For athletes both young and old, having the ability to train and grow in sport is crucial. In order to do so, one of the important factors is an appropriate facility. The Sport for Life Centre, a branch of sport Manitoba, offers that opportunity.
Nestled in downtown Winnipeg at 145 Pacific Avenue, the Sport for Life Centre features a variety of different programs geared for anyone from the amateur athlete, all the way up to Olympic hopeful.
According to Tara Skibo, communications and public relations officer for Sport Manitoba, the Sport for Life Centre’s goals are: to build community through sport, and ensure that the community has access to the education, equipment, and resources necessary to further their growth, development, health, and wellness.
“Sport Manitoba’s board of directors and staff began developing the Sport for Life Centre project in 2005,” said Skibo.
“Since the Sport for Life Centre is the first of its kind in Canada, Sport Manitoba spent many years researching and developing the Sport for Life Centre concept.”
This particular concept includes an ongoing 160,000-sq.-ft. renovation, which is being built in two phases.
Phase one is an 84,000-sq.-ft. renovation, and was ready for occupancy in spring of 2010, according to Skibo.
Sport Manitoba president and CEO Jeff Hnatiuk talked about the development of the project, and its impact on the community as a whole.
“In [the first phase] we have the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, the administrative components of the facility, and our Sport Medicine Centre,” said Hnatiuk.
According to their website,“The Sport for Life Centre currently houses over 60 provincial sport organizations. Collectively, these organizations serve over 190,000 athletes, 100,000 program participants, and approximately 25,000 volunteers, coaches, and officials.”
“Bringing all those aspects of sport together in one become very unique, and really allows us to have a significant impact in the community in a number of different ways,” Hnatiuk said.
Phase two of the project, which is currently being worked on, will be an 80,000-sq.-ft. training complex, housed in the same building as the rest of the Sport for Life Centre.
The complex will build off of what is already provided, and will include a variety of other features, such as a training track for sport and community use; strength, conditioning and testing areas; and three full convertible court spaces and areas for individual sports, fitness conditioning, and workshops.
“The training centre provides seamless transition between training, coaching, testing, and therapy, which is a first in Canada,” said Skibo.
For provincial athletes and Olympic hopefuls, the centre will offer many valuable resources that may help those specific individuals to perform more effectively in competition.
“Team Manitoba athletes and provincial team athletes will gain access to much needed sport medicine and science research,” said Skibo.
New identification, evaluation, and training opportunities will move them seamlessly from the provincial to national training levels resulting in greater opportunities for Manitobans to live their athletic dreams on the national stage.”
Hnatiuk further emphasized that point, noting the importance of proper preparation.
“What we want to do, is we want to make sure that our athletes that are competing inter-provincially feel as prepared, and they should be, as an athlete that they’re stepping up to the starting line, on the ice, or the court against, no matter where that athlete is from in this country.”
Regardless of the athlete’s level of experience, each individual can find an aspect of the centre to benefit from.
“The Sport for Life Centre is an accessible and centralized learning facility where grassroots volunteers, leaders, athletes, coaches, and officials are welcome and can access the best research and education on sport and activity,” said Skibo.