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Promoters enthusiastic about Winnipeg NFL game despite fumbles

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Investors Group Field Winnipeg

WINNIPEG — The promoters of an NFL pre-season game in Winnipeg remained  enthusiastic in the hours before Thursday’s kickoff despite some earlier fumbles.

“It’s going to be an exciting game and I know the fans that are going to be here are going to be passionate, committed and they are going to see one heck of a good show,” said Terry Dale, operations manager with On Ice Entertainment.

City Coun. Kevin Klein thanked the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers on Twitter for choosing to play in the city, even if it meant they faced some “social media bumps” along the way.

There were many online jabs after some players arrived wearing “Winnipeg, Alberta” shirts.

Raiders punter A.J. Cole apologized to the city and responded to a Twitter user that he’d purchased the shirt on Amazon, saying he’s “just a kid from Atlanta, Florida playing football in Oakland, Nevada with a low geography IQ.”

Safety Johnathan Abram was also spotted in the same shirt in a photo posted on the Raiders website.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers embraced the Prairie locale by sporting a jean-on-jean-on-jean “Canadian tuxedo” with a bolo tie.

Organizers of the game received word from NFL inspectors late Wednesday that IG Field, home of the CFL Winnipeg Blue Bombers, was approved for play. But to get there, Dale said, it was all hands on deck for three days following a soccer game Monday.

Goalposts had to be pulled out and specially ordered NFL posts were brought in and mounted, which involved digging holes and filling concrete 1.5 metres deep.

CFL Bombers logos and lines were stripped off the field which was repainted to match NFL regulations. An entire edge of asphalt around the field was replaced with synthetic turf.

Even the team rooms had to be reconfigured.

There was also plenty of skepticism about whether the game would fill seats. Tickets sales appeared slow with people pointing to high prices. Lower-bowl seats cost about $300, although end-zone tickets were recently reduced through a sponsorship deal to $75 from $164.

Earlier this week, the president and CEO of the Bombers announced the team would hold a viewing party downtown.

“Based on the price of these tickets, there was going to be a lot of fans who wouldn’t be able to afford to come to the game and we wanted to make sure that our season-ticket members and football fans in the entire community had a place to gather and have a great event,” said Wade Miller.

Dale said there was a lot of ticket movement in the last few days and he was eager to see seats full of football fans.

Thirty youth and members from northern Manitoba First Nations were being flown in to attend the game. There was also to be an area for members of the Armed Forces and their families. Amateur football players will on deck to hold the Canadian and American flags at the game.

Dale said it’s clear from their Winnipeg-themed arrival that the players were excited, too.

“When they arrived, I can be very straight up and say they were laughing. They were joking. They were excited. They were having fun. They were looking forward to it.”

The game is the first NFL contest in Canada since the Buffalo Bills completed a run of eight games in Toronto with a regular-season clash against the Atlanta Falcons in 2013.

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

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Calgary

Summer is here to Stay at Calgary’s Only Indoor Beach Facility

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After a fairly stagnant summer, where the typical buzz of team athletics and busy sporting fields has been largely missed due to COVID-19, the return of the winter weather is being dreaded by most. 

Do not fear the cold, however, there is a way for Calgarians to beat the winter blues. The Beach YYC, Calgary’s only indoor beach recreation facility offers “a little bit of the summer, all year long”. Located in southeast Calgary at 3030-2600 Portland Street, The Beach YYC is a 23,000 square foot facility with almost 13,000 square feet of beach court space and more than 700 tons of sand.
“After the way the summer has been, where people haven’t been able to play the normal leagues and sports they usually do, people are looking for a social, fun, active thing to do.” Says Elliot Weinstein, Founder of The Beach YYC, “And here we are!” 

Originally inspired by an indoor beach facility located in Vancouver, BC, Elliot decided to introduce the concept to the city of Calgary. As the fifth facility of its kind in Canada and the only one available in Alberta, The Beach YYC draws both high and low level players from across the country for everything from major tournaments to evening rec leagues. In addition to offering rec, intermediate and competitive beach volleyball leagues in co-ed and gendered divisions, the facility has 5 courts that can be adjusted to accommodate beach volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, Spikeball and dodgeball games.

“It’s a great place for people to maintain and improve their skills during the winter months,” says Elliot, “that way they can jump right back into their summer sports when the weather changes.”

In addition to hosting regularly scheduled leagues, The Beach YYC offers kids play dates and camps, catered events such as birthdays, corporate events and beach parties, as well as weekly drop-in rates – which have been on hold due to COVID-19 but will resume when deemed appropriate. 

Opened in September of 2018, The Beach YYC is now approaching its 2-year anniversary, and recently announced the opening of their beachside diner, George’s Beach Club! Named in honor of Elliot’s grandfather George, the club features a full comfort-food menu that includes delicious anomalies like the Bahn Mi Sub, the Buffalo Chicken Tater Tot Poutine, and banana splits for dessert. 

Now in the final stages of securing a liquor license, George’s will soon be a full-service destination for players and friends to relax at before or after games with a pint and bite. 

Don’t wait on that tropical vacation to get your toes back in the sand … everything is better at The Beach! 

To learn more about The Beach YYC or to check out George’s Beach Club, now available on Skip the Dishes and Uber Eats, visit https://www.thebeachyyc.ca

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

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Alberta

Alberta Sports Hall of Fame 50/50 ends today

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Alberta Sports Hall of Fame’s 50/50 raffle has only 9 hours left and sitting at $18,000. Funds will be used to purchase a new interactive display for the museum. If you can help by purchasing a ticket and/or sharing the story, please do. Thank you for your support in these tough times here at the hall of fame, it is very much appreciated.

Learn more about the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

 

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