This weekend will see the BMX nationals come to Airdrie, the official opening of the long-awaited Chinook Winds skate park and the announcement that Airdrie Edge Gymnastics Club has placed a well-supported bid to host next year’s Canada Cup.
It’s great to see these local clubs faring well and attracting large-scale and prominent events. It also opens up a larger question concerning why other sports aren’t bringing in bigger profile competitions.
This city has a great facility in Genesis Place. The rodeo society is in the early process of building a new rodeo grounds.
But where are plans for a new bowl-style hockey arena? No slight on the Thunder, whose training camp begins next weekend, but a city of Airdrie’s size could handle a calibre or two of hockey higher than Junior B.
How do Olds and Okotoks have Junior A teams, but we don’t? There are even cities in the WHL that are smaller than Airdrie. Who really wants to travel to Prince Albert or Brandon in the winter?
Airdrie is right in the midst of the Edmonton-Red Deer-Calgary corridor, as well as within three hours of both Medicine Hat and Lethbridge. The WHL could even have an Alberta division.
It might seem like a stretch at this point, but the possibility is there. An arena would be the first significant step. A multi-purpose arena could also draw in larger and frequent touring acts, including concerts. It would bring more people to the city. It would bring more people from the bigger city just south of here to Airdrie.
But all those ideas are dependent on a new arena.