Eight teams are set to face off at Hockey Canada’s impressive home arena, part of the WinSport Athletic & Ice Complex located at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. Bringing home the gold will be easier than ever with the new digs. Since its opening to the public in fall 2011, the venue has already hosted several world-class events, including the 2011 and 2012 World Sledge Hockey Challenge tournaments, and selection camps for Canada’s National Junior Team in both of those seasons.
The 500,000-square-foot complex contains one international sized rink that can seat 3,000 fans and three National Hockey League-sized rinks. Additionally, the Ice House holds the indoor sliding track for bobsleigh, luge and skeleton, which provides a space for Canadian athletes to train all year round, according to WinSport Canada.
This is the first time the Markin MacPhail Centre has hosted the National Women’s Under-18 Championship, and is in fact the first time the event has taken place in the province of Alberta in its nine-tournament history. This week Players are experiencing all the facility’s exceptional services, space and special hockey atmosphere.
“Coming in and seeing all the Team Canada stuff really gives you motivation and inspiration to play well,” B.C. forward Sarah Potomak said.
The facility is also home to Canada’s National Men’s Team and Canada’s National Women’s Team. In the lower level of the building, sliding glass doors etched with the Team Canada logo open up to a finely lit room lined with all world championship photos and trophies that showcase the impressive history of Team Canada.
The Canadian pride can be felt as soon as players enter the dressing rooms. The wood accents and interior lighting are enough to make any team feel right at home. The Team Canada logo spans prominently across the floor. Going beyond that stench that every hockey locker room wears with pride, the space resembles less of that of a dressing room, and more of a downtown penthouse.
With all the glitz and glamour the Hockey Canada facilities boast, they are perhaps the most unique athletic environments in the world. It’s easy to see when walking through the arena doors that the Markin MacPhail Centre and all its surroundings symbolize Canada’s commitment to sport.
“We designed our spaces all athlete-focused, whether it was having a gym or a therapy room,” Hockey Canada’s director of operations Jonah McEachern said. “This is their space, they can train here and feel no different than an NHL team.”
As with any big project, Hockey Canada needed to be sure that the benefits of improvements over its former facilities at Father David Bauer Arena, also in Calgary, would outweigh the cost. Partnering with WinSport Canada and both provincial and federal governments helped to cover the expense for the not-for-profit organization.
“It’s important to be frontrunners in building innovation; other countries will start doing the same thing we are,” McEachern said.
The international-sized rink also accommodates Paralympic and sledge hockey teams.
When walking through the building, a clear theme throughout all aspects is sustainability. During building production, WinSport Canada wanted to ensure that the building could sustain itself both operationally and financially, through the recycling and reusing of everything from heat, to the snow produced by the Zambonis.
The 2013 National Women’s Under-18 Championship runs from Wednesday, Nov. 6 until Sunday, November 10, with the puck dropping on the gold medal game at 4 p.m. MT on the tournament’s final day.
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