Saskatoon Minor Football Field
|Gordie Howe Bowl|
Aerial view of SMF Field (Gordie Howe Bowl) in 2005
|Address||1525 Avenue P South|
|Owner||City of Saskatoon|
|Operator||City of Saskatoon|
|Opened||September 30, 1960|
The Saskatoon Minor Football Field at Gordon Howe Park (formerly known as Gordie Howe Bowl) is a football stadium located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. It was opened September 30, 1960, built on land repossessed by the city in 1931 for unpaid taxes.[full citation needed] It is the home of the Saskatoon Hilltops, who play in the Prairie Football Conference of the Canadian Junior Football League and is also used for high school football. It is located on the southwest corner of the city. The park is named after Gordie Howe, a Saskatoon native and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The city considered closing the stadium in 2006 due to maintenance costs.
In 2008, a master plan for Gordie Howe Bowl was formulated and the facility was expected to receive $30 million for expansion and upgrades. It would have included artificial turf, an additional eight lane track complete with a throws and jump area, and expanded bleacher seating for 6500 spectators. Athletic facilities including public washrooms, change rooms and concession, and fencing were to be constructed in the first phase, costing $12.4 million. The cost would have been shared by the federal government ($4.1 million), the city ($2.9 million), corporate sponsors ($1.4 million) and admission levy ($4 million). The second phase was expected to cost $12.8 million and provide new bleachers, a new press box, additional washrooms, concessions, meeting rooms, landscaping and an entry plaza. Phase 3 of the project, pegged at $4.8 million, would have provided a paved parking lot, private boxes and more landscaping. The bowl improvements would enable hosting of soccer and track and field teams.
Renovations were delayed because of opposition to an admission levy by users of the facility, creating a budget shortfall. In 2009, city council considered a proposal to turn Gordie Howe Bowl into a multi-purpose events centre, capable of staging concerts, family events and trade shows. A consultant was hired to study the idea, which was expected to generate additional revenue. However by January 2011, mayor Don Atchison said the event centre plans were no longer feasible. A report to council updating the status of the project was slated for March 2011.
In October 2011, the city revealed scaled-back plans worth $9.8 million to upgrade the turf, score clock, lighting, dressing rooms, washrooms, concession and sound system. The facility would not be used as an event centre, as previously proposed. A group called the Friends of the Bowl Foundation was formed in 2012, which included several sports organizations that use the stadium. A memorandum of understanding was signed between the city and the foundation, which committed both parties to funding the upgrades. The grass playing field was replaced with artificial turf during the first phase of upgrades. The upgrades also included new lighting, score clock and sound system.
In 2014, the facility name was changed to Saskatoon Minor Football Field at Gordon Howe Park. City council approved the name change at the request of a major donor, the Yausie family. The upgrades to the facility were expected to be complete by September 2014. On Saturday, September 6, 2014, the first Hilltop game was played on the newly installed artificial turf against the Regina Thunder. With funding by Friends of the Bowl Foundation, community donors and the City of Saskatoon, new scoreboard, lights and sound system were also new additions. A new clubhouse was opened in 2015 and includes dressing rooms for both football and softball teams, concession, office space, meeting space, banquet facilities and a concession. which is estimated to cost $1.5 million.
- Mitchell, Kevin (2013-11-07). "Gordie Howe Bowl's turf wars are over". The StarPhoenix. Postmedia Network. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- Wolfe, Cory (2008-08-30). "Gordie Howe Bowl awaits facelift". The StarPhoenix. Canwest. Retrieved 2011-01-19.
- Nickel, Rod (2008-09-03). "Council gives preliminary nod to Howe Bowl, arena expansion". The StarPhoenix. CanWest. p. A4.
- Wolfe, Cory (2009-12-08). "Howe Bowl eyed as events centre". The StarPhoenix. Canwest. Retrieved 2011-01-19.
- Hutton, David (2011-01-19). "Gordie Howe Bowl plan 'isn't feasible'". The StarPhoenix. Postmedia Network. Retrieved 2011-01-19.
- Hutton, David; Nugent-Bowman, Daniel (2011-10-11). "Gordie Howe plans scaled back". The StarPhoenix. Postmedia Network. Retrieved 2011-10-01.
- "Regular Meeting of City Council - Tuesday, November 13, 2012, at 6:00 P.M." (PDF). City of Saskatoon. 2012-11-14. p. 167. Retrieved 2015-05-12.
- "Players say goodbye to grass at Gordie Howe Bowl". CBC News. 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- "Gordie Howe Bowl campaign receives $2-million donation". CTV Saskatoon. Bell Media. 2014-05-07. Retrieved 2015-05-12.
- "Field named for minor football". The StarPhoenix. Postmedia Network. 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2014-08-21.
- "Gordie Howe Bowl upgrades nearly ready for football season". CBC News. 2014-08-21. Retrieved 2014-08-21.
- Streck, Aaron (2014-08-21). "New turf rolled out and almost ready to go at Gordie Howe Park". Global News. Shaw Media. Retrieved 2015-05-12.
- Pillar, Thomas (2014-09-08). "Hilltops break in new Saskatoon Minor Football Field". Global News. Shaw Media. Retrieved 2014-10-19.
- "Gordie Howe Bowl needs final $1.5M for clubhouse". CBC News. 2015-05-12. Retrieved 2015-05-13.