The Canadian Hockey association today announced an agreement with CODA, the Calgary Olympic Development Association, in an effort to ensure Canada’s future as a contender in the world of sports on the Olympic and world stage. The agreement focuses on the development of the first Canadian Centre for Sports Excellence.
CHA president Bob Nicholson, together with CODA president John Mills, made the announcement today at the Canadian World Juniors U20 Championship in Halifax. Central to the expanded partnership will be the National Ice Complex which serve as training home for Canada’s men’s and women’s national hockey teams and support development programs, allowing athletes to train and live in a familiar atmosphere that provides accommodation, food, advanced technical resources, and education facilities so important to under-18 teams.
Mills says that close inspection of similar programs underway in the United States, Australia, Austria, and Germany has shown that co-locating, support services, and cross- training facilities in a small number of locations has been very successful. Mills says, “It’s what our competitors are doing, and it’s what Canada needs to do.” The centre will mean that future World Junior camps would be held frequently—though not always-- in Calgary.
The centre is being proposed for the Calgary region where it will likely incorporate facilities remaining from the 1988 Calgary games, namely Canada Olympic Park. Mills also stated that this might be the first of several such centres throughout the country, with Nicholson adding that other areas to be looked at include Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada.
There has been no commitment as of yet from the federal government to the proposed $260-million project. Mills says he is hoping to receive one-third support from both the Alberta provincial, and Canadian federal governments.
CODA projects the center to be running and ready to receive athletes in advance of the 2006 Olympic Winter Gamess in Italy.