National teams unite at Oval

By Don Fennell

Published 11:08 PDT, Fri June 29, 2018

It’s not uncommon for the Richmond Olympic Oval to host multiple national team programs at the same time. What is rare, however, is for the training schedules to align.

Such was the case June 21, facilitating the opportunity for a photo shoot featuring three of Canada’s national squads—men’s basketball, wheelchair rugby and women’s volleyball.

“We were thrilled to see it come together in the Oval, against a backdrop of community members pursuing their health and wellness goals,” says Gerry De Cicco, director of sports services at the Oval. “Such a photo is a reminder on how the Oval’s legacy vision of serving the local community, while being a training hub for our country’s top athletes, is being realized every day.”

While training last week at the Oval in preparation for the inaugural Pacific Rim Classic, Rowan Barrett, general manager of Canada Basketball’s men’s program, spoke glowingly about the Oval, describing it as an “amazing facility.”

The Oval was built for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games specifically to host long track speed skating. But even before construction began, the city had a vision that after the Olympics the venue would be reconfigured to serve as a community multi-sport facility as well as a centre for high performance. In its current format, the complex includes a pair of Olympic-sized ice rinks, running track, climbing wall, rowing tank and flexible space for multiple uses including basketball, volleyball, table tennis and soccer.

All told, the Oval is 200 metres (660 feet) long and 100 metres (330 feet) wide. The roof, using pine beetle wood, covers an area of 2.6 hectares (6.4 acres), while the building is 33,600 square metres (362,000 square feet).

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