Sports

Out with the old

(Photo by Dawn Gibson/ SAIT Polytechnic)

(Photo by Dawn Gibson/ SAIT Polytechnic)

One of Calgary’s oldest and most well- known venues, the Stampede Corral, could be closing to make room for a proposed expansion of the Calgary BMO Centre.

The Stampede Corral opened in 1950, and since then, it has been the host of many of Calgary’s most historic teams and shows.

The first team to play at the Corral was the original Calgary Stampeders: a defunct hockey team that existed from 1938 to 1972.

The very first hockey match up to take place in the venue was a standing room only event, in which the Calgary Stampeders defeated the Edmonton Flyers 5-0.

Approximately 9,000 people were in attendance.

Through the 60s to the 80s, the Corral hosted many of the founding hockey leagues in Canada, including the Western Hockey League (WHL) and the World Hockey Association (WHA).

Both the Calgary Flames and Hitmen played in the venue from 1980-83 and 1995-96, respectively, as well as the figure skating and hockey events for the 1988 Calgary Olympics.

“They can’t tear it down,” said Lyle Dubetz, a long-time hockey fan and Calgary native.

“I remember seeing the Flames play there back in the 80s.

“It’s an important piece of Calgary’s history that should be cherished. You wouldn’t tear down the Calgary Tower would you?”

Though fans of the venue have been voicing concern, Calgary officials haven’t changed their stance.

The BMO expansion, expected to cost $500 million, would almost double the size of the center, allowing for massive international shows to come to Calgary, making it one of the largest trade show venues in North America.

“You can’t deny the economic benefits of expanding the BMO Centre,” said Sam Taylor, a financial adviser and accountant for H&R Block in Calgary.

“I’ve been around this city for a while, and remember seeing Alice Cooper play the Corral, but that doesn’t change the fact that Calgary’s population is fast approaching two million and we need larger venues.”

“It will be sad to see it go, but you can’t hold on to the past forever,” Taylor added.

The Stampede Corral is one of Calgary’s most outdated venues.

Completely made of concrete and only holding a capacity of 7,475 people with six washrooms, the venue is rarely used today.

One of the only remaining events that takes place at the Corral is the ENMAX Corral Show, during the annual Calgary Stampede.

The last sporting team to use the venue was the Calgary United Football Club in 2007.

Fans of the venue recently had a chance to grace the Corral’s halls one last time.

The Scotiabank Saddledome was used as the host venue for the JUNOS eight-day  event during the first round of WHL playoffs for the Hitmen.

The event conflicted with the play-off schedule, and therefore, forced the Hitmen to play one of their home games at the Corral.

Although they ended up losing the game to the Red Deer Rebels, it gave fans one last chance to enjoy the atmosphere of the Corral.

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