Following sport seasons of injuries and complaints, the Yellowknife Ultimate Club (YUC) is preparing to launch a review of the Fieldhouse to identify alternative options to the indoor playing field.
The Fieldhouse multi-sport fields are made of nylon and polypropylene materials atop a layer of foam and a concrete slab. Overall, YUC board of directors member Sarah Beattie suggests the facility be renovated to install a material that is more flexible.
Beattie said the City of Yellowknife seeks to update their facilities every decade or so. As the current fields were installed in 2010, she said the club is looking to collaborate with other sport groups and recommend new turf materials ahead of the city’s updates.
While the YUC is still in early stages of the review, Beattie said the club is dedicated to ensuring safe playing surfaces for Yellowknife athletes. Recovering from a recent knee surgery herself, Beattie said “definitely one of the factors contributing to the injury was the Fieldhouse.”
Beattie, like other Yellowknife athletes, told NNSL Media she never experienced injuries playing outside or in other facilities.
“We have players who are unwilling to play in the winter league because of the facilities,” she said. She describes seeing other board members attending meetings in braces and blaming joint pain on playing on the hard surface.
“It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just the turf itself,” she said.
Asked if the City of Yellowknife would engage with sports groups on a proposal for Fieldhouse updates, spokesperson Alison Harrower replied, “The city encourages all users and user groups of city facilities, programs and services, to reach out to the city directly with any concerns.”
On whether or not the city does, in fact, look to restore facilities every decade, Harrower said, “Capital projects are brought forward to council for consideration when facility components require updating.”
Beattie said YUC has already been reviewing material options and costs through fieldturf.com. However, the club is looking to engage other sports groups in town before taking a proposal to the city.
The Yellowknife Exiles Rugby Football Club, for one, is onboard with “upgrading the currently inadequate Fieldhouse turf,” co-president Ben Linaker said.
“Having access to appropriate indoor fields is essential to growing our sport, especially given our long winters,” he said. “As a club, we have had consistent issues with player retention stemming from minor and major injuries associated with the turf, including joint pains, sprains, rug burn, and more serious injuries.”
Beattie said the next step is just to get everybody in the same room talking, “and hopefully we can come up with a solution.”