By: Stuart Walter, News and Sports Director, 102.9 CHTM
I'm not sure what your perception of the north is, but I know before I moved here it wasn't the greatest. I didn't think any of the facilities here would be, well, to be honest, nice. I could not have been more wrong.
The Thompson Regional Community Centre, often referred to simply as the TRCC, is the main Games facility. It's still a relatively new facility that impresses people when they come in for the first time. There are a few different venues inside the TRCC; the CA Nesbitt and Gordon Beard arenas, the Bill Comaskey Wellness Centre, and the Burntwood Curling Club. They’re not just in the same area, they’re all in the same building. That means once you get there, if you’re a spectator, you don’t need to worry about putting on your coat to go outside. You walk in the nice warm building from one event to other. That also means you don’t have to worry about being late for events. It’s less than two minutes to get from one side of the centre to the other!
The CA Nesbitt Arena, where the Opening and Closing Ceremonies will be, in addition to events, is probably my favourite place in Thompson. It was fully redone not too long ago, and features a full size ice sheet and ample seating. Men’s hockey will be played there during the first half of the games, while figure skating and speed skating will be featured there in the second half.
The Gordon Beard Arena is a close second for me, and is only a jump, skip and hop from the CA Nesbitt Arena. It's a bit older and smaller than the CA, but the ice is just as spectacular. In addition to the fantastic ice, new bleachers and lights were recently installed to make sure everyone can fully enjoy whatever they're watching. Ringette will be played there in the first half, while the women’s hockey will be played there in the second half.
Also located in the TRCC is the Bill Comaskey Wellness Center. Just like the CA Nesbitt Arena, it looks brand new. If you're in gymnastics (phase 1) or wrestling (phase 2), that's where you'll be competing.
The final venue in the TRCC is the Burntwood Curling Club, where, obviously, the two curling age groups will compete. Like the CA Nesbitt and Gordon Beard Arenas, the ice in the curling club is second to none. In addition to the ice, there is a concession stand, which has become a favourite of most Thompsonites, as well as seating inside to watch the competition.
Right beside the TRCC is R.D Parker Collegiate, Thompson's high school. Google Maps says they’re 44 metres apart, but that doesn’t give you the true picture. Hypothetically: if you stood in the south entrance of the TRCC and threw a stone, it’d probably hit the school while it’s still in the upward part of the throw. (Please don’t do that, though.)
If you're competing in the games, you'll be there as much as anywhere else. In addition to housing food services, it will host the archery and badminton competitions.
There are only a few more venues outside of the general TRCC area: Mystery Mountain, Ski Trails, Norplex Pool, and La Voie du Nord. I'll start at the south end of town and move north.
La Voie du Nord is where table tennis will take place during phase two of the games. It's the newest school in the city. Right near the school is the Norplex Pool, where swimming will take place. It's a 25 metre, 6-lane pool that has just had its upgrades completed, including a new paint job, to make it perfect for the games.
The final two venues are north of the city, and are for skiing. Mystery Mountain is the farthest you'll have to travel for an event, and even then it's only a 20 minute drive. The winter park, which is operated by the Thompson Ski Club, features a few hills which will challenge everyone. The ski trails aren't quite as far as Mystery Mountain; they're just outside the city across the river. The trails (and Mystery Mountain) feature something that we never have a lack of; snow. Because of the weather we normally have in Thompson, all of the snow we have is powder.
If you’re interested in seeing some of our venues, check out these video tours on ShawTV Thompson’s YouTube channel. We're really excited to have everyone come to town, and even more excited to showcase our city to the province.