Go big or go home – The story of the Gordie Howe Sports Complex
On March 31, 1928, Gordie Howe was born in the small town of Floral, Saskatchewan. At just nine days old, he and his family moved to Saskatoon where he would be raised. Little did anyone know this young boy would change the game of hockey — forever. Gordie passed away in 2016 at the age of 88, but not before putting up the kind of fight he is now famous for. In his career he scored 801 goals, a record that stood until 1994. His supreme performance on the ice earned him a reputation as a hockey powerhouse.
When he finally retired in 1980, his iconic number 9 was retired along with him. As a tribute to Gordie, we’ve memorialized the revered number 9 in the GHSC logo. His incredible legacy and Saskatoon roots are the reason we chose him to be our namesake.
In 2012, a group of eight community volunteers met and formed a group known as the Friends of the Bowl Foundation (FOBF). The original goal was to upgrade a football facility that was built in 1960 and had not seen any meaningful upgrades since it opened. The grass field was a legend itself, as it assumed the texture of asphalt when temperatures dipped below freezing late in the Saskatchewan football season. Phase One of the project included fundraising efforts to install artificial turf, upgrading field lighting, installing a new score clock, and building a clubhouse with dressing rooms at Saskatoon Minor Football Field (formerly known as the Gordie Howe Bowl). By 2014, these goals were realized and the hours of usage at the field increased from 160 hours, to 1,600 hours annually.
After the success of the Saskatoon Minor Football Field upgrades, donors appealed to the FOBF to be big and bold. The time was right to develop a major sports complex for Saskatoon that would enable participants of all ages to use the facilities and to give Saskatoon another tool to help attract sport events.
The new master plan at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex is a $62 million project that will see 5,000 seats installed at Saskatoon Minor Football Field. A new 90,000 square foot indoor training facility will feature indoor turf fields for softball and baseball, as well as strength and conditioning coaches for athletes. A 400 metre outdoor track and field facility will be installed for use in the summer, and converted to a 400 meter outdoor long track speed skating oval in the winter. A new multi-sports operation centre, upgraded baseball and softball diamonds, facilities for Nordic skiing, and an additional outdoor turf field will complete this master plan.
The sport hosting capacity of Saskatoon will greatly increase with this project and we’re excited for the future of sport in our city. For more information about the master plan, visit www.gordiehowesportscomplex.ca.
Projected Completion Date: 2019