Central Albertans are getting their first look at the new sports dome in Red Deer County.
The reaction has been “very positive,” said manager Noah Welch, who recently hosted three open houses.
“People have been saying they’re so happy this is here and happy they don’t have to go Edmonton on a regular basis to use a facility like this.”
“Some were saying, ‘I wish this was here 10 years ago, or 20 years ago, when I was younger.’ A couple dads are convinced they’d be in the major leagues right now if they had this.”
Red Deer City Soccer and the Red Deer College Kings have utilized the facilities, and Welch said, “both teams and organizations were so happy to have something like this. It’s been great.”
There is still some work to be done on the facility, he added.
“We’re still putting our weight room together, putting our batting cages up. But I’d say our own programs start on Nov. 12 … and that’s when most of the stuff will be complete.”
The open houses let central Albertans walk around the facility, speak with coaches and even play some field sports.
Welch said he hopes the sports dome will “level the playing field for central Alberta in field sports.
“Hockey in Alberta is well served. We have rinks everywhere and good coaching. But we just lacked the facility for those field sports. We have long winters in Red Deer, and long winters prevent people from being on fields. Now, we have something to train year round in.
“It’s going to be exciting to see what kids from our own backyard are able to do in a couple years and where they end up going.”
Welch said he was thrilled to meet the people who will use the dome.
“You spend a couple weeks speaking with lawyers, talking about occupancy and stuff that is really important and necessary – talking to insurance companies.
“But it’s not why I signed up for this. When I get to help out the little kids and younger athletes, and just seeing the kids play … it’s recharging my batteries.”