Turf & Rec

News
The world to soon see quality of Moncton’s turf


March 30, 2010
By Mike Jiggens

WHILE we continue to bask in the glory of our winter Olympians’
accomplishments in Vancouver—a record 14 gold medals—we’ll soon be
turning our attention to the Atlantic coast and this July’s IAAF World
Junior Track and Field Championships in Moncton.

This is apt to be a preview of sorts to the 2012 summer Olympics in London, England as many of the 1,500 or so competing athletes at the Moncton games will be ready to go on the big stage in another two short years.

The Moncton championships are being touted as the biggest sporting event to ever visit Atlantic Canada. Preparations for the games have been ongoing since 2004, and its showcase facility is a brand new multi-purpose field and stadium at the Université de Moncton.

The stadium, which seats about 10,000 people, was recently constructed and grown in to strict IAAF specifications. Nothing short of perfection will be accepted by the sporting organization.

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This gives Moncton yet another state-of-the-art sports facility. In addition to it being used for the world junior track and field championships, it will serve as a neutral site venue for a fall Canadian Football League game between the Toronto Argonauts and the Edmonton Eskimos. Moncton recently saw the teardown and new construction of a new premium ball diamond for its senior baseball team, the Moncton Mets.

Responsible for the turf conditioning at both facilities is Gorden Horsman, who had a busy fall of 2009 in overseeing each one. This spring season is arguably going to be busier yet for him as he works to ensure both open on time and in their expected condition.
The story of both facilities can be read in this issue.

The ongoing saga of natural vs. artificial turf takes on a different scenario with the story of BMO Field’s switch to a natural playing surface. The field, home of Toronto’s FC of Major League Soccer, is converting to natural turf in time for the 2010 season. Since it was built three years ago, games have been played on artificial turf, but aging players whose contracts were up in Toronto preferred to play out the remainder of their careers on fields equipped with natural turf. Toronto was one of only three teams in the 16-team league to play on artificial turf, and the powers that be felt the franchise would be given a more competitive edge if it, too, joined the ranks of those with natural playing surfaces.

BMO Field was given a preview of what natural turf might be like last summer when it was temporarily covered with Kentucky bluegrass sod for a “friendly” match against Real Madrid. The Spanish team would never have made the trip to Toronto if their one condition of playing on natural turf wasn’t met. See pages 6 and 10 for these stories.

Some good and not so good memories from the CGSA conference and show in Toronto earlier this month. It was a rush to be part of the Yonge Street post hockey gold medal win celebrations which jammed the street with countless thousands of cheering fans. Unfortunately, the Toronto trip will also be remembered for a bad case of food poisoning I (and others) picked up while dining out.