on the board has been Johnny Marciniuk, who is the operations manager for Saskatoon Football Incorporated and a vice-president with Football Saskatchewan. Marciniuk can seemingly always be found at SMF Field doing all sports of little work with the facility and its daily operations.

The current fundraising campaign, which is called the Legacy Campaign, is being co-chaired by business leader Greg Yuel and former CFL player Quinn Magnuson. Both have made positive contributions to Saskatoon.

During a Valkyries home game on May 13, Friends of the Bowl announced a roster of partners including the Saskatoon Baseball Council, Saskatoon Amateur Softball Association, Saskatoon Track and Field Club, Saskatoon Nordic Ski Club, Saskatoon Football Incorporated, Saskatoon Secondary Schools Athletic Directorate, Hilltops, Valkyries, Saskatoon Lions Speed Skating Club and the City of Saskatoon. All of those groups are impacted by what goes on at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex.

 
George Reed speaks at a function at the SMF Field clubhouse in 2016.

The Gordie Howe Sports Complex holds countless practices, games and events each year involving over 25,000 local athletes and coaches. Currently, over 10 provincial, national and international events are held on average at the Complex each year. With upgrades, the Complex will likely hold more of these types of events.

The best part about the Gordie Howe Sports Complex is it continues to be shaped and improved by the community for the community. Any efforts to raise funds to make improvements to it should always be welcomed.

Original article by Darren Steinke posted on Stanks’ Sermon Saturday, May 27, 2017, is available HERE

FRIENDS OF THE BOWL ANNOUNCES PARTNERS

 

SASKATOON SK — It has been a busy time at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex.  Currently Saskatoon Minor Football Field is seeing the installation of 5,000 seats and 9 boxes from the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ Grey Cup Legacy Project. Fundraising is underway for a new clock, bleachers, training mats, and track upgrades at Clarence Downey Speed Skating Oval and the installation of a new national standards backstop for Gordie Howe Softball Park.

But there is even more!

At the Saskatoon Valkyries football game on Saturday night the Friends of the Bowl Foundation officially introduced its roster of partners:

  • Saskatoon Baseball Council
  • Saskatoon Amateur Softball Association
  • Saskatoon Track & Field Club
  • Saskatoon Nordic Ski Club
  • Saskatoon Football Inc
  • Saskatoon Secondary Schools Athletic Directorate
  • Saskatoon Hilltops
  • Saskatoon Valkyries
  • Saskatoon Lions Speed Skating Club
  • City of Saskatoon

Together these organizations are working on a Master Plan that aims to benefit athletes of all ages and skill levels, plus create facilities for the community that will allow Saskatoon to pursue national and international events and thereby exposing young athletes to elite levels of competition.

Details on the Master Plan for the Gordie Howe Sports Complex will be announced soon.

Representatives of Friends of the Bowl Foundation and their Partners

For further information, please contact:

Bryan Kosteroski, Chairperson

The Friends of the Bowl Foundation Inc.

Phone: (306) 975 6851

Email: thebowl@shaw.ca

 

Foundation Announces Phase 1 – 3 Completion, Launches Phase 4

SASKATOON SK — Friends of the Bowl Foundation provided an update on the redevelopment of Gordie Howe Sports Complex. Two phases have been completed at Saskatoon Minor Football Field including new turf, lights, sound system, score clock and construction of a 24,000 square foot Clubhouse. Phase 3 is well underway with the creation of a welcome plaza to the Gordie Howe Sports Centre.

Today’s announcements include a $250,000 donation from Richardson completing the Phase 1 and 2 campaigns.

Richardson

The Friends of the Bowl Foundation are also pleased to announce that SMF Field will benefit from the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ Grey Cup Legacy Project. The Grey Cup Legacy Project was introduced in 2012 in preparation for hosting the 2013 Grey Cup. 7,000 temporary seats as well as corporate boxes were added to the end zones at Mosaic Stadium. The plan was to donate these seats to amateur sports programs when the new stadium was ready.

Over 4,000 seats and 6 boxes will be donated to the Friends of the Bowl Foundation to enhance the experience for fans at SMF Field and create a facility that is able to host a wide variety of sporting events for years to come. The Saskatchewan Roughriders have also announced that they have acquired office space in the Gordie Howe Sports Complex.

“We are extremely proud to be a part of this outstanding sports facility.”  Said Craig Reynolds, President and CEO of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  “We are thrilled to be welcomed here at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex and we look forward to playing an even greater role with the thousands of young athletes and children who are engaged in sports here every year.”

To fund the next phase of development, the Foundation announced a Phase 4 campaign called “Gordie Howe Sports Complex Legacy Campaign”. Quinn Magnuson will join Greg Yuel as Campaign Co-Chair for Phase 4. Donations will fund the transportation and installation of the stands for SMF Field, along with the installation of a new clock, bleachers, training mats, and track upgrades at Clarence Downey Speed Skating Oval and the installation of a new National standards backstop for Gordie Howe Softball Park. Phase 4 is a multi-purpose campaign with benefits to many sporting partners within the Gordie Howe Sports Complex.

These new developments at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex will not only improve the spectator and athlete experience but will also position the facilities well for hosting future provincial, national and international events.