Sport in Calgary

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The Canadian city of Calgary, Alberta, is home to a relatively deep-seated tradition of winter sports. Much of this stems from its location, with proximity to the Alberta Rocky Mountains and Banff National Park. After hosting the 1988 Winter Olympics, the city has also had winter sports and training facilities. Beyond winter sports, Calgary has a number of professional and amateur sports teams and is a major world pro rodeo centre.

Calgary is also the home of the Hart House ("The Dungeon"), the pro wrestling training camp founded by Stu Hart.

Calgary is next to some of the most visited natural scenery in the world. Banff National Park is about 125 km northwest of Calgary on the Trans-Canada Highway. 30 km west of the city is the town of Bragg Creek. Another 45 km west of Bragg Creek is the Kananaskis Improvement District featuring hiking, horseback riding and mountain-biking trails, camping sites, rock and ice climbing, and cross country skiing. A Provincial shooting range for firearms is located on the highway to Kananaskis.

Many Calgarians and millions of tourists enjoy activities such as biking, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, mountainboarding, camping, and fishing in these parks every year. The town of Banff hosts nearly five million visitors annually.

Calgary boasts a variety of sport leagues in the summer and winter seasons. Australian Football, Soccer, Field Hockey, Basketball, Netball, Lacrosse, Cricket, Futsal, and Volleyball are all available in various locations throughout Calgary

Soccer has grown substantially and is played in both the summer, and indoors in the winter. Two Soccer domes, located in SE and NW Calgary allow for indoor play.

Sports facilities[edit]

Ski Jump and Chair Lift at Canada Olympic Park Summit

Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. Many of the Olympic facilities continue to function as major high performance training facilities. Among the most notable of these are Canada Olympic Park and the Olympic Oval. Calgary is currently home to the only luge/bobsleigh track and ski jump tower in Canada.

Athletes also take advantage of the high altitude to improve their physical limit. With facilities that are considered to be world-class and proximity to the Canadian Rockies, Calgary attracts athletes from all over Canada and around the world for winter sport training.

Calgary's multipurpose arena, the Scotiabank Saddledome was formerly known as the Olympic Saddledome. The Saddledome was the first modern arena in North America capable of accommodating an Olympic regulation-sized ice rink. Calgary's primary open-air stadium, McMahon Stadium, was the site of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics and is currently the venue for Calgary's Canadian Football League team, the Calgary Stampeders. The stadium has a capacity of nearly 40,000 and is the fifth largest in Canada.

The Olympic Oval is primarily a speed-skating arena that can also accommodate hockey and high-performance training. The rink's ice is world-renowned, and it brings some of the best speed skaters in the world to the facility for training and competition. The Oval has often been touted as having "the fastest ice on Earth" due to the fact that it is a climate-controlled facility and because of the effects of high altitude on the ice surface. As a result, many world records have been broken there. It was at this place where the likes of Catriona LeMay Doan and Cindy Klassen trained for their Olympic and world stardom.

Golf is also a popular sport in Calgary, and there are many courses including the Glencoe Golf and Country Club, Glen Forest and the Calgary Golf and Country Club which have been ranked among the top fifty in Canada.

Other venues:

Cycling[edit]

Both Calgary and the Canadian Rockies are destinations for cycling and mountain biking. Within Calgary, a large bike path network exists (nearly 600 km) as part of the city's transportation infrastructure. It is used extensively both for commuting to work and for recreation as it connects most of the city's parks. Large parks such as Fish Creek Provincial Park and Nose Hill Park are also major destinations for cyclers.

In the summer, Canada Olympic Park functions as a venue for both cross-country and downhill cycling. The Glenmore Velodrome is an outdoor track facility in the city. The Calgary BMX Association also operates a BMX racing track near Blackfoot Trail.

There is a general cycling advocacy group, Bike Calgary.

Notable sporting events[edit]

Calgary hosted the following major North American and International sporting events:

The CSIO Spruce Meadows 'Masters' Tournament, one of the richest show jumping events in the world, is held annually in September at Spruce Meadows.

Sport Teams[edit]

Professional sports teams[edit]

Club League Venue Established Championships
Calgary Flames National Hockey League Scotiabank Saddledome 1980* 1
Calgary Stampeders Canadian Football League McMahon Stadium 1945 7
Calgary Roughnecks National Lacrosse League Scotiabank Saddledome 2001 2
Calgary Vipers North American League Foothills Stadium 2005 1

(*) Established as the Atlanta Flames in 1972.

Amateur and junior clubs[edit]

Club League Venue Established Championships
Calgary Hitmen Western Hockey League Pengrowth Saddledome 1995 2
Calgary Canucks Alberta Junior Hockey League Max Bell Centre 1971 9
Calgary Royals Alberta Junior Hockey League Father David Bauer Olympic Arena 1990 1
Calgary Oval X-Treme National Women's Hockey League Olympic Oval 1995 5
Calgary Speed Skating Association Speed Skating Canada Olympic Oval 1990 >10
Calgary Kookaburras AFL Canada Queen Elizabeth High School 2007 2

Major parks in Calgary and vicinity[edit]

See also[edit]