Fri Sep 21 2018

Team Members Collaborate for the Victory

Written by Jim Germain

Gordie Howe Bowl club
Back Row: Lane Zabolotney, Karen Biddulph, Bob Rohachuk, Sheryl Riis, Terry Postey, Greg Yuel, Kate Germin, Johnny Marciniuk, Cyprian Enweani. Front Row: Ivan English, Michelle Duchene, Dan Brisbin, Shelley Hoath, Yves Belanger, Rob Connoly

Like a championship win, what the collaborating partners are accomplish-ing through the Friends of the Bowl Foundation will go down in Saskatchewan history.

“We’re just like the Original 16, only we started with four. It’s another Saskatchewan success story,” says Foundation Chairperson Bry-an Kosteroski, referring to how 16 dedicated partners transformed the province’s brewing industry.

The Foundation’s achievements are drawing attention from other Canadian cities, at least partially because as Capital Campaign Co-Chair Greg Yuel explains, “This is a new model of private organiza-tions working on a public facility.

”The Friends of the Bowl collabo-ration - which is generating year-round opportunities and benefits for athletes, coaches, sports officials, volunteers and fans from throughout Saskatchewan and beyond - has humble beginnings.

Kosteroski recalls the City of Sas-katoon bringing together repre-sentatives of the softball, football and high school athletics groups using what was then known as Gordie Howe Park.

With a great deal of encourage-ment and support, the four found-ers Saskatoon Amateur Softball Association, Saskatoon Minor Football Association, Saskatoon Secondary Schools Athletic Direc-torate and Hilltops Football Club kept meeting and established Friends of the Bowl in 2013.

Their biggest hurdle was “learn-ing how to work together,” says Kosteroski, adding “Once you over-come that there’s no stopping you.”By collaborating around the com-mon goal of enhancing opportu-nities for athletes of all ages and abilities, they began improving the sports facilities in Saskatoon’s Holiday Park neighborhood.

It’s not a vision statement, it’s a vision story.

By 2016, the list of completed work included a CFL regulation ar-tificial turf football field, upgrades at ball diamonds and the minor football field and construction of a new clubhouse with dressing rooms for athletes and officials, public washrooms, equipment storage, a concession plus meet-ing and event space.

“The quality of the project we built surpassed my expectations by a long shot,” says Yuel, who stepped up as Campaign Chair in the early phases and continues as Co-Chair today.

Over time, the Friends of the Bowl team grew, along with the concept for a world-class sports complex.

The partners now developing the masterplan for the Gordie Howe Sports Complex are the City of Saskatoon, Hub City Track and Field, Saskatoon Amateur Softball Association, Saskatoon Baseball Council, Saskatoon Football In-corporated (including the Hilltops and Valkyries), Saskatoon Lions Speeding Skating Club, Saska-toon Nordic Ski Club, Saskatoon Schools Athletic Directorate and Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame. Yes, that’s nine partners, same number as hockey legend Gordie Howe wore on his jersey.

In addition, people involved with such sports as soccer and la-crosse are helping where they can.

Given the economic benefits of having world-class sports facili-ties in Saskatoon, sports tourism promoters and local media repre-sentatives are also supporting ef-forts to develop the Gordie Howe Sports Complex.

These community builders serve on the Friends of the Bowl Foundation that’s overseeing the game plan: Bryan Kosteroski, Yves Belanger, Heather Bury, Steve Chisholm, Louis Christ, Bob Fawcett, Randy Fernets, Lynne Lacroix, Johnny Marciniuk, Robert Rohachuk and Morris Smysnuik. Yuel describes Kosteroski and Marciniuk “as the unsung heroes” of the project.

Another team of volunteers, led by Yuel and Campaign Co-Chair Quinn Magnuson, is focused on raising the $42 million necessary to make the masterplan reality.

Watching the Gordie Howe Sports Complex come together through collaborative partnerships fills Kosteroski with pride: “It’s not a vi-sion statement, it’s a vision story.”